What you need to know about riding a camel in Qatar

Now, that you are in Qatar and planning on staying for a while or maybe even never go back to where you came from, you are bound to come in contact with a camel at some point or the other and may also want to ride one. And, why not? Since Qatar is part desert and you are in camel country, what better way to take a stroll through the desert than to ride a camel. What say you?

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Now, if you’ve never sat on a camel before then the first thing to do is to figure out where to sit on a camel with a single hump. A camel with two humps is simple. You sit between the two humps. With a single hump camel like those found in Qatar, where exactly do you sit: on the hump, in front of the hump or behind the hump? Hmmm…actually, you sit on the hump.

Now, that’ we’ve got that part figured out, it’s important to keep in mind some tips to help you ease on to that hump, stay there and enjoy the ride!

Though there will be a camel herder or guide to help you out and help you get on the camel, it’s always good to be prepared and know what to do beforehand.

Getting on the camel

It’s best to wear long trousers with a long-sleeved top because camels have scratchy fur and even the blankets placed under the saddle are rough, so it’s best to be covered to avoid feeling uncomfortable during the ride. The last thing you want is redness or a rash on your legs from that rough fur.

Stay to the side of the camel. Avoid standing in front of the camel’s face as it may just want to nibble at you, sneeze, or blow foam from its mouth. Swing your leg over the camel’s back and mount yourself up in the middle on the saddle which will be on top of the hump. There may be just one stirrup (the things that hold your feet in them) that will help you get up on to the camel and off when you need to.

Camel saddles come without stirrups, so the best thing would be to wear shoes or sandals that can be tied so they don’t fall off during the ride. The last thing you want to do is have to get down from the camel, retrieve your shoe or flip flops, and then get back up on the camel again, especially if it was hard the first time round!

Staying on the camel

Once you have mounted the camel and are comfortable, or as comfortable as you can be on top of a camel’s hump, hold on tight to the handle that’s on the top middle of the saddle. The camel will use his back legs first to stand up, so it’s best to lean backwards a little to keep your balance. Then the camel will use his front legs to stand up completely, so lean forwards.

When the camel is standing up, make sure to adjust yourself so you are sitting properly and comfortably. If you can, put your legs in the front and cross them. This way your weight will be evenly distributed and you will be even more comfortable.

Riding the camel

Don’t try to control or steer the camel. They don’t like to be controlled and may get upset. Hold on to the reins, stay calm, relax and enjoy the ride.

Getting off the camel

It’s much easier getting off the camel. Push yourself up using the saddle handles, swing your leg over the hump and then jump off.

Once you get the hang of it, believe me, you’ll be back for more!

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