The Saudi Crown Prince Camel Festival celebrates the region’s most popular export

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The festival will feature sports, cultural and entertainment activities alongside educational workshops for camel owners and visitors interested in camel sports. (SPA)
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The festival will feature sports, cultural and entertainment activities alongside educational workshops for camel owners and visitors interested in camel sports. (SPA)
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King Abdulaziz Camel Festival Saudi Arabia. Launched in 2000, this contest attracts not only direct participants, including those who make a living from the events, but also those who enjoy the increasing number of activities associated with the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival. More than 2,000 prizes that could reach SR100 million ($26.5 million) are usually distributed to winners of various beauty and racing contests each year. Also the King Abdulaziz Festival awards prizes for best camel photo, best obedient camel, and a popular folk literature competition. (Supplied)
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The festival will feature sports, cultural and entertainment activities alongside educational workshops for camel owners and visitors interested in camel sports. (SPA)
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The festival will feature sports, cultural and entertainment activities alongside educational workshops for camel owners and visitors interested in camel sports. (SPA)
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Al Dhafra Camel Festival in Abu Dhabi/UAE. This festival embodies the heritage of the UAE and wider Gulf region. Since its inception in its modern setting in 2005, Al-Dhafra has become the place for lovers of traditional nomadic life and culture. The festival includes the famous “Mazayna,” or beauty contest. In addition to contests and racing with more than AED 50 million ($13.6 million) up for grabs, the festival also includes a photography competition, a bazaar, Saluki dog races and falconry shows — as well as multimillion-dollar camel purchases. (Supplied)
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Mongolia Camel Festival Gobi desert, Mongolia. This festival celebrates the traditional nomadic life as well as the Bactrian camel itself, a beast of burden that normally carries everything a Mongolian needs to build and live in a traditional Mongolian tent. The Bactrian is a woolly, two-humped camel that sports a flowing beard of hair. Guinness World Records classes the Mongolian festival racing contest as the largest camel race in the world, drawing 1,108 participants from across Mongolia to the site outside Dalanzadgad in Umnugovi province, in the Gobi desert. This is the Mongols’ Olympic games, and nomadic culture is always celebrated. Archery, wrestling and horse racing are played out over two days but it is also a good time to see the Mongolian people and soak up their culture. Camel riding is often included. (Supplied)
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Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, India. This fair is held annually in November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon festivities. Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly rated spectacles, attracting thousands of camels, horses and cattle and visited by more than 400,000 people over a period of 14 days. A camel race starts off the festival, with music, songs and exhibitions to follow. Pushkar is in the central eastern part of Rajasthan. (Supplied)
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Outback Camel Festival Trail in Queensland, Australia. The festival hands out the biggest prize money of any camel-racing contest at the Sheikh Zayed International Camel Endurance Race and the Boulia Desert Sands race. Also in Australia, the Camel Cup in Alice Springs has been held in the heart of the outback every year since 1979. Camels and their drivers, seen left in this image from 1900, were key in opening up the centre of the vast dry country. (Supplied)
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The festival will feature sports, cultural and entertainment activities alongside educational workshops for camel owners and visitors interested in camel sports. (SPA)
Updated 01 September 2018
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The Saudi Crown Prince Camel Festival celebrates the region’s most popular export

  • More than 2,000 prizes worth up to SR100 million ($26.5 million) are distributed to winners of various beauty and racing contests each year
  • The key races take place on weekends and include two sets of warm-up rounds, with 308 rounds of racing in part one and 178 in part two

JEDDAH: The camel, or “ship of the desert,” is known for its strength, endurance and ability to cross more than 100 miles of desert without water. Camels have traditionally been an important feature of life in the Arabian Gulf countries.
Now Saudi Arabia has added a new camel festival to its diary, the Crown Prince Camel Festival in Taif, under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where thousands of camels will compete in the hope of winning millions in prize money for special breeds, good looks and speed.
For more than 30 days in August and September, business leaders, politicians and camel enthusiasts flock to one of the Middle East’s largest displays of the finest camels in Saudi Arabia and the world. They compete in more than 700 racing rounds and beauty competitions, putting the festival firmly on top of the annual fixtures to celebrate Saudi culture, sport and the value of the camel. Early inhabitants of the Arabian desert relied on camels for milk, meat, leather, transport and also during battle due to their
agility and speed: Camels can reach up to 40 miles an hour in short sprints. A camel can also run at 20 miles an hour for more than an hour without rest.

Photogallery: Taif Camel Festival

Camels today are still celebrated in Saudi Arabia for their beauty, grace and speed. Even as the country rapidly modernizes, the animals remain a central part of Saudi culture, and a lucrative one, with camel prices reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars and even breaking the $1 million mark.
At the Crown Prince Camel Festival 2018, racing began on Aug. 11, with the camel categories Mafarid, Haqqa, Laqaya, Jatha’a, Thanaya, Heil, Zamoul and Soudaniyat all classifying camels according to age, sex, and range of distances covered.

Photogallery: The Saudi Crown Prince Camel Festival celebrates the region’s most popular export
The festival has three phases. The first phase ended on Aug. 27 and the second phase starts today and continues until Sept. 7. The festival then pauses until Sept. 15, when the final stages begin and continue until Sept. 27. The key races take place on weekends and include two sets of warm-up rounds, with 308 rounds of racing in part one and 178 in part two. In addition there will be two marathon rounds, 20 production rounds and 178 closing-in rounds. Local and international camel owners compete for total prize money of SR45 million ($12 million) at the event. The festival will also feature sports, cultural and entertainment activities alongside educational workshops for camel owners and visitors interested in camel sports.


Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

King Salman arrived in Al-Jouf on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 27 min 28 sec ago
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Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

  • The king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure

JEDDAH: Projects worth several billion riyals are to be unveiled by Saudi Arabia’s king this week as he continues his tour of the country’s regions.
King Salman arrived in the province of Al-Jouf on Tuesday night where he will announce the construction of a new city, bolstering the local economy and creating thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia’s most northern region.
On Thursday, the king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 
He will lay the foundation stone for the first phase of the SR85 billion ($22 billion) city in Toriaf province — worth SR55 billion —  and is also set to inaugurate the projects and facilities of the second phase — worth SR30 billion.
In the past two months the king has visited a number of major cities, announcing projects and initiatives to develop the Kingdom inline with Vision 2030 — a broad strategic plan to diversify the economy and end dependence on oil revenues.
Before arriving in Al-Jouf, King Salman visited Tabuk, where several projects worth more than SR11 billion were launched.
He also met the team heading Amaala, the ultra-luxurious tourist destination that was unveiled in September and dubbed the “Riviera of the Middle East,” and was briefed on plans for the new attraction.
King Salman praised Amaala’s objectives to contribute to promoting economic diversification, creating investment opportunities for the private sector, and developing the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia while preserving the cultural and environmental heritage.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced yet another major project in western Saudi Arabia.
Wadi Al-Disah Development Project, which is expected to become one of the Kingdom’s most environmentally diverse tourist attractions, adds to a number of already launched ventures on western coastal regions.
PIF will establish a company to develop Wadi Al-Disah in accordance with international best practices regarding environmental conservation and sustainable development.
In addition to this week’s tour, the king has so far visited Madinah, Qassim and Hail.