Look: 600km-long trek with 37 camel riders to conclude at Dubai's Global Village this Friday

Organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC), the 9th edition of the annual UAE Camel Trek began at Arada in Abu Dhabi


SM Ayaz Zakir

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Thu 29 Dec 2022, 8:09 PM

“I had goosebumps the first time I sat on the camel for this trek. Our lives will transform for the better after this expedition,” said William Pardoe, who embarked on a camel trek on December 18 that is scheduled to conclude on December 30 in Dubai's Global Village.

Organised by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC), the 9th edition of the annual UAE Camel Trek will traverse a 600km desert caravan that started at Arada in Abu Dhabi.

As many as 37 camel riders from 15 countries are taking part in this edition, which is the biggest to date in terms of participants of different ages and nationalities.

Pardoe is an adventure enthusiast who has taken part in numerous escapades for a long time, and currently works at the Dubai Sky Dive. He compares his work to the Bedouin adventure he is currently undertaking. “Both adventures are different. With sky diving, you have extreme adrenaline rushing for about 60 seconds. Here it’s for 12 days, and it's just extraordinary,” said Pardoe, adding that trekkers must possess extreme mental endurance that must must overcome physical capabilities in expeditions as tiresome as these.

This is not Pardoe’s first trek; he has previously undertaken a camel trek in Mauritania. “I was discussing my expedition with my friend and mentioned going back to Mauritania on a 15-day camel trek; I was surprised when he told me that the same thing can be done in Dubai,” he said.

Pardoe registered for the trek. He was vacationing in Zanzibar when he received the mail, and "flew back to Dubai to begin [his] preparations."

“I am incredibly passionate about riding camels and experiencing the local Bedouin culture over the last 1,000 years, and becoming a part of keeping it alive,” said Pardoe.

Another adventure enthusiast, Mallika Kostenko, from the republic of Dagestan in Russia, has been in Dubai for the last four years and wanted to learn about the UAE’s history and the local culture.

“I have had the best experience of my life [here] with these friendly people. I am in love with the local culture; meeting many people was all the part of the expedition,” said Kostenko.

Kostenko started her training for the expedition four months ago. “It was a rigorous [experience] and [lasted] nearly four months. I had to wake up at 5 am every day to train and maintain my fitness for the 12-day trek, which was worth it,” said Kostenko.

Every camel is given a name; surprisingly, these animals know their owner. “My camel’s name is Al Hamr, which means red. In the mornings, the camel continuously looks at us. He knows that I am the one who will be riding on his back."

Everyone on the trek said that the expedition taught them many life lessons that would bring about many changes in their lives. “I learned many lessons. The ones I will definitely apply to my life are: we must help the people around us; don’t make decisions when angry; be committed to your tasks, keep your ego aside, working in collaboration [with others] eases your tasks – and many more,” said Kostenko.

French national Aude Derflinger said they followed the most perfect routine while on the trek – one that she would definitely carry forward to her daily life. “It was just perfect. We woke up early and [slept] early, which is good for our body and soul."

“We woke up at 5 am, packed our tents, had breakfast, and set [out] on the voyage. We covered nearly 20 kilometres before lunch. We [rested] for a while and continued our journey, reached the camp, had dinner and would sleep by 9 pm – and that’s the perfect pattern one should follow in their lives,” said Derflinger.

Aside from the first-timers, four of the trekkers had participated in the previous editions.

British expat Howard Leedham participated for the second time in the annual camel trek. “I have always had a keen interest in Emirati culture, and participating last year gave me a completely different cultural experience. I returned this year to have another wonderful experience in the desert,” he said.

The second-timers included Nicole Busetto from Italy, Emilia Piesker from Germany, and Madawi Ala Ahmed from Saudi Arabia.

Pieskar undertook the challenge along with her mother last year for the trek. However, she wanted to try it alone this time. “It was better than the last time this year. This trek is making me independent and self-reliant to carry on with the challenging tasks in life. It was a great experience, and I will participate next year, too,” said Pieskar.

Over 400 applicants applied this year for the annual camel trek. The list was trimmed down, and the final participants underwent several weeks of rigorous training and preparation for the desert expedition.


More news from UAE