Camel Racing Festival
The Camel Racing Festival is free and open to the public, and celebrates a sport that has deep cultural roots in the region. Much like the city itself, the current festival has a modern twist (as you can see): robot-jockey-mounted camels gallop toward the finish line during Dubai's Camel Racing Festival.
By Erin Ridley
Camels & Robots at Marmoum Camel Racetrack
To get closer to the heart of Emirati culture, take a daytrip to the traditional (they have been doing this for millennia) yet ultramodern (imagine Jumbotrons and robot camel jockeys), at Marmoum Camel Racetrack. During the Dubai Camel Racing Festival in February, most of the UAE’s 14,000 racing camels will be there during the 12-day festival to compete for prestige, exotic cars and cash prizes in the millions. Despite the giant screen Jumbotrons and heavy TV coverage, binoculars are recommended unless you happen to make the acquaintance of a local sheikh (their camels run in the morning) in which case he may invite you to tag along in one of the many Nissan Patrols in hot pursuit of the camels racing the 4-10km track. Curious visitors are welcome year round.
By Baxter Jackson, AFAR Local Expert
At the Races
Among the most popular, and most traditional, sports in Dubai is camel racing, with a season that begins in October and runs until March. The sport is popular throughout the Middle East, with camels reaching speeds of around 40 miles per hours when running at a sprint. In recent years, jockey robots have become the latest trend—freed from the weight of a human jockey, camels are achieving record speeds. The best place to see them race in Dubai is at Al Marmoum Camel Racing Track, 45 minutes from the city. The races are free to watch and you’ll only have to spend some dirham if you do as the locals do and place a bet.
Sponsored by Department of Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing
Dubai - Al Ain Road - Al Marmoom - دبي - United Arab Emirates
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