Thirty-four camel riders from 15 countries are taking part in the 9th edition of the annual UAE Camel Trek, organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), that kicked off early this week and will conclude on December 30.
The highly-anticipated annual camel trek is the biggest to date in terms of participants of different ages and nationalities. They will enjoy a unique desert experience akin to the old ways of the Bedouins, where they will traverse over 600 kms of the UAE desert from Arada in Abu Dhabi to Tal Mera’b, Alkharza, Qasr al-Sarab reserve area, Arabian Oryx reserve, South of Umm Anz, Umm Alhubb, south of Butais reserve, south of Alkhazna, Seih Almeih/ Sweihan, Al Ajban, Seih Alsalam, and until they reach their final destination at Heritage village in Global Village Dubai on December 30.
Among the 34 desert voyagers are Emiratis Afra Rashed Ahmed, Ali Mohammad Aljaeidi
Hamdah Mohd Abdullah, Mohammed Musabah Al Makhmari and Ahmed Juma Alkaabi. Joining them from France are Aude Derflinger and Marie Checri.
From the USA are Salmaan Sekou Ahmed, Taylor Michelle Dees, Enoch Castleberry, Joshua Kolapo and Howard Leedham. From Yemen are Iman Mohammed Abdullah, Reem Mohammed Abdullah, and Bushra Ali Alameri
Also part of the caravan are William Henry Pardoe from UK; Cristiano Fregoni from Italy; Malikat Kostenko from Russia; Jean Pierre Bernardus (South Africa); Ronad Sachin and Joe George Joseph from India; Javed Qadir (Pakistan); Renata Padilha (Brasil); Rawan Samer Salah (Jordan); Lin Mazen Rihawi (Syria); Cyndi Faber (Luxembourg); Nicole Busetto (Italy); Emilia Piesker (Germany); Xiaozhe Huo (China); and Madawi Alahmad from Saudi Arabia.
Biggest number of participants
The 600+km camel caravan is being led by HHC CEO Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook, who expressed his happiness with the high number of participants and the diversity of nationalities in the annual camel trek.
According to HHC, over 400 applicants applied this year for the annual camel trek and the list was trimmed down to the participants who underwent several weeks of rigorous training and preparation for the desert expedition.
Bin Dalmook also underlined the support and inspiration given by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, in promoting the UAE’s cultural heritage in the framework of spreading the principle of peace and cultural tolerance among the different peoples of the world.
He added: “It is of great pride and honor that we showcase the UAE’s cultural heritage to the world through this annual camel trek organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre.
The caravan will follow a prepared route and the camel trekkers will rest at camping stations in the middle of the desert. They are provided with all necessary requirements by HHC for the entire voyage, including food, drink, individual tents, and the camels that they use for the journey.
They all underwent a rigorous training programme at a camel farm in Dubai, months prior to the camel trek. During training, the participants developed a level of fitness and aptitude for the desert voyage. They did not only learn how to ride camel but they were also trained to travel in a convoy, and were familiarised with life in the desert. Everyone’s health is a priority as all safety and precautionary measures will be enforced, noted HHC
Unique desert experience
British expat Howard Leedham, who is now on his second year to participate in the annual camel trek, said: “I always have a huge interest in Emirati culture and participating last year gave me a completely different cultural experience. I returned this year to have another wonderful experience in the desert.”
French expatriates Aude Derflinger and Marie Checri, meanwhile, said doing the camel trek will bring them closer to understanding the old ways of Bedouin life in the desert.
“This desert voyage for us is a once in a lifetime experience that we will surely enjoy. We are sure that we will also forge camaraderie and strong friendship with other participants. And we thank HHC for organizing this annual camel trek,” they added.