Home PodcastJulie Alli SAHUC enhances support services for an improved Hajj experience

SAHUC enhances support services for an improved Hajj experience

by Luqmaan Rawat
SAHUC are doing everything they can to ensure a pleasant Hajj experience for all Photo Pixels

South Africa – As the annual Hajj pilgrimage commences, South African pilgrims have embarked on their journey with the first group arriving in Madina, welcomed by esteemed officials. With pilgrims departing for the blessed lands, the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) are focused on providing healthcare services, mobile connectivity, and essential information to facilitate a fulfilling pilgrimage.

The initial group of pilgrims departed from Cape Town and successfully reached Madina in the early hours of the morning without any reported hiccups. They were warmly received by SAHUC’s mission team, and the South African Council general based in Jeddah. So far things have been going smoothly and Shaheen Essop, President of SAHUC, doesn’t expect any difficulties. 


Healthcare services and facilities being provided by SAHUC during Hajj

The cost of Hajj has increased substantially over the years and this year is no exception. One thing that pilgrims will not have to worry about is healthcare while they are in the blessed lands. According to Essop, SAHUC will still be providing free healthcare to all Hujjaj in Makkah and Madinah.

“The clinic is going to be based at the Taiba Centre and the Hajj operators will have all the necessary details of the flat number at the Taiba Centre and in Makkah it will be at the Jabal Omar Marriott Hotel. Again, once the Hujjaj get to Makkah they’ll be given the exact details of the address. In Azizia, it will be at the Khidmatul Awaam building. We offer a primary health care service for Hujjaj and that has been running for the last 15 to 20 years.”

While there are clinics available and it is free, it is imperative that those who have chronic needs carry their medicines and carry their doctors’ letters. Those people who are on insulin need to “carry their insulin with them” as no insulin can be found in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 


Connectivity and mobile services for the Hujjaj

Pilgrims will be away from their loved ones for a considerable amount of time. To help keep in touch with those back home, free mobile SIM cards are being provided to the pilgrims through a partnership with Mobily, a leading telecom company in Saudi Arabia. All that is needed is 

“SAHUC has entered into an agreement with a company called Mobily. They issue the SIM cards free. All the pilgrims need to do is have copies of their passports because once their passports are taken away from them, they’re going to need the passport numbers which are now going to be entered into the system of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Representatives from Mobily will be in touch with those assisting the Hujjaj. After that it is only a matter of picking what kind of package you want. Whether it be a data package or a call package. However, Essop has found that the best package is the data package as it is more economical and is the best to acquire.

SMread: Dozens depart for 2023 Hajj in emotional send-off


The importance of preparation

Essop emphasised the importance of being prepared and adhering to instructions from the Hajj operator or authorities in South Africa. Maintaining hydration and good health is crucial, and the facilities in Saudi Arabia are well-equipped to ensure pilgrims can enjoy their journey to the fullest.

“I think the most important thing is not to be anxious. The other most important thing is that people must adhere to the instructions that are provided. It’s very important from the medical team point of view, the do’s and the don’ts. That way the pilgrims are going to find themselves in a situation that is going to be conducive to enjoying the Hajj or their journey of a lifetime as it is called.”

A dedicated team of 40 professionals, including doctors and nurses, has been deployed to Saudi Arabia to cater to the needs of 3 500 pilgrims. Meticulous arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth and fulfilling experience for all pilgrims.


Shaheen Essop further discussed with Julie Alli how one can be better prepared for the journey and what other rules to follow. To hear that discussion, listen to the podcast here:

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