Morocco Desert Camel Rides
In Morocco, camel rides have become one of the main tourist attractions as desert tour. Many tourists have their sights set on traversing the golden dunes of the Sahara at sunset on the back of the exotic animal.
The spectacular vision of the desert camel caravan, leading a trail thought the burning Sahara Desert sun, is one which has captured the imaginations of many through films and literature. However, the reality is a little less romantic. These majestic animals can be over worked and poorly treated, therefore it is important as a traveller to be conscious of the choices you make and support the positive welfare of these animals when choosing to book a camel tour.
Tourism supports to the local communities
As tourists you are welcomed to the region by the local people. The trade through tourism supports to the local communities and is helping the nomadic lifestyle to continue. With more people giving up traditional life for the modern town and city-based living, herds of camel can become redundant and left with no purpose. The locals can earn a living offering camel rides to visitor and this has now become a growing market. There are plenty of choices, if you want to experience a Morocco camel trek. From a short ride to an adventure lasting several days. Immersing your self in the lifestyle of the Berber camel herders will be a memorable story into another world.
Good to know as a conscious traveller
It is important as a conscious traveller, that you book you tour with respectable camel tour operators who are looking after their animals. If possible. look for evidence of the camels that they keep and look for those animals that seem strong and healthy. It’s a good thing to express concern for the animals’ welfare. Look to support individuals and small local companies that respect their animals and treat them with kindness and compassion.
Be aware of the camels
Taking a moment before riding the camel to check how the animals are being kept and don’t be shy to make your own judgment of the animal. If the camel is looking sick, unhealthy or injured, then it is within your right to decided no to ride that animal.
It’s advisable not to ride animals that look undernourished or have protruding bones that are visible across the back or around the hips. Avoid animals with open wounds, its good to check around the harness and saddle, also see if the tethers and nosebands seems too tight and causing the animal discomfort; in all of these incidents, it’s worth mentioning something the person looking after the animals. Observe how the handlers are treating the animals and be vigilant to those people who show cruel behaviour towards the animals.
Camels can usually carry around 150lbs of weight so be mindful to not overload the animal, you may be given permission to ride two people on the same animal but consider if the animal is strong enough to carry this weight. Avoid operators who are overloading their camels with people and supplies. You may be tempted to try to save money, but it is kinder for the animals if you can ride separately.
Where can you find camel tours?
You can enjoy camel rides in through many areas of Morocco. It’s the sort of activity that completes the quintessential Moroccan adventure. For camel treks in Marrakesh, you can book a sunset camel ride, or you may want to visit the Moroccan countryside, where you can explore traditional villages, tour through the green palm groves and discover the local culture. Other options for a camel tour Morocco, there are the beaches of Essaouira from where you will watch the sunset beyond the horizon of the Atlantic, and of course you have the dunes of the Sahara. If you have limited time, then you can choose a shorter trip to Menara and for those people wanting to escape for longer, an adventure in the Agafay Desert could be the better option. Camel riding is also popular in Merzouga, a town in the south-eastern part of Morocco. This is a town close to the Algerian border and in Erg Chebbi, you can plan an overnight stay and travel into the desert with the nomadic tribes’ people.
What to wear on a camel ?
When heading off for your camel ride, it can make all the difference if you are wearing the right style of clothing. Sitting on the back of a camel, your legs can be irritated by the coarse hair of the camels’ back, so it would be the best option to wear long pants. Make sure they are loose and stretchy and comfortable. If you are headed to the desert, then layers are good, so you can strip down during the day when the sun is high and layer up when the sun goes down and keep yourself snug. Be sure to keep protected from the direct sunlight, wearing a hat or scarf, to keep your face protected. A long scarf or bandanna can protect your face in case of a dust storm and if you’re expecting to be caught in some more extreme weather conditions then dust goggles are the best option.
Ride camel in safety
In terms of safety, camels usually have a pretty settled nature. The are stable and reliable so they prove to be very safe to ride. Make sure you receive some clear instruction from the tour guide as to how you should be sat and holding on. Like all animals, they can on occasion be unpredictable, understand any safety instructions that you are given and follow the rules of the ride. Mounting the camel requires you to straddle you legs and you will be in this position for a while.
If you are not used to using the muscles in your legs, then it would be a good idea to limber-up before the ride. Some stretching and maybe a few squats as the most challenging part of the ride is maintaining a good posture and stabilising yourself through the pressure you can apply with your legs. If your planning a long excursion, then prepare yourself for some discomfort.
Spending a long time in the saddle will begin to have an impact on the body, so if would be a good idea to take some pain relief, for any back issues. The best approach is to find a rhythm that sways with the movement of the camel. Allow your body to relax and the movement will happen naturally. Keep your awareness at your core and this will improve your stability and balance. A strong core will help to redirect the pressure of the impact being sent into your back.
The cost of riding a camel
If your looking at a 2-day camel tour, the you should expect to be paying around $200. This should include all meals and transportation. The are many combinations of tours available and you can decide on the length of time you would like your adventure to last. The longer tours will venture deeper into the Sahara Desert. Aim to pay a fair price for the tour and not to haggle for the lowest price as this will ultimately affect the care of the animals. Aim for sustainable tourism, the flow of income which comes back into the dessert and camel herding communities, enables them to continue, so that others may visit these amazing places and see the continuation of the traditional ways of living in these regions.