> The biggest desert caravan organized by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) has 29 camel trekkers who travelled for 13 days across UAE desert from Liwa Empty Quarter to Expo 2020 Dubai
Dubai, 22 December 2021: Carrying their respective flags, a group of 29 camel trekkers from 21 countries participating in the 8th Camel Trek organized by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC) arrived at Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday.
Their arrival was marked by cheers and warm welcome from their respective families, friends, supporters and officials from the HHC and Expo 2020 Dubai.
But before reaching their final destination, they got a surprised meeting with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on their penultimate day of camel caravan on Monday morning, December 20, at Seeh al Salam.
HHC shared on its social media account photos and video of Sheikh Mohammed waving at the camel trek participants on the success of their trip. He also spoke with Abdullah Hamdan bin Dalmook, CEO of HHC, who led the camel trekkers composed of Emiratis Batool Hassan Ghaith, Hakima Hassan Ghaith, Khawla Al Blooshi and Saeed Mohammad Rais. They were joined by Howard Leedham from UK; Madawi Alahmad form Saudi Arabia; Andreas Wim Deges, Paulin Piesker, Emilia Piesker from Germany; Meriam Sehrewerdi from USA; Prijumon K Dominic, Bilal Gulammohiddin Palekar, and Ammar Ahmed from India; Nicola Bettio and Nicole Busetto from Italy; Joost Verploeg from The Netherlands; Mohamed Amehdar from France; Renate Antolkovich from Austria; Claudia Granberg from Nicaragua; Jana Vintrova from Czech Republic, Laura Ezzat from Estonia; Mariska Verploeg from Brazil; Monika Teresa Dziewinska from Poland; Ann Carine from Belgium; Silke Pfitzer from South Africa; David Pescador from Spain; Amina Samy from Egypt; Geul Bang from South Korea; and Nathaniel Alapide from The Philippines.
Biggest camel caravan
This is the biggest camel trek to date, with 30 participants coming from 21 countries. The participants started at dawn on December 9 from Liwa Empty Quarter in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. They covered three emirates and 11 checkpoints over 13 days – navigating 640kms of the vast UAE desert – until they reached their final destination at Expo 2020 Dubai site on December 21.
Bin Dalmook thanked the support and inspiration given by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, in promoting the UAE’s cultural heritage in the framework of spreading peace and tolerance among the different peoples and cultures of the world.
He added that it is only fitting that the final destination of the camel trek is at Expo 2020 Dubai. “It is a matter of pride and honor that we showcase the UAE’s cultural heritage at the world’s biggest stage,” he underlined.
Highlighting Emirati heritage
Mohammed Al Ansari, Vice President of Communications and Official Spokesperson for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We are very pleased that the annual Camel Trek has reached the end of its journey at Expo 2020 Dubai. We are proud to partner with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center to highlight Emirati traditions and heritage to millions of visitors in addition to 192 participating countries. This event is deeply rooted in UAE history and the caravan enriches Expo 2020 Dubai’s presence on the international stage, bringing people together and truly embodying our theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
The participants underwent rigorous training at a camel farm in Dubai, months prior to the camel trek. During training, the participants developed a level of fitness and aptitude for the desert voyage. They did not only learn how to ride a camel, but were also trained on how to travel in a convoy and were familiarized with life in the desert.
The caravan followed a prepared route and the camel trekkers rested at camping stations in the middle of the desert. Participants were provided with all necessary requirements by the HHC for the entire duration of the voyage, including food, drink, individual tents and camels.
Emirati desert voyager
The participants enjoyed a unique desert experience, such as living the old ways of the Bedouins. One of the participants, Emirati Saeed Mohammad Rais said: “I’m proud to represent the UAE for this annual camel trek. As an Emirati, this is a golden opportunity for me – as we celebrate the UAE’s 50 years – to retrace my roots and share my country’s rich heritage with other participants from various countries across the world.”
“This camel trek has become very popular among Emiratis and expats alike who wish to go back in time and relive the old Bedouin way of life,” he added.
Expats enjoy unique desert experience
British expat Howard Leedham, 63, meanwhile, said: “I have a huge interest in Emirati culture but this camel trip has taken it to a completely different dimension and I thank the HHC and the UAE for this wonderful experience.”
Dubai resident Nathaniel Alapide, a sand artist from The Philippines Alapide, added: “I joined the camel trek to learn and understand more about the old ways of Bedouin life in the desert and forge friendship with other participants during the trek. This desert voyage for me is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will surely never forget.”
German national Paulin Piesker, who works as a teacher in Dubai, and the trek with her 13-year old daughter Emilia said the support of her family was the main reason behind their participation in the desert trek. “We are also very thankful to the HHC for giving us the opportunity to know more about the UAE heritage that is very rich and beautiful,” she added.