Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sunset Camel Ride

It has been high on my to-do list of Dubai to ride some camels!! Since we decided to have a stay-cation over spring break, I thought it would be the perfect time to fit it in!

Ben and I made the hour or so drive out into the dessert to Al Sahra Desert Resort Equestrian Center.  Once we arrived, we followed the winding road to park and make our way to the camels.  Like with many things in Dubai, there weren't any signs or people around to really direct us and let us know where we were supposed to go.  It was a beautiful day and the place was very serene so we absolutely did not mind.  It was a very enjoyable walk.

When we made it to the camels, we were greeted by our two guides.  We were excited to learn that we were the only two on the sunset camel ride!! Woo hoo!! Our guides led one of the camels over so we could pet him and get in some pictures.  Ben and I both agreed that camel hair was more coarse than we thought it was going to be.  We learned some interesting facts about camels such as: 

-- Camels are able to swim while carrying things on their back.  Apparently, in some places in Egypt the camels are still used to transport goods and are made to swim across water. 
-- Camels can close their nostrils to keep out sand.  They can also continue to breathe with their nostrils closed. 
--  The whispy hair on the inside of their ears is to keep sand out.  They also have incredibly long eyelashes to do the same.
--  Camel's cannot walk on gravel.  Their feet are very soft and the gravel can hurt them, cause infection and in some cases lead to death.
--  A camel's hump is filled with fat.  Many people believe water.  That is false.
-- A camel's spine is straight.
-- Camels live between 30-50 years. 
-- When mating, the males can show they are enjoying themselves (or show dominance) by something that protrudes out of their mouth.  Apparently, it is quite appalling (according to one of our guides).
-- Camel milk is more nutritious than cows milk.  There is more iron and less cholesterol   We were able to taste some after our camel ride and it does taste different than cow's milk.  Camel milk is a bit more salty, has a stronger milk twang to it than cow's milk (if that makes sense) and is more rich.  Not bad, though.
--  Female camels mature faster than male camels by about 3 years. This is true of humans as well.  ;)

After our introduction and education it was time to ride!! Since we were the only two along for the ride we each got our own camel! Once we sat down, we had to lean back while the camel stood up because they lift their hind end first. Mine did it as soon as I was seated and scared the crap out of me, but I recovered quickly.  Then we were off!  We went on a 40 minute ride around the desert and were lucky enough to see a small gazelle and a desert hare (or fox, not really sure which).  Our legs and bums started to hurt after a bit since the sway of the camel and the way you are using your legs and back to steady yourself is something we are not used to.  

At the conclusion of our ride, we were able to taste camel's milk and play with a couple of miniature ponies before leaving.  We both agreed that we want to return and ride horses in the desert before leaving Dubai.

Prior to returning home, we stopped at the Mall of the Emirates to eat at the world's largest Cheesecake Factory.  

It was a truly memorable day/date!
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