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Dressing to Ride a Camel

We’ll have the opportunity to ride camels in the desert area of Morocco next month. We’ve received conflicting answers to our questions as to what to wear. Some people have warned that camel hair is scratchy so wear jeans. Others say, “fleas!” So that leads one to wonder what to wear to prevent flea bites. And we haven’t packed jeans on overseas trips in years. Anyone have experience riding a camel and thoughts on attire? Were you comfortable in what you wore? Any major fashion slipups?
PS—we have the option of riding in a jeep type vehicle to our desert campsite and hubby is leaning that direction!

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8293 posts

“Major fashion slip-ups” for camel rides. The camel has little or no fashion sense and his owner is only interested in being paid.

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2711 posts

FYI: There weren't camels in the desert areas of Morocco 30 years ago, so if they are there now it is just for tourists.

"...the camels of Morocco are not used as a method of transport...they have become vital in the tourism industry"

I recall wearing shorts on a camel ride in India, but it may have been jeans. The flies were the worst bit, and the camel's bad breath and occasional snarling at the rider (me).

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2861 posts

I just looked back on the photo of me on a camel, and I am wearing ordinary light weight cotton pants. I was glad I didn’t opt out of the camel ride because of what we experienced at the end, great dinner in a luxuriously furnished tent and Berber musical group entertainment. However, if we had been offered an alternative for getting there, like a jeep, that’s the way I would have gone. I really disliked the ride, itself. Make that really, really disliked.

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266 posts

In December a couple of years ago we wore long pants & tee shirts (warm day, jackets ended up waist-tied), & the camel drivers wrapped long scarves around our heads & faces, the traditional blue sand-shields, as much for the great photos as any blowing sand (there wasn't that day). Definitely sunglasses for the glare off the dunes. Probably had closed-toe shoes on. The saddles were on top of blankets, so no direct contact with hides (blankets were probably scratchy, but long pants conquer all). Nobody spoke of fleas or flies or.

NB Days were warm, nights & mornings were scarves-&-hats cold.

Loved the whole camping experience, which included Stewart's camel, uh, propositioning? Vicki's, up close & personal! There is nothing like camel sweet talk. You can ride a jeep anywhere, but, c'mon, do the camels.

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1839 posts

The camels you will experience are generally Dromedaries, a member of the camel family.

We rode camels (for maybe 45 minutes) as part of a package with a hot air balloon ride. We have friends that have gone on much longer treks, as in overnights.

I wore denim skinny-type jeans and very sensible shoes. We were visiting in early March that year, so my photos show me wearing a turtleneck and a light windbreaker type jacket.

If you have never ridden a camel, the getting up (as in the camel getting up after you mount it) is the funniest part of it all......LOTS of rocking back and forth as one set of legs come up, then the other. Dismounting is really the same sort of process, but by time you are doing that, the back/forth will be "old hat" to you (well, sort of).

Did not see or have any aftermath re: fleas.

The blanket type thing and saddle type thing the camels had really did not leave much contact with camel hair for scratchiness. But, if you rub the neck, you will know it has coarse hair.

I would not hesitate to go on another type ride (provided it is a good vendor and the animals are taken care of, and the ones we enjoyed were). Take lots of photos. The two of us on a camel was the key photo of our annual holiday card, and we received more fun comments re: that photo than any other we sent in other years....maybe it was the sort-of three-wise-men tie in....subtle, but maybe??

If you are both physically fit and somewhat up for a different experience, I encourage you to go with the camels. Afterall, you can ride in a Jeep just about anywhere...but a camel in the desert...likely not that often.

Enjoy!

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4685 posts

They know you don’t have jodhpurs and boots. Don't spend a lot of time planning and packing for this. You won’t contact camel fur with your legs.

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5645 posts

We rode camels in China, in Dunhuang in the Gobi Desert. We were told to wear long pants even though it was very hot. The main thing I recall is that we all had to send the pants we wore to the hotel laundry to get rid of the strong camel smell. Hand washing wouldn’t have been sufficient! Fashion had nothing to do with it at all.
Follow the drivers’ or tour director’s advice. The ride was nice, pretty long, more comfortable than riding a horse, but I won’t do it again. The camels had piles of oriental rugs over them that we sat on. We rode around the base of the huge Gobi sand dunes.

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575 posts

Camel riding is not incredibly comfortable. I’ve usually worn lightweight full length hiking pants, loose fitting. If there is an option for a short camel ride, with a Jeep pick-up after a quarter/half mile, that would be my choice.

The cheche head wrap is really for men, but I love it. Be sure you get someone to do it properly with a minimum of 3 yards/meters of the fabric, and you’ll look great. And it really is helpful if sandy winds arise, which is its true purpose.

For the desert camp night, bring a star map. A truly dark night in the Sahara is incredible: shooting stars, vivid Milky Way, satellites.

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1839 posts

ahhhhhhhhhhhh...........Barbara above gives a great solution. Do "camel-ride-lite." Perfect idea, Barbara!!! That way you have the experience, get to add it to your "did-that" list, and if you absolutely have had ENOUGH ALREADY, then the Jeep will rescue you.
The other thought would be: take the Jeep, and assume you arrive at the camp before others on camels (assuming it is a group arrangement) ride in a quick circle around the camp on camels and bingo....you've done it :)

While our little 45-minute trek was quite fun, I do not know that I would want to ride 30 miles on a camel (especially if it is gawd-awful hot and if sand were blowing in my eyes).

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4134 posts

I have ridden a camel twice. Both times while in Egypt at the Pyramids. The ride was only about 15 minutes.
No way would I want to ride a camel 30 miles.

I would advise not wearing shorts for sure. Not necessary to wear jeans.

The worst part of the camel ride is getting on and off. The camel is brought to its knees and you get in the saddle and they tell you ro firmly grip the saddle horns in front of the saddle. Be sure you do that because the camel movement is strong and moving back. Getting down, the camel goes on its front knees and if you don't grip hard on the saddle horns you may get thrown forward.

Camels are smelly and nothing like riding a horse. You are about twice as high above the ground as you are on a horse.

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8293 posts

A camel has a single hump, a dromedary two
Or else the other way around, I’m never sure, are you?

Ogden Nash

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935 posts

I did a camel ride somewhere along the Nile. It wasn’t comfortable at all. My camel was in a hurry to get me off, and went down on its knees before the handler wanted it to. It threw me forward and I ended up in a sand dune full of dried camel dung.
I walked into my room and into the shower fully clothed. Never again!

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935 posts

I did a camel ride somewhere along the Nile. It wasn’t comfortable at all. My camel was in a hurry to get me off and went down on its knees before the handler wanted it to. It threw me forward and I ended up in a pile of camel dung. I walked into our shower fully clothed. Never again for me!!!

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2945 posts

Slightly off track but reminded of a day long safari I went on in Rwanda. I was warned bathroom facilities would be limited, so I choose a cotton dress for “ease.” It wasn’t until we got to the National park that I discovered I had dressed in the exact colors used to lure tse-tse flies in traps. I spent the entire day dressed as a tse-tse lure. I wish someone had told me in advance not to wear bright blue and black! Who knew?

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2711 posts

A camel ride in Morocco will not be 30 miles since Algeria is too close. There isn't enough desert for such a long ride.

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860 posts

I have no advice to offer, having never ridden a camel, but just popping in to say some of these replies are priceless! Great, amusing (and informative!) thread! :)

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244 posts

You should be able to wear basically whatever, it's not a huge deal. They've usually got these experiences down to a science. Last time I went, we were driven right to where the desert starts, basically, you get on your camels, ride for 20-30 minutes, then get off for a sunset. Chances are, whoever is leading your camels will then become your personal Instagram photographer - they know exactly what the popular poses are!

Then off to the campsite. Often the campsites are actually very close to the nearest road, but are made to feel much more isolated. It's still plenty dark for beautiful stargazing, though! You may be more likely to be bitten by insects at the campsite - I know I was!

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2937 posts

A viewing of " Lawrence of Arabia " might give you some ideas . Damn fine film in any event .

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2234 posts

Diane, wow! Camel ride, dung pile, fully clothed shower, all in a single day! What a great and memorable day.

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2937 posts

Norma , as long as you threw down the gauntlet - " The one L Lama , he's a priest , The two LL Llama , he's a beast , and I will bet a silk pajama there isn't any three LLL Lama " Also by Ogden Nash . ( Nash refers here to a type of conflagration known as a three alarmer )

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49 posts

Oh my gosh! Laughing so hard at some of these replies. But thanks for sharing your insights, experience, and the quotes! We’ll play it loose...and if the mood strikes us...up on the camels, we’ll go! In any case...I’ll report back later this year. Thanks, again, everyone.

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8293 posts

Ah, Steven ..... you picked up the gauntlet. Nicely done.

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584 posts

For what it is worth my wife and I rode camels through the Rajasthani deserts in India for three days. We bought ‘Camel Pyjamas’ locally specifically for the trip. They were really cheap and consisted of thin cotton long trousers with elasticated waist and the tops were long sleeved cotton pullover shirts. All were gaily coloured - mine, which I still have, were a more conservative black and white design featuring a recurring pattern of elephants!

It’s important to note you get on a camel while it is sitting and as it stands it pitches forwards, then backwards and then forwards again, so you’d better be hanging on tight when it starts to move or you’ll be face down on the ground before you realise!

My wife sailed through the trek and thought it was wonderful. Me, not so much. Not born to camel ride I spent the subsequent full days rail trip sitting on an inflatable rubber ring supplied by some camel riding geriatric tearaways on the same trip, who took pity on my plight (and chafing).

Undeterred, I once again boarded a camel in Wadi Rum. Given my previous experience, not without trepidation. However, this was only an hours ride and thus a comparative walk in the park. This time I wore my lightweight walking trousers, t-shirt, sensible walking shoes and, of course, an Arab headdress!

If I were you and it’s relatively short, I’d say do the camel ride, but make sure you have antiseptic cream with you just in case! And hang on for dear life!

Ian

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935 posts

Larry,
My hubby still laughs! He had just gotten off his camel and turned toward me to watch my decent! I can laugh now but I was not happy at the time. 😆