Dubai: As many as 34 camel riders from 15 countries are taking part in the ninth edition of the annual UAE Camel Trek, organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), that kicked off recently and will conclude on December 30.
This year’s trek is the biggest to date in terms of participants of different ages and nationalities.
The 600km camel caravan is being led by HHC CEO Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook. He said: “It is of great pride and honour that we showcase the UAE’s cultural heritage to the world through this annual camel trek organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre.”
More than 400 applicants applied this year and the list was trimmed down to the 34 participants who underwent several weeks of training for the desert expedition.
The caravan are following a prepared route and the camel trekkers are resting 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 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. Not only did they 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 and all safety and precautionary measures are being enforced, said HHC.
British expat Howard Leedham, who is now in 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 expats 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 organising this annual camel trek,” they added.