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Omani team travels 16,000km to reach South Africa’s Cape Town in 35 days

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The group, Team Adventure, undertook a tour from Muscat to Cape Town by road to explore new places in the African continent, spread goodwill message about Oman and also celebrate Mandela Day.

The group was welcomed in Pretoria by Oman’s Ambassador to South Africa last week.

“We reached Pretoria on Thursday [last week] and then we drove another 1,500km before we reached our final destination, Cape Town, on Sunday. In Pretoria we were delighted to have been officially welcomed by the ambassador H E Mubarak bin Salim al Zakwani who also hosted a lunch for us at the embassy. We took 35 days to reach Cape Town and we covered a distance of 16,000km,” Sultan Hamood Hassan al Naamani, the group’s leader, told Muscat Daily from South Africa.

Naamani calls the trip a successful one.

“We are so happy to reach our destination. Throughout the trip, we managed to visit various places and had some amazing encounters with nature. The beautiful landscapes throughout our journey made us forget the hardships,” he said.

Naamani said the terrain though tricky was fun.

“It was challenging to drive through the muddy roads in Tanzania. On some days we could cover only 200km in eight hours. Rain too made the journey difficult. But we enjoyed the off road experience as our cars are built for these kind of roads.”

Another challenge was crossing the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“It was so chaotic and a long queue stretching 300m at the immigration. It took us five hours to finish all the formalities. By that time it was already midnight. We came across road signs that read: ‘High crime area do not stop’. So we had to be vigilant there, but we found a hotel some 30km ahead and stayed for the night,” he said.

The motto of the trip is, ‘Journey to Remember’. The group first travelled to the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, and from there took a ferry to Sudan. The drive continued through the African continent till they reached South Africa.

Naamani said the team will be in Cape Town for a week before heading back.

“It was our dream to reach here [South Africa] and now we are here to celebrate Mandela Day, which is significant around the world. Mandela Day is celebrated every day. Mandela Day is about changing the world for the better, just as Nelson Mandela did every day,” he said.

Sulaiman Ali al Ghafri, a group member said, “I’m so excited to be in South Africa. It was a dream for all of us to drive to and see wild animals in real life. The people here are very friendly and welcoming.

“Everywhere we stopped they would come and talk to us. So we were acting as goodwill ambassadors for our country and we believe more such trips should be encouraged and sponsored by our governments.”

The nine-member group was seen off from Muscat by South African Embassy’s Political Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission, Busi Mangoegape on December 12.