Camel racing has been a part of the UAE’s heritage for many decades. Read this guide to educate yourself about the Camel race Abu Dhabi and plan your trip without any disappointments and missed races. With insider tips, camel race schedules and places where you can watch the camels live at action, this guide will assist you in savoring an experience that will surely be one of the highlights of your 2019-2020 trip to UAE. You will also learn more about the race techniques and the remote-controlled jockeys used throughout the camel race for a better understanding of this sport.
Camels were regarded as companions and cherished by the Bedouins. A major mode of transport and food, camels have always been close to the hearts of the native Emiratis. Even today, camels are a status symbol, the more of them you own the richer you are. In ancient UAE camel racing was a way of celebrating a special occasion or festival. Over the past 5 decades it has evolved in many ways to become one of the wealthiest sports in the world. Winners of the camel race are entitled to cash rewards of roughly 1 million USD. Due to this high demand, camels are crossbred to create a breed of racing camels that are trained thoroughly to battle it out on the racetrack. If you think that camels are limited to being riding attractions for tourists that can only move at a slow pace, watching one of these camel races will get you second guessing yourself. Camels are not just a cultural symbol of UAE they are also considered one of the most prized companions an Emirati can own.
Due to the popularity of this sport among the locals it’s no surprise that UAE has 15 camel racetracks situated around UAE. Al Wathba Camel Racetrack in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai Camel Racing Club and most other tracks are fully equipped with all the latest technology that is required for modern-day camel racing. Apart from the Al Maqam Camel Racing Track in Al Ain there are racetracks in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. The season for camel racing is between October and March with races being scheduled on all weekends within the racing season. The major camel racing event is held in Abu Dhabi and includes a two-day event which unites fans of camel racing and celebrates this unique sport. Back in the days, winners of camel racing were gifted with necessities like food and livestock. This has changed over the years with winners not only bagging trophies but also money and cars. Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Racetrack has a track for the camels and a separate trac for the camel owners to follow their camels by car. The stadium is also well-equipped for spectators to have an unparalleled experience.
The camel Racing Federation situated in Al Wathba strives to bring awareness to this national sport and showcase it as a part of UAE’s heritage. It is also the organizing body of all camel races held in Abu Dhabi.
This brief video guide by Visit Abu Dhabi about camel racing is rather interesting.
Camel racing has even fascinated the BBC which is why tBBC Wild Arabia have made a brief documentary on the evolution of camel racing.
AL Rayyan TV is an official UAE TV channel that broadcasts all the camel racing events that take place in Abu Dhabi.
Camel races are regularly scheduled to take place on weekend mornings and some extra races arranged on UAE public holidays. The season for camel racing in Abu Dhabi is between October and March which are the winter months. During the winter months the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities. Camel races are held throughout the UAE while the main event is scheduled in Abu Dhabi.
Kids Camel Racing Dates
The Child Race For Shieks
Adult camel racing & His Higness Shiek Mohammed Zayed Festival race dates
Adult camel racing dates
Kids camel racing & His Higness Shiek Mohammed Zayed Festival race dates
His Higness Shiek Mohammed Zayed Festival race dates
Checkout the Arabic version here
Camel racing is one of the world’s richest sport with winning camels earning a cash reward starting from 2000 AED all the way up until 200,000 AED. Camels are regarded as symbols of high status and a racing camel is priced even more. Camel racing is practiced throughout the middle east but is more popularly known in UAE. Racing camels are worth anywhere between 1 million to 6 million AED with the highest sale of a racing camel going at 35 million AED.
Checkout the prices list here
Races are usually scheduled to begin at 6.30 am but somedays they start in the afternoons.
There are 2 locations for the race which are shown above in Google map.
No 4x4 is needed as you can drive to Al Wathba Camel racetrack using a normal car. You can also choose to add it to your Al Wathba tour.
If you are wondering who controls these camels while they are racing, look at the pack that sits on the hump of all the race camels. That pack attached to the camel hump is the remote-control robot jockey. This is one of the ways in which modern camel racing differs from how it was practiced by the Bedouins.
Ancient camel racing that was practiced by the Bedouins used small boys as jockeys since camels aren’t capable of carrying adults. These boys were flown in from Pakistan or India but as time went on Human right groups pressured against this practice as it was regarded as a form of child labor. From the year 2005 robots that are equipped with whips were used to control the camels. The camel owner follows on a 4x4 vehicle, controlling their camel with the help of the robot jockey and voicing out commands through the speaker attached to the robot. The whip is controlled by the owner with the help of a remote. Every camel racetrack has a separate track for the fleet of 4x4s that will follow their camels.
If you were to watch camel racing in ancient UAE, you would know the race is about to start when you see a group of men lifting the gates and running off before the racing camels stampede past them. Thanks to the advancement in technology many aspects of the camel race have been automized. In addition to the robot jockey, the opening of gates at the start of the race, monitoring the camels throughout the race and nutrition control of the camels make use of technology. The robot jockeys that are currently used were invented in the UAE. The first robot jockey was invented in collaboration with the swiss but proved to be heavier than the currently using jockey that weighs between 2 to 4 kilos. The UAE invented jockey also includes a system for communication and fits perfectly on the camel without burdening it. Apart from supervising the camel it also monitors the necessary biological information and provides real time feedback to the trainers and owners that follow in the 4x4. This groundbreaking update to camel racing has been around for 14 years
if you would like to have more details or question about camel race dates, timings & location please call +971 2 885 8888 during Sunday to Thursday 8 am to 2 pm
Al Wathba is a suburb of Abu Dhabi and is not a far destination. Checkout our latest guide about things to do in Al Wathba to plan an exciting excursion to this desert town.