As the deadline draws closer for hujjaj to select a hajj operator for the hajj season, picking the right package can become tricky especially if it is your first time embarking on this sacred journey. The South African Hajj Travel Association (SATHOA) will host a umrah and hajj market day this Sunday 2nd February where a myriad of hajj operators will be displaying their packages and hujjaj will be able to discuss their needs. Sathoa chairperson Sedick Steenkamp said SAHUC has accredited 20 operators this year, of which 14 are Sathoa members.
“The first deadline for hujaaj to select a haj operator is on Sunday, 2 February and the second deadline is on Thursday, 6 February. There are 20 haj operators and 14 out of the 20 are SATHOA members. All the hajj operators who will be present at the market day are all reliable and dependable,” said Steenkamp.
He said these companies have gone through a vigorous vetting process and are the most reliable operators. Steenkamp said potential hujjaj will find really good packages, that suits every pocket.
Steenkamp has urged first time hujaaj to bring along a family member who has been on hajj to accompany them to the market day, in order to guide them through the process, given that new hujaaj might not ask all the relevant questions.
Steenkamp explained that hujjaaj should know their budget in order to know what packages to look for. It is no point in looking at packages that are over R50 000, if you budget for less. It is important to look at services provided as well, not just the hajj packages, but what the package offers for the amount being charged.
Travellers should expect an increase in prices due to services in the Saudi Kingdom.
“You cannot control the hotel prices and airplane tickets are coming out shortly. Last year, the airplane tickets were R15 000 and R16 000 for a group,” said Steenkamp.
Hujjaj need to consult their doctors before embarking on this journey. With the new coronavirus going around, he said that it is best to get all vaccinations as soon as possible and be prepared. He said that hujaaj need to be very careful when it comes to their health. Also, it is a requirement for hujaaj to submit proof of vaccination for meningitis and ACYW135 known as meningococcal conjugate. Vaccination for flu is taken two weeks before applying for the visa. The vaccine for the H1N1 flu commonly known as swine flu is made available before the haj period. The importance of vaccinations is necessary as hujaaj are entering a foreign country and anything can happen to their health if not careful.
The market day takes place at Oaklands High School on the corner of Chukker Road and Racecourse Road Kenilworth from 10 am till 3 pm. Tea and coffee will be served complementary.