Ready for the race !!!
We mounted our camels. And I felt my white camel was very willing to walk or even to run. He tried to be in front of all. So we were very ready to go, waiting for the start signal!
At the beginning of the race suddenly one of the Samburu warriors, turned my camel into the other wrong direction. I didn't know why. So I was not at the head of the race, but luckily my camel followed the others after a few seconds. There were also some stubborn camels, refusing to do any step in the good direction or anywhere.
After two rounds mounting the third time, my saddle broke. The Samburu escort didn't allow me to make the third round and to finish the race. Co had allready to stop after one round because of problems with his camel despite his strategical talk. So we became no champions.
The white camel is mine !
At the moment the camels arrived, I had made my choice. The large white camel would be mine !! I talked with the Samburu companion and looked how he prepared the saddle.
I was thinking about my favourite white camel in the Western Desert in Egypt, which always liked to be the first. So I was allready prepared, this would be our race !!!
Talk about strategy
After Co had choosen his camel, he looked in its eyes and tried to have a good conversation about the strategy of their upcoming race. We found out, that we were the only people with some experience in camelriding. So, that could be an advantage.
Before the race would start, we got an explanation. We had to make three rounds, rounding trees and other signs in three different directions. Each time we came back to the entrance of the lodge we had to descend from our camel, take a drink, go up again and make the next round.
Choosing a camel for our own race
In Maralal we stayed in the Yare Safaris Maralal Lodge, home of the annual camelraces. In the bar and restaurant we saw a lot of pictures of the Camel Derby in August. The staff of the lodge persuaded us to have our own amateur camelrace. And we agreed ! For 300 shilling pro person we could participate on our own race.
At 5 pm the Samburu moran came with their camels. We walked around the camels and looked at the special Samburu ''saddles'' of wooden sticks and doubled up cloth before choosing our camels.
Maralal International Camel Derby
Maralal is internationally known because of its annual world famous camelrace. In the second weekend of August spectators from all over the world come to Maralal. The Yare Safaris Maralal Lodge is the lively central point, from where the races will start.
The camelrace is inaugurated in 1990 as a sporting event. Recently also cycle races are added. All kind of visitors come to Maralal, like people from the neighbouring farming communities, ranchers, school groups, but also international press and television crews and adventureous people from all over the world.
There are races for professionals, semi-professionnals and amateurs. You can try it you self. Allready amateurs from about 30 countries participated in the races. I saw also some Dutch particpants.
Equipment: It's possible to hire a camel in Maralal.
- National/State Park