International Camel Derby

Sandra Appiah May 05, 2011

By: Jocelyn Salala

Sally and the camel has one hump,

Sally and the camel has one hump,

Sally and the camel has one hump,

So ride Sally ride.

Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!

International Camel DerbyI can remember that episode of Barney as if it was yesterday. Barney and kids went on an imaginary safari in Africa. They came across a camel and began singing. I don’t remember why this would have been my favorite song but it could have been because it was catchy or that the song had something to do with Africa.

Every time I heard the word ‘Africa’ I would love to say, “That’s where I am from!” But as I got older and found out that Sally wasn’t really a camel but perhaps a horse, I always wanted to see if it was true, that a camel really only has one hump. Now, through me, so can you!

This summer, as I travel around my favorite continent I hope to stop by Maralal, Kenya. There I plan to stop by and see my very first, up close and live camel.

Every year in Maralal, Kenya, there is the International Camel Derby. The derby falls in August, bringing in a large crowd from all over the world. The derby is open to both novices and veteran camel racers; and the one thing guaranteed whether you are a spectator or a participant is that you are in for a serious treat!


This weekend-long derby is broken down into two main events. The first is known as the Novices and Amateurs. As a spectator you have the chance to participate. All you need to do is just hire a camel and handler for the day, saddle up and join the race. This race is 10km long on the back of one of the world’s hairiest animals.

The second event is the PRO’s Elite Camel race. This race is 42km marathon.  Racers pass through Maralal Township and semi desert areas. No handlers or assistants are to be used as you’re left to the mercy of the desert and your own devices and imagination.

Developing a perfect mix of culture, adventure, and action, this is one event you should add to your to-do list. These camels come from near and far and display the beauty of the country and the sportsmanship of the competitors. This derby is recognized as a serious international sport and  is indeed a great way to create awareness of the rapid develolment in Kenya.

So, come with me to Kenya this summer and let’s see Sally go! We’ll find out if she’s really known for her spitting and kicking as we explore the land of Kenya.


Last Edited by: Updated: February 25, 2014


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