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Adventure travel meets faith: cycling to Mecca for the Hajj
Two Muslims from South Africa mixed adventure travel and spirituality this year by cycling to Mecca for the Hajj. Natheem Cairncross, 28 and Imtiyaz Haron, 25, cycled through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Turkey, Syria and Jordan. Visa problems with Sudan and Ethiopia meant they had to take a plane from Kenya to Turkey, but that doesn't lessen their achievement.
In an interview with the BBC, Cairncross said the 6,800-mile journey was a life-changing experience. Both had to sell possessions to raise money for the trip. Cairncross even sold his car. Yes, he had a car and he decided to go by bike.
The Hajj is the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim should do at least once in their lifetime if they are able. Currently the Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai is exhibiting photos and recordings made by Dutch explorer Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje in 1885. Check out the link for some amazing early images and eerie recordings made on wax cylinders that had only recently been developed by Thomas Edison.
[Image courtesy Ali Mansuri via Wikimedia Commons]