The Maralal International Camel Derby is one of the more unique travel experiences in Kenya and it is held annually, around midyear, just outside of Maralal Town; it is a great attraction for many visitors and locals alike.
Kenya's Northern Frontier is a wild and untamed region, where people still wander with the seasons, and where one of the continent's unique events happens every year, the Maralal International Camel Derby. Maralal Town is a simple dusty town set on a hillside, in Samburu County. It is a thriving centre for the local Samburu, the streets are always busy with passing camels, brightly dressed warriors and traders.
Annual Derby Day in Maralal
The annual race in Maralal attracts riders and spectators from far and wide. It’s a race for professionals and amateurs alike, all vying for first position.
The camel race starts in the centre of town, where a mass of heaving, ungainly camels, jostle for their place in history. Some run backwards, others off to the side, it is a melee of chaos noise excitement and colour. The more professional riders manage to race past the line of spectators heading for the finish line.
If camel riding is not for you there is also a bike race or a 10 Km running race, where you can take in the spectacular landscape of the Samburu County as you compete over a demanding course. The bike race attracts a mixture of world class bikes and local amateurs, on bikes that don’t always manage to see the finish line.
The town is also bustling with traditional dances and is like a cultural show but for real. This desert town becomes a kaleidoscope of colours, noise and fashion as locals and tourist meet and share a fun, action packed cultural experience.
It is on for only one day a year, but if you are in Kenya at that time - Don’t miss it, come and experience Samburu Culture at it’s best.
Most people camp over the weekend, travelling up from Nairobi on the friday night and travelling back on the Sunday.