COOL CAMELS OF SASAAB

Camels are cool, in more ways than one! As well as looking ‘cool’ with their funky humps and their laid-back ambling, they’ve got some seriously clever adaptations to keep themselves from over-heating in the harsh desert environments where they live.

It is often assumed that a camel’s hump contains water, but it is actually a fat store, which they can live off for months. Having a layer of fat also helps ensure they don’t overheat.

Camel rides at Sasaab ©Will Burrard-Lucas

Sasaab’s Caravan of Camels

Have you met our Sasaab camels? We have a caravan of nine males, five of which are currently ridden. These are strong Beby, talkative Ldapara, impeccably behaved Losoito, well-mannered Lwerikoi and Sony who loves going on safari and carrying things. They are all dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius), so have one hump. Two-humped camels are called bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus).

Did you know, camels have three sets of eyelids (the third is a clear one) and two sets of eyelashes to keep sand out?

Sasaab’s camels live not far from the lodge with two dedicated keepers: our camel trainer Josephat Lolkinyati and camel guide Moses Lemoille. As herbivores, our hump-backed friends spend their days browsing out in the bush. To keep tabs on them, two wear bells – the two that dislike each other most, as they will never run away together!

Cool camel fact: camels can close their nostrils during sandstorms.

A leisurely evening camel ride to Sundowner Rock at Sasaab ©Scott Ramsay

Camel rides are one of the inclusive experiences for guests of Sasaab and make for a fun evening activity. Male camels are known for their heavy lifting abilities and can carry over 400 kilograms for 25 miles a day, so a leisurely stroll with a guest or two is no problem for them! Children over eight years old (depending on height) can also enjoy this experience.

Sasaab’s camel experience is a fun activity for all ages over 8 ©Will Burrard-Lucas

Did you know, camels can survive for weeks without water? They minimise water loss though very dry droppings and concentrated urine. They can also extract water vapor from the air they exhale and reabsorb it.

Exploring Westgate Conservancy by camel

Sasaab’s camel experience is a fabulous way to explore the wild with a view from up high (camels are around six feet tall!) The unhurried pace allows you to notice the smaller things in nature and gives you a feeling of being part of the wild as you glide through the bush. Head out for anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes to explore Westgate Conservancy. A guest favourite is the half hour ride to Sundowner Rock in the early evening, but a trek to Sasaab village or simply around the lodge area are also options.

Cool camel fact: Camels have thick pads of skin on their chest and knees which allows them to sit in scorching sand, as well as tough lips for foraging thorny trees.

Getting up and down is quite the ride!

Sasaab guests about to set off for a camel ride

Camels and the Samburu

People have kept camels for thousands of years. Their milk is highly nutritious and they can glide over harsh desert environments carrying cargo and people with ease, earning them their nickname ‘ships of the desert’.

Camels are social animals that travel in herds and communicate in low bellows and moans. But watch out, they project a foul-smelling spit when angry or threatened which they can aim with accuracy up to six feet away!

However, it is only in the last 25 years that the Samburu have turned to camel keeping. Traditionally cattle herders, it is thought that some of the wealthier, forward-looking Samburu pastoralists are adding camels to their livestock as protection against drought and a more diverse economic investment. Camels produce roughly twice as much milk as a cow of similar age, gender and health, making them a lifeline for survival during tough times.

A caravan of Samburu camels passing by ©Scott Ramsay

Don’t miss the cool camel experience during your stay at Sasaab!

If you’re interested in doing an entire safari on camel back, then the Samburu region is ideal and we are happy to help recommend the best operators, simply reach out to us at info@thesafaricollection.com.  

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