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Camels in Dubai https://www.visitdubai.com/en/articles/all-about-camels 20190917T135633 20200329T124936:637210829767245042 Bedouin Life

Camels are an integral part of the Bedouin life, essential for survival in the harsh desert. They are used for transport, milk and meat, and their hides for protection from the elements. While they’re not fit for the skyscrapers of modern Dubai, camels are still seen everywhere through the use of their milk and the popularity of desert safaris and competitive camel racing. Here’s how to encounter these iconic desert animals.

From camel racing to camel milk chocolate, these ships of the desert are an integral part of Dubai life

From camel racing to camel milk chocolate, these ships of the desert are an integral part of Dubai life

It is easy to forget sometimes that Dubai is a city built in the desert – especially when driving through the urban jungle of Downtown, relaxing in one of the city’s green parks or sunbathing in the confines of a luxurious beach club. However, behind the glistening towers, the emirate is full of little reminders that it is, in fact, in the desert, and its roots are very much aligned with the Bedouin culture of a bygone era.

Of course, where there is desert, there are camels – from weekly race meets to chocolate made from camel milk, there are so many ways to encounter these ships of the desert in Dubai:

Camel Racing in Dubai

Camel races

These days, camel racing is a drawcard for both Emiratis and visitors. The racing season runs between October and April, and races tend to take place early on Friday and Saturday mornings. 

There are several tracks around the emirate, but Dubai's biggest one is the Al Marmoom Camel Racetrack, the home of Dubai Camel Racing Club, located half an hour’s drive from the city, near the Sevens Stadium. It attracts camel owners from across the UAE, and even some from neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack

Changes have been made to the sport to bring it up to date without losing its traditional core. Robot jockeys controlled by operators who drive alongside the racing camels in SUVs were introduced in 2002 – with the driver usually honking the horn loudly and continuously, so as to spur on the camel to greater speed. Today's races offer prizes running into the tens of thousands of dirhams; special prizes such as luxury cars may be given to the winners of big race meets.

Camel meat, milk and chocolate

While you won’t find camel meat served in many restaurants, there are a few eateries where camel can be found on the menu. One of the original purveyors of camel meat in the country is Local House, a tiny cafe in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood of Dubai. The restaurant claims to be the first in the UAE to serve camel burgers. 

Camel milk and chocolate

For those who are not quite so adventurous, there are camel milk milkshakes and cappuccinos. Camel milk is said to contain ten times more iron and three times more vitamin C than cows’ milk. It is also said to be low in fat, and lower in cholesterol and more digestible than cows’ milk, while being more suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Al Majlis is a chic, Arabic-inspired outlet in The Dubai Mall where you can sample ice cream and chocolate made with camel milk, while nearby restaurant Switch serves up pasta tossed in creamy camel Bolognese sauce.


For camel milk chocolate souvenirs, it is hard to go past Al Nassma, which blends rich camel milk with exotic ingredients such as fine acacia honey. You can purchase solid blocks, praline boxes or hollow chocolate camels from The Dubai Mall, Burj Al Arab and Dubai Duty Free at Dubai International and Al Maktoum International airports.

Camel Chocolate

Want to learn more about the UAE's culture? Embark on a heritage-themed walking tour of Old Dubai or learn more about Bedouin life in the desert.

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English Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing

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