Camel Riding

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars (rounded up)

Camel riding

Which way to the oasis?

Camel riding is a unique and authentic experience that has changed little over thousands of years. Even today you can climb on the back of this beast of burden and trek across an inhospitable desert just like they did in ancient times.

Don’t think for a minute that you can ride a camel like you would a horse. They’re a different animal with a different temperament.

Yes, some aspects of riding a camel will be pretty much the same as a horse, but they don’t necessarily act like one. One nice thing about a camel is that they don’t seem to spook as easily as a horse, so that’s a plus.

The key is to find a good guide with a well-trained animal. Granted, that’s hard to do if you’re a tourist new to an area, but ask around and find other tourists who have gone on a camel ride, and ask for a recommendation.

Other things to consider include getting a reasonably comfortable saddle, and if you can get one with stirrups do so. They can really make a difference over a long ride… especially for a guy.

Here’s a tip: try not to follow too close to the camel in front of you. There will be times when you hear a noise not unlike someone trying to kick start a small motorbike, and you may not figure it out until the stench reaches your nostrils. You want to avoid that “authentic” experience if at all possible.

Risk Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

Generally speaking, there’s only a small amount of uncontrolled risk. For instance, camels can be a little temperamental at times, and if you get one that’s having a bad day they could make your ride an unpleasant one.

The biggest danger that most will face is the possibility of falling off. That may not sound like much of a risk, but it’s how you land that counts.

You normally aren’t given a helmet, so head (and neck) injuries are certainly a possibility. Landing firmly on your butt could bruise your tailbone, and that can be painful and make the rest of your ride extremely uncomfortable.

A good guide who knows how to handle the camel without making them angry is important because a happy camel is a good thing when you’re on their back for hours on end.

Skill & Physical Factors
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ – 2 adventure travel stars

The main skill you’re going to need for camel riding is to pay attention to your guide when they teach you how to do the two most important aspects: mounting and dismounting.

Once you get on the camel’s back the trick is to balance and shift your weight as it rises. If you mess that up you could find yourself unceremoniously dumped to the ground, Not only can that be painful, it’s embarrassing.

After you’re up, and the camel is moving, you need to hold on tight, get a sense of the camel’s rhythm and go with it… pretty much like you would when riding a horse. Then put on your sunglasses and cover your nose and mouth to protect you from breathing in the trail dust. After that just enjoy the ride.

You don’t have to be in great shape to go for a camel ride, but you might want to wear a comfortable pair of shoes because sometimes you may need to dismount and walk beside the beast.

Fun Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

Going for a camel ride through the desert is an authentic adventure that will let you experience a part of the lifestyle of the Berbers in North Africa or those who traveled the ancient trade routes in centuries past. It doesn’t get any more real than that.

Can you imagine what it was like thousands of years ago to ride a camel for hundreds of miles over sand dunes and wide open plains? At night you would bed down at an oasis and sleep under a blanket of stars while you dreamed of the riches to come your way once you sold the goods you carried to a far-away market.

Well, you don’t have to wonder what it was like. Camel riding adventures are easy to find, and when you take one you’ll experience an exotic journey that will transport you back in time and fill you with wonder.

10 popular places for camel riding
  • Australia
  • Dubai
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Tunisia
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