Al Sawan Camel Track
Al Sawan Camel Track is a racetrack measuring 10 kilometers where locals and tourist alike come to see the ancient tradition of camel racing. Camel racing is a time-honored sport much like horse racing. Locals love to place bets on what camel will prevail, and tourists appreciate the culture and history the sport represents.
At Al Sawan Camel Track, there are no professional jockeys to be had. These camels are riderless and encouraged to run by robots. Up until 2002, children were the chosen jockeys for racing camels. However, the United Arab Emirates became the first location to ban the use of children under the age of 15 as jockeys.
Al Sawan Camel Track is located 15 kilometers outside of the city of Ras Al Khaimah. Races take place from 6:30-9:30 a.m. September through April. The races are free to attend, and if tourists can find a local that will allow them to ride in one of the official cars that follow the camels around the course, their experience will be that much better.
Locals recommend tourists take a taxi to the track, and ask the driver to wait for them until after the race. This is because it becomes difficult to find a passing taxi in this area later in the day.
This attraction should be considered if tourists wish to immerse themselves in the culture of Ras Al Khaimah. The races are frequented by locals and thus are a great experience for tourists who want to understand the culture more thoroughly. In some instances, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi may even make an appearance.
As an aside to this trip, tourist can visit nearby camel farms. Most locals are friendly and more than willing to share their knowledge of camel racing with any interested party.
The United Arab Emirates is the center of camel racing in the Middle East. They have implemented sophisticated training methods to create the best racers possible. These methods include the use of swimming pools and treadmills. Camel racing is so important to the United Arab Emirates that even His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi is a fan.
One visitor to Al Sawan Camel Track shares his experience:
“Camel races take place most Friday’s and Saturday’s at 6:30-8:30 am. It is a must-visit attraction if you are visiting Ras Al Khaimah. It is very local, and you will likely be one of the few non-Emirates people present. Whenever a race starts, only half of the camels run in the right direction causing a very funny scene. Then, the locals start their cars and follow the camels around the racetrack, which is fascinating.”
The Al Sawan Camel Track is the perfect attraction for visitors that want to experience Ras Al Khaimah’s culture and be reminded of its history. It is an entertaining and inexpensive way to spend the morning and an experience tourists are not likely to forget. As tourists watch the camel race, they are getting to view part of what make Ras Al Khaimah so great since its camel racing is known throughout the world.