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‘Camel Trek’ attracts participants from 9 countries

Fourth edition of desert expedition starting on January 17 will commemorate the ‘Year of Zayed

Gulf News

Dubai: A total of 15 participants from nine countries will join the 2018 ‘Camel Trek’, which will kick-off from the Liwa desert in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre (HHC) announced.

The fourth edition of the desert expedition, which begins on January 17, will commemorate the ‘Year of Zayed’ and continue for 11 days, culminating at the Heritage Village of Global Village in Dubai on January 27.

The marathon expedition, organised by HHC, will cover a distance of about 500 km crossing a number of desert areas in the UAE on a journey of a lifetime.

Hind Bin Demaithan Al Qemzi, Director of Events Management at HHC, welcomed all participants in the annual journey, which has become extremely popular among both men and women. The group of five women representing France, Algeria, UK and Ukraine as well as the young men who have confirmed their participation had started training since the beginning of December last year, she said.

“The aim of the ‘Camel Trek’ is to reflect the civilisation of the United Arab Emirates through an integrated journey through the desert sands. It is about life in the past based on the foundations of cooperation and the distribution of tasks responsibly between individuals to work in the camp,” she said.

The HHC provides tents, food and other equipment necessary to make the experience memorable for the participants, including honing the individual’s ability to endure and persevere in a spirit of co-existence with different nationalities representing diverse cultures, while working as a team, she added.

“In celebration of the ‘Year of Zayed’, the ‘Spirit of the Union’ and the social principles and foundations established by the late Shaikh Zayed in the hearts of Emiratis, including his love for preserving the heritage of the UAE and the promotion of national identity, all of which are within HHC’s objectives, the caravan will start from Liwa in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi,” she said.

The journey may be more challenging than in previous years. The participants are being trained by professionals in order to get ready for reliving experiences of the past as they cross the sand dunes to Dubai.

Nicola Mather, a mother of two and a participant in the expedition, said she was genuinely interested in the history of the UAE. “I had followed this trek for the last four years. 2018 is a very special year in the UAE [Year of Zayed]. I’m really looking forward to seeing the beauty of the UAE and also to understand how people lived here 50 years ago, what they have achieved and the challenges and difficulties they faced,” said Mather.

Mila Kladova from Ukraine said she was preparing for a completely new experience and a chance to be close to the Emirati culture.

The riders are trained to travel within the camel train or caravan, to move in a single line from one place to another according to the route plan, which is prepared in advance by a competent team and the leader of the caravan, and have to satisfy certain criteria that would make them eligible to participate in the arduous trek.