One of the camels competing in the race March, 2008 – Wikimedia/Mohamed Mossa
CAIRO – 27 December 2017: Egypt’s Eastern Desert is definitely worthy of a visit; it beckons visitors, both Egyptians and foreigners.
File - Jockeys compete during the opening of the International Camel Racing Festival in Ismailia, Egypt, March 21,2017
Ismailia Governorate has vast a desert and beautiful landscape, where around 13 Bedouin tribes come together every year to host the International Camel Racing Festival at Fayed City, Ismailia.
In March 2018, Egypt’s Eastern Desert will transform into a race track; competing jockeys on their camels hurl themselves across the sand, while convoys of SUV's and trucks speed alongside them – visitors get an exciting ride and a great view of the race as well.
A part of the competitors in the Serabioum Valley, Ismailia – Five Photos
The camel race is part of an annual camel festival outside the city of Ismailia. Around 150 camels compete in the race ranging from a relatively short three kilometer track to a 15 kilometer race, or three laps around the five kilometer circuit. The jockeys are mostly small children, aged 11 years old, sometimes even younger.
Competition among the Bedouin tribes in the race is expected to be strong, as the winners will receive a total of LE 100,000, split between the winners from different races.
Ismailia Governorate hopes the camel races will encourage tourism, as organizers say a growing number of international tourists visit the festival every year; though they do not take part in the race, they do live an experience of a life time.
“It’s the first time they have come,” said Sheikh Suleiman Abu Shukri about his tribe, whose territory extends from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Battle of Ismailia Monument, March, 2004 – Wikimedia
Ismailia Governorate is located in the Northeastern part of Egypt between the Port Said Governorate and the Suez Governorate, roughly an hour and a half from Cairo. It was named after Ismail Pasha, the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, who oversaw the country during the building of Suez Canal.