Maralal Camel Derby is an internationally recognized annual event held in Yare Camel Camp in Samburu County, Maralal town in Kenya, East Africa. The event started in 1989 known by the name Maralal International Camel Derby and has been taking place every year in August since then. The Derby is a sporting event that has been used as a way of creating awareness on the diverse culture and tourism potential to foster peace among the communities within the county of Samburu. It draws participants from all over the world- Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, England, France, Spain, Japan, China, Mexico, Sweden, Holland, Italy, South Africa and many other countries. Entrants register for participation. Camels are available for hire and come with saddles and handlers.
How to get to Maralal
Yare Camel Camp is 3km south of Maralal on the main Nyahururu road, Samburu County. From Nairobi, the distance is 345km, (230km tarmac and 118km graded murram). The road safari takes you through some of the remote and arid areas of Kenya quite ideal for adventure safaris. Air transport is available by hiring charter flights from Nairobi.
Where to Stay
Yare Camel Camp has 15 bandas with single, double and twin accommodation arrangements. It has also ample space for camping. Visitors can take their own tents or hire from the camp. The Camp has a restaurant which sits 60 people, a well stocked bar with enough sitting capacity, a nice special beer garden area, and a large conference room. The rates of the bandas are pocket friendly and suites all types of clients. Maralal town also boasts of many hotels.
The activities in the event include camel races for both professionals and amateurs, peace run featuring morans from the different communities, Samburu Cultural Night that offers a unique cultural experience with music, dance, traditional foods, arts and crafts and two traditional Samburu weddings. This creates the perfect blend of culture, adventure and action.
Other attractions in Samburu include;
Samburu culture is rich in many traditional things like songs and dances, artifacts, nomadic lifestyle, values, beliefs systems, role of all age groups and many more. Learn more about;
1. the medicinal plants of the Samburu,
2. how to make spears, swords and other implements by visiting the blacksmiths,
3. how Samburu traditional foods are made- milk, meat and blood,
4. how to start fire by rubbing two sticks together.
Guided Nature Walks and Safaris
Samburu has varied climatic and physical features that offers a rich environment for guided nature walks. The climate ranges from humid highlands conditions to extreme desert environment. Time for safaris range from full day to two weeks depending on the stamina, time and interest of the client. One can go to the forests or arid areas. Others are interested with particular scenic attraction areas like the 'house of God', the breathtaking 'World's End View' escarpment.
Samburu land offers plenty of features, traditions, and wildlife for photography. Every turn of the way is interesting- Birds, wild animals, hills, anthills, mountains, caves, valleys, dances, attires, are plenty.
If you are planning a vacation to Kenya in August this is an event that you should not miss in your itinerary as part of your safari to Samburu.