UAE’s 1st all-female camel racing team completes 100km in Jordan

Photo of uae's all-female camel racing team in Jordan

As the home of the UAE first all-female camel racing team and the pioneers behind the nation’s initial camel racing league for women, the club is no stranger to breaking traditional boundaries. They even took part in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever women-only camel race at the Crown Prince Camel Festival and host thrilling camel races at the Dubai Camel Racing Club, accessible to spectators without charge.

Setting out on a 100-kilometer camelback journey across the desert may not be everyone’s idea of enjoyment, but the Arabian Desert Camel Riding Club (ADCRC), situated in Dubai, is known for its unconventional approach.

Their recent expedition to Wadi Rum, Jordan, marked another significant achievement for the club. A team of six riders, accompanied by two Bedouin guides, spent their nights under the starry desert sky, with only a support vehicle carrying essential supplies.

Jana Schmiedel, a member of ADCRC’s camel racing team, organized the trip with a strong commitment to sustainable travel, choosing to collaborate with local communities rather than major tourism companies to give back to the countries they visit.

For ADCRC member Coralie Viroulaud, this was her first experience of a long-distance camel ride outside the UAE. She described it as an incredible and unforgettable opportunity to disconnect from city life and connect with nature, experiencing a different style of camel riding unique to Jordan.

During their two-and-a-half-day journey, the team traversed remote and rarely-visited desert areas, riding for approximately eight hours daily. The journey led them to tranquil areas with minimal light pollution, offering them the chance to admire shooting stars and various constellations.

Schmiedel stressed that ADCRC’s primary mission is to promote awareness about camel conservation and sustainability. The club goes beyond camel riding and racing, focusing on sustainable practices and the numerous benefits associated with camels, including camel milk.

The welfare of camels remains a top concern for ADCRC. They ensure that their camels are treated humanely and do not carry the strain of two riders, as seen in some tourist facilities. Members of the club learn to ride in harmony with the camels.

Viroulaud noted that camel riding is an excellent way to connect with the history and culture of the UAE. The club’s female members come from diverse backgrounds, including Emiratis, and their next race is scheduled for November 25, within a racing season that runs from October to March.

Schmiedel expressed the incredible adrenaline rush that comes with camel racing and the delight of seeing the enthusiastic camels. While camel racing remains a traditional sport with limited female participation, ADCRC is dedicated to expanding inclusivity and aiming to reach other emirates. Schmiedel emphasized the positive emotional connection formed with camels, describing them as soul-enriching animals that reflect human emotions and offer a truly unique experience.


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