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Camel racing has deep-rooted cultural significance in Ras Al Khaimah, serving as a traditional form of entertainment and a means of dispute resolution. This article explores the rich heritage of camel racing in the region, from its origins to the modern-day races that attract both locals and tourists.
Camel races are a traditional heritage activity in Ras Al Khaimah. Mainly a winter pastime, the camel races take place on the weekends at the camel racetrack, surrounded by dunes and sheltered by the thickets of Ghaf trees in Digdaga and Hamraniya.
Historical Origins and Significance
Bedouin Camel Beauty Pageants and Races Bedouin tribes in Ras Al Khaimah organized camel beauty pageants and races as a source of entertainment and conflict resolution. These events laid the foundation for the camel racing culture seen in the Emirates today.
Ras Al Khaimah Camel Racing in Modern Times
Patronage of Ruling Sheikhs Today, camel races in the Emirates are held under the patronage of the ruling sheikhs, reflecting their continued importance in the culture of Ras Al Khaimah.
Camel Selection Camels native to the UAE, Oman, and Sudan are carefully selected by trainers to participate in these races, with breeds like Mahaliyat, Omniyat, Sudaniyat, and interbred Mahajanat being favored.
Camel Abilities These camels exhibit remarkable speed, with the ability to reach up to 40 km per hour for long-distance races and even higher speeds of 65 km per hour for short sprints. Their scientific name, Camelus dromedarius, originates from the Greek words for running and racecourse.
Care and Preparation of Camels
Camel Trainer’s Dedication Camel trainers hold their herds in high esteem and provide them with a specialized diet consisting of dates, bran, oats, and sometimes cow’s milk to promote strength and muscle building.
Health Checks Before any camel races, thorough health checks are conducted to ensure the camels are in optimal health and condition.
Al Sawan Camel Track Ras Al Khaimah
Al Sawan Camel Track is a racetrack measuring 10 kilometers where locals and tourist alike come to see the ancient tradition of camel racing. Camel racing is a time-honored sport much like horse racing. Locals love to place bets on what camel will prevail, and tourists appreciate the culture and history the sport represents.
On weekdays, the racetrack is usually busy with camel trainers and colorfully clad camels trotting up and down the track, building up their stamina for the weekend races.
The camel races are held early Friday mornings from 6:30 to 9:30 am from October through the winter season.
At Al Sawan Camel Track, there are no professional jockeys but Robotic jockeys control camels during a race.
The Camel Race Day Experience
Early Morning Races Camel races in Ras Al Khaimah are a breathtaking spectacle that occurs on winter Friday mornings in the Digdaga and Hamraniya area. The racetrack is surrounded by glorious dunes and ancient ghaff trees, creating a unique ambiance.
Luxury Prizes Owners and trainers compete passionately for luxury cars, trophies, and substantial monetary compensation, totaling millions of dirhams.
Saddle Up Each camel is adorned with colorful tribal blankets and equipped with a robot jockey, a change that was introduced in 2002 when human jockeys under 15 were prohibited.
Tourist Experience Al Sawan Camel Race Track RAK
Getting There Tourists are recommended to take a taxi to the racetrack and have the driver wait until after the race, as finding a taxi later in the day can be challenging.
Immersing in Culture Camel racing in Ras Al Khaimah provides tourists with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture and witness a cherished tradition.
Visiting Camel Farms As an added bonus, tourists can visit nearby camel farms where friendly locals are often eager to share their knowledge about camel racing.
This attraction should be considered if tourists wish to immerse themselves in the culture of Ras Al Khaimah. The races are frequented by locals and thus are a great experience for tourists who want to understand the culture more thoroughly.
As an aside to this trip, tourist can visit nearby camel farms. Most locals are friendly and more than willing to share their knowledge of camel racing with any interested party.
Contact and Location
Al Sawan Camel Race Track