Douz Stories and Tips

My frisky camel had the hump!

One of the camel herders with 3 camels. Photo, Douz, Tunisia

Camel trek in the Sahara.

We got up at some ungodly hour to have breakfast prior to being taken down to the camel station where we put on Berber style Galabeyas and donned head scarfs for our trek into the dessert.

The camels were lead out of the camel shed tied in groups of three or four camels each herded by a man who lead them to where we were waiting. They appeared to be quite graceful as they were led towards us slowly ambling in a straight line in single file. All the camels lay down and looked quite awkward as they went down as if their legs buckled and they fell to a lying position. Some of the camels looked quite docile whilst others bared their teeth with their foaming mouths wide open. Amongst the camels was a small white baby camel which looked really cute.

Getting on the camel.

Here is where the fun begins.

The first person mounted the camel and all of a sudden at the command of its herder the camel growled lurched forward and stood my friend who was on the camel shot backwards as the camel raised itself standing onto its front legs then it reared up and stood gracefully although he was making the most horrible growling noise. All of us were hurled up into the air as we mounted our camels and the beasts stood up. There was a lot of growling and noises as the camels stood up. Some of the camels had muzzles on as they were a bit frisky. The camel I was sitting on was quite fruity and the herder kept looking up towards him quite fearfully. Although he was muzzled he certainly was a bit of a handful to manage.

All of a sudden we were off heading into the Sahara. The camel ride is not the smoothest of rides. We were not quite sure how the camel should be ridden……..do we ride it like a horse or do we just sit there. Most opted for just sitting on it motionless and my camel was growling all the time and at times I was a bit worried that he would turn around and take a lump out of my leg. I certainly did not like the look of his teeth when he was growling and slobbering all over the place. He was attempting to rub himself up against the other camels. In the end I was led off on my own by a herder as he was a bit too frisky. Once he was on his own and away from the other camels he was quite settled and we continued to ride into the dessert.

There was absolute silence in the dessert you could practically hear a pin drop. Once we got to the half-way point of our trip we all got off and down to stand on the sand. The sand is absolutely super soft almost like talcum powder. Apparently the Berbers wash themselves by rubbing the soft fine sand over their bodies. As the sun rose it became quite hot. We got back onto the camels for our return trip back to camel base.

It was a brilliant ride into the dessert there was something very special riding on the back of a camel. For me personally it was over far too quick I would have loved to have gone for the whole day despite the fact that I am no lightweight and it must have been quite something for the camel to carry a big lump on his back for a couple of hours.

I thoroughly enjoyed my camel ride as it was the first time on a camel and I would certainly recommend anyone having a ride if the opportunity ever arose. It certainly is quite different and cannot be compared to riding a horse or an elephant. Riding a camel is a unique and unusual experience. It was a brilliant experience and one I would highly recommend.

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