Omanis, who began a journey to retrace Oman’s historical and cultural roots in East Africa their dreams come true by reaching Kigali in just 11 days. By Shaddad Al Musalmy

A group of Omanis, who began a journey to retrace Oman’s historical and cultural roots in East Africa by driving to Kigali in Rwanda and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, have seen their dreams come true by reaching Kigali in just 11 days.
They started the road journey in Muscat on November 16. With a motto, ‘From Desert to Wild’, the group has driven almost 8,000km so far through diverse terrains of countries including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. They will leave for neighbouring Tanzania on Wednesday before heading back home.
In Rwanda, understandably, the group is in a celebratory mood. Oman’s flag was raised amidst the greenery while their cars sported the photos of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Sultan Hamood Hassan al Naamani, a member and the group’s spokesperson told Muscat Daily from Rwanda, “It took us 11 days to reach Kigali. We reached on November 27 and we will leave for Tanzania, our next destination, on November 30 [Wednesday]. We have so far covered 7,800km and by the time we reach Dar es Salaam, we would have travelled around 10,000km.
“Crossing the border from Uganda into Rwanda gave not only a feeling of achievement having reached our goal to travel this far but I was also filled with emotions having come back to the place of my birth. The beauty of this country is overwhelming as you cruise in you car reflecting how far you have come in such a short time.”
Elaborating on the challenges the group faced, Naamani said, “The drive has been hassle-free but from Muscat to Jeddah it took us 27 hours...it was a bit boring. In Sudan, it wasn’t bad but in Ethiopia it was more challenging as it took us 11 hours to cover just 500km with 120km of tough terrain that took almost four hours to cross. But the beauty of the country compensated for those difficult kilometres on the road.
“In Kenya, it was also very good but sometimes the traffic was bad and roads had full of humps and it took us five hours to cover 178km. At one point it took us two and a half hours to cover 2.5km due to a bridge construction. The reception at my uncle’s house in Kampala was emotional and it was touching to hear the children recite Q’uran as we entered.”
Sulaiman Ali al Ghafri, the group’s leader, said that the journey is a lifetime achievement. “During our journey, we have been identifying communities in need and planning ways to help them especially those in need of clean drinking water. We have come up with a plan to build water wells for them.”
Other members of the team are Farid al Mahrouqi, Ali al Jufaili, Sami al Hashmi, Masoud al Mahrazi and Khalid al Anqoodi.