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camels 1

From left, camels in Tanzania, in Turkey and in Morocco

I have, and I can tell you it is the most uncomfortable animal ever invented! Even with padded seating, the camel’s back bones soon make your body sore in unmentionable places and, without any kind of stirrups, your feet very quickly go numb from hanging down the camel’s sides.

camels 5 morocco

My camel safari was part of an overnight trip into the desert in Morocco. It was a novel experience, and being in the desert was magical, but I have no desire for a repeat performance.

camels 4 morocco

Camels were not an animal I expected to see in Tanzania but they were introduced from neighbouring Kenya in the 1990s and quickly became an important stock animal in the arid northern parts of the country. Not only are they used for transport, they are also an important source of milk, helping to combat malnutrition in some Maasai tribal areas. They are also used in the tourism industry for camel safaris, though I did read that, while you will undoubtedly see many of the special birds that live in the area, ‘if you are lucky, you can also see some game running away’! Perhaps not the ideal vehicle for a wildlife safari then.

camels 2 Tanzania

I saw camels awaiting willing tourists in Turkey some years ago as well, but camels are not native to Turkey and these were not for safaris. It seems the canny Turks discovered tourists like to be photographed sitting on or simply standing next to camels, and thus was a new tourism business created.

camels 3 Turkey