Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sinai Camel School

Mohammed's Camel School

Mohamed Musa, camel teacher, with Abdou, the camel, and students

Learn to ride a camel in the spectacular mountains of the St Katherine Protectorate with trained local Bedouin teachers

Lesson 1: Mounting and dismounting while building up confidence with your camel. You will be asked to lead the camel by the rein and couch it. After hobbling it by gently tying the rein around the front legs, you practise the safe way of mounting and dismounting. Mounting once again, you make the camel stand up, walk it round a simple circuit and couch it.

Lesson 2: Fitting the saddle and controlling your camel. You learn to fit the saddle onto the camel's hump, arrange the covers for your own comfort and discover the best sitting position. You will then take your camel round a circuit by changing its direction, urging it on or bringing it to a halt. You will also practice dismounting from a standing camel.

Lesson 3: Changing the pace of your camel. You will learn to change your camel’s pace and gait. As a camel walks, it keeps three feet firmly on the ground and moves its fourth, giving a gently swaying movement to the rider. As it speeds up, it starts to move both legs in tandem on one side and then the other, giving the classic camel gait. When urged on more, the camel can shift into a gallop, pushing off with its two back legs while leaping forward with its two front legs. Students can now race their camels up the wadi.

Lesson 4: Trekking with the camel: You now need practice bringing all the skills together. You will go for a trek to the garden of El Birka where you will find the remains of monastic settlements from the Byzantine period. After a short break you return to the Camel School.

Between lessons, we supply tea and lunch and plenty of camel talk.

Afterwards, you are free to take a camel trek of your choice.

Trek to Ecolodge: You leave the camel school and trek down Wadi El Firee'a and Wadi Nugra, passing Bedouin gardens and Byzantine ruins until you reach Gebel Bineet when you are obliged to dismount and descend a steep slope with your camel - or take time off to climb Gebel Bineet. From the bottom of the slope, a quick pace will bring you to the Ecolodge. You are then free to stay the night and extend the trek to the following day, visiting Nabatean ruins and old Bronze Age sites, or else return to St Catherine. 

Trek around Ain Khodra: You are transferred by car to Ain Khodra in the morning and then have an opportunity to explore the fantastic sands and rockky outcrops of Ain Khodra by camel.

Advanced courses: We have students returning to us who take advanced lessons to further master the art of camel riding and develop a spirit of independence.

Vision: Yallajabaleya! is aiming to develop camel trekking over several days where everyone is mounted, no Bedouin on the ground, moving lightly across the desert, provisions in the camel bags, no pack camels and no vehicular backup. It's the Jabaleya life! 

Mohamed Musa

Mohamed's garden and camel school as storm brews

Camel trek to the Ecolodge





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