Last updated: 29 April, 2023
Camels have always been an integral and essential part of Emirati life – for milk and meat, for transport, and for entertainment.
Like horse racing in other countries, camel racing is a hugely popular and traditional sport in Dubai – one dating back to the 7th century. Also like their equestrian peers, racing camels are big business. Prices start at $20,000 – the fastest can fetch bids over $2,000,000.
Dubai’s biggest camel racing track, Al Marmoom, located at the Dubai Camel Racing Club, is the best place to experience this lively tradition.
Races, with anything from 15-60 competing camels, last about 15 minutes, and range from 2.5 miles to 6 miles, depending on the weight, age and gender of the camels.
Thankfully, jockeys were banned in 2002 in UAE – the camels now spring in response to prompts from robot jockeys tied to their humps, with trainers following behind in 4x4s.
If you have time, and even if you’re not a typical fan of such sports, a visit to the track is well worth it for a fascinating insight into Emirati culture, tradition and rituals – and the unique and thrilling spectacle.