I have always been intrigued by camels.
There, I said it.
I remember seeing them at a circus when I was young – those round, squishy feet…I couldn’t stop looking at them.
And, of course, I HAD to ride one!
Well, here we are….100 years later and still intrigued with camels.
So, the Daraw Camel Market was a MUST while in Egypt.
We drove to the market with our camel-specific (yes, it’s a thing!) guide, Mohammed.
You may notice there are NO women here…tradition prevents them from attending this market. I really stuck out here:). The camel traders were very gracious and happy to share this cultural event with us.
The Daraw Camel Market
As many as 2,000 camels come to Daraw for the camel market, but in the past, this number was even higher. A historian recorded as many as 14,000 camels traveling along the forty-day road at one time, so many camels that the caravans looked like armies winding along the desert. Most of the camels that come to the market nowadays are then sent to market in Birqash where they are sold again. While some camels are exported to Middle Eastern countries, most are sold to farmers or slaughtered to provide meat.
The camel market of Daraw is there each day, but the main markets are on Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, the market also has cows, goats, and other livestock. The markets are crowded with people and are full of dust and herders with whips moving their camels along. I must say, I didn’t see any “whipping” while we visited. These camels are VERY valuable to the owners and were well treated and organized in various sized groups until sale.
Although the market may be full of camels and buyers and be dusty and loud, it is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see so many camels in one place and get a look at an old-fashioned camel market.
This event is full of specific “routines”. For example, the deal is negotiated between the seller and buyer. The seller puts his hand out palm up once he has given a price. If the deal is to be finished, the buyer must place his hand on top (palm down) of the seller’s hand. There is a specific word spoken and the sale is made.
Yes, it is a large, dusty space but, the buyers are often in crisp, long white caftans accented by colorful head wraps and scarves.
Camels are assessed value by the “bulk” of their humps. The plumper their “humps”, the more they are worth.
We really enjoyed this event and would encourage you to see it if you are in Egypt. There are a few ways to get there – Felucca boat, train (although we were told it would take 3 hours) or, by car (it took about an hour of driving through villages on a two-lane road. The big bonus was it was along the Nile and stunning.
Hope you enjoyed this – Wander Until Found,