09 April 2012

Al Qassim Camel Market – Al Hassa

The Al Qassim Camel Market is the largest camel market in the world and is situated on the outskirts of Buraydah in Al-Qassim and is a spectacular sight with thousands of camels for sale and hundreds of Saudi Men looking to buy them. Almost every person present was driving a large four wheel drive Toyota Landcruiser with white being the favoured colour. Many traditional handcrafts are also available nearby including hand crafted leather goods. The market starts at 06:00 hrs and apart from camels there are also plenty of goats and sheep for sale. The sales finish by 10:00 hrs so an early start is required to see the action. Many Bedouins are present at the market both buying and selling camels which are the one humped Dromedary type that have been domesticated for many thousands of years.
Bedouin on Camel

The camels present come in many colour variations from cream to jet black. A full grown camel can measure 1.85 metres tall at the shoulder and 2.15 metres at the hump. They walk at about 5 kilometres per hour but can go much faster if required. Some of the camels are loose and walking around on their own so care needs to be taken when at the market. Most animals are shut up in large enclosures and some of them have fancy adornments to make them look better.
 Cream Camels
 Large Black Male Camel
 Baby Camel
 Female Camel
Male Camel

One surprising thing for us was to see camels being lifted into the back of small trucks with small cranes. The cranes are attached to the truck and are operated by the camel traders of drivers of the truck. The can lift one adult camel or at least two smaller camels and the animals do not seem to mind too much being lifted off the ground. They have their legs tied before being lifted to prevent hurting themselves.
 Camel Lift Truck
 Camel Lift Truck
Camel Lift Truck