Saddle up and race with the Camel Derby in Kenya

You might imagine camel racing would only happen in the Arabian deserts or within India’s Pushkar. Think again. Each year, Kenya plays hosts to the International Camel Derby during the month of August.

Contestants at full speed. pic by Magical Kenya

Close to Maralal, a small township in the arid region of northern Kenya, you will discover the Yare Camel Club and Camp, where camel riders from across the globe compete to win a title in camel racing.

Camel Trek – Laikipia, Kenya

The nomadic tribes have always used their single humped camels as pack animals for transporting goods and as a source of food; however camels also have the ability to run at speeds of up to 25km per hour. Whilst camels have the stereotype of a grumpy animal with their less pleasant habits of spitting and kicking, they are the perfect racing candidate. In fact camel racing is not a new sport.4x4-car-near-a-big-elephant

Kenya’s first International Camel Derby took place in 1990 and since then Maralal has been in the spotlight for nomadic cultures that travel especially to this annual event. A colorful and adventurous spirit abounds and all visitors who expect to only be spectators are encouraged to join in the Novices and Amateurs 10 km race!

Maralal Camel Derby. Pic by Magical Kenya

If camel riding is not to your taste then you can always participate in the professional and amateur cycle race that runs as part of this festival!

If you seek an unusual adventure abroad, ask your personal travel consultants today what fairs and festivals are happening during your Enchanting Travels adventure. We focus on your interests to create a private and beautifully bespoke and enchanting trip!

Some of the wildlife in Laikipia



Bradley Yandell

Read more about the Maralal Camel Derby in the following articles;

  1. Maralal Camel Derby
  2. Maralal town comes alive ahead of camel derby

*All photos by author unless stated otherwise.

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