camels pride & wealth

Experience Adventure: How to ride a camel

Yeah, you read the title right.

Camel riding is a pretty popular touristic activity here in Jordan; an experience synonymous with the cultures of the Middle East & Africa. Due to its popularity, it is easy to get yourself a camel ride when staying in Jordan’s desert, particularly in Wadi Rum.

All camels offered for tourists to ride are used to being ridden, taken care of by their owners as they represent wealth & pride, so no problems should occur; however, it’s always nice to have a piece of advice and some tips about any new “experience” like this riding process before you take to the saddle,  just in case any bumps (or should we say humps 😂) happen out there while cruising the sandy bits of Jordan.

Here are the significant steps to do it smoothly:

1)      Hop on your camel. Your guide will suggest how best to mount the camel, which will be sat at this point; usually, it is in the same way that you would get on a horse using your momentum to swing one leg over. Sometimes, there are stirrups for your feet, making it more accessible. If not, your guide will help and potentially provide a stool or a push in order to assist you.

2)      Lean! It is essential that as the camel stands, you lean as a counterweight. Hold onto the handle/rope in front of you and leeeeaaannn back!. This is because camels stand up using their back legs first, then their front, so if you aren’t opposing their motion, you will come sliding off the front. Then, as it straightens its front legs- lean forward!

3)      Adjust yourself. Straddling the camel once it’s moving (as if riding a horse) isn’t the most comfortable method of riding. Crossing your legs up on the saddle distributes your weight on the humps, making it more comfortable for both you and your ‘ship of the desert.’ Keep in mind to get your legs back down in the straddle position if the camel tries to sit down.

4)      Relax. Don’t dismiss this hint as silliness. If you physically relax, allowing yourself to sway with the camel just enough to make it far more comfortable than if you try and rigidly hold yourself (the camel’s gait is too irregular for that), It’s not going to be as comfortable a ride as getting a Limousine, that’s a fact, but at least quit worrying about it. What’s more, a relaxed rider makes a relaxed animal: they really can sense the stress. Remember, this is a new and exciting experience for you, which instinctively triggers some stiffness in the body, so you have to actively relax your joints without sagging or falling off the camel’s back.

5)      Be patient. You can’t control the animal; only its master can. Don’t even try to force it- you’ll only aggravate it. Before dismounting, wait until the camel is sat down properly. You should find swinging yourself off a fair bit more manageable than getting on -assuming your muscles aren’t entirely sore after a long ride.


“Riding camels doesn’t hurt them, as long as they are carrying suitable loads in a proper fashion, and not being struck or kicked to make them move. Camels are made for tough lives, they’re not called ‘ships of the desert’ for nothing: an adult camel can travel up to 40km a day, carry up to 590Kg on its back and survive for 10 days without water. Problems arise only when welfare standards are ignored and money is prioritized over the animals’ health”, so you need to make a proper judgment when choosing to ride a camel.

In short, listen to your guide, stay calm, and enjoy the ride!

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