Al Dhafra Festival prize money increased to Dh110m

Event helps to preserve and promote the UAE's culture and heritage


A man caresses a camel at Al Dhafra Festival.

Every December, a small city of tents rises in the dunes of the Empty Quarter, 170 kilometres south-west of Abu Dhabi on the edge of the world’s largest continuous sand desert.

About 20,000 camels and their 15,000 owners compete at the Al Dhafra Festival, one of the world’s largest beauty pageants. It is distinguished by its "queens", long-lashed beauties with four legs and a hump. The prizes are not crowns but Range Rovers, Nissan Patrol pickups and, for the best, immortalisation in Bedouin poetry.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: Haneen Dajani
Section:    NA

The Al Dhafra Festival, which is often called "the greatest showcase of Bedouin lifestyle” in the world, is set to be even bigger this year.

The total amount of prize money has also increased to Dh110m ($30m), across 2,937 categories.

This year, the event will host camel beauty contests in Sweihan, Razeen and Madinat Zayed, as well as at the festival site.

The expansion supports efforts to encourage participation and promote UAE cultural heritage.

The festival will start on October 28 and continue until January 22.

Strict safety measures to protect against Covid-19 will be in place.

Updated: July 17th 2021, 2:05 PM