Camel trekkers complete 600km desert journey to Dubai's Global Village

More than 400 people applied to take part in the 12-day event this year

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Thirty-four camel riders from 15 countries on Friday completed a 600km journey across the UAE desert as part of the annual event.

The trek was organised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre and officials said the event comprised the most diverse group of riders yet.

They enjoyed a unique desert experience that shed light on Bedouin traditions as the riders travelled for 12 days from Arada in Abu Dhabi to Global Village in Dubai.

The route included Tal Mera’b and Qasr Al Sarab reserve area.

The desert explorers comprised five Emiratis, five US citizens, three people from Yemen and others from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, the UK, Italy, Russia, France, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Luxembourg, Germany and China.

More than 400 people applied for this year's camel trek and those selected to take part underwent several weeks of rigorous training and preparation.

Participants trained three times a day for two months to prepare them for what lay ahead.

They learnt how to ride a camel, travel in a convoy and survive in the desert.

Abdullah bin Dalmook, chief executive of the heritage centre, said he was delighted that such a large and diverse group of riders took part in the trek.

“It is with great pride and honour that we showcase the UAE’s cultural heritage to the world through this annual camel trek. It represents the march of our ancestors in the old days,” he said.

The riders rested at camping stations along the way and received provisions including food, drink and tents.

Enoch Castleberry, a US citizen, signed up for the trek after seeing a billboard near Global Village that included a picture of the desert dotted with camels.

“I didn’t hesitate to participate. It is a wonderful experience,” said Mr Castleberry, who moved to the UAE from Texas nine years ago.

"I nailed camel riding thanks to HHC, who trained us three times per day during the past two months.

"It really does open our eyes as foreigners and expats to the local culture."

British resident Howard Leedham, who was participating in the trek for a second time, said he had a strong interest in Emirati culture.

“Last year's journey gave me a completely different cultural experience. I returned this year to have another wonderful experience in the desert,” he said.

Others said the trek brought them closer to nature and allowed them to experience how people lived in the region.

Aude Derflinger, a French sales manager, said her father encouraged her to participate after he watching a news report about last year's trek.

“Doing the camel trek brought me closer to understanding the old ways of Bedouin life in the desert. It is an experience that we surely enjoyed,” she said.

Last year, camel riders were met by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on their way to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Watch: Last year's camel trekkers get surprise visit from Dubai's ruler

Updated: December 30, 2022, 9:31 AM