Visiting the camel market seems like an easy thing to do: ask for a minivan, and just go. But when we see the dervishes at Hamed el Nil the day before and ask about the camel market, people give us a puzzled look even when we mention "jamal souq". According to one of our guidebooks, it is just a few hundred metres walk from the cemetery around Hamed el Nil, but this seems unlikely. We end up taking a minivan to Souq Libya, from where we have to take yet another minivan further west. The driver is kind enough to point us in the right direction, and we first walk across the donkey market and the goat market. Several guys follow us and are a little too invasive, but they leave us alone after a while.
Continuing through a small area with shops and more goats, we finally find camels - or, to be precise, dromedaries. It is not the large market I expected; there are a few groups of camels, some greyish, some white, some dressed in a colourful cloth. One mother camel has a small camel next to her. Some of the people here start asking money for pictures, but others seem proud that their camels would be on our pictures. One of them asks us to wait, and takes his time to prepare his camels for a photo shoot. Not much trading is going on, and I again wonder if this market is already finished for the day, or if it would be more busy on other days. The day before, when we finally found people who knew about the market, several of them had assured us that Saturday was the day to go, but I am not so sure about that anymore.
Or is it that supply had dwindled because of the internal situation in Sudan? Most camels come from Darfur, the war-torn region in the west, from where many people have fled elsewhere, and which probably also has less camels now. Or is demand low, simply because no one needs a camel anymore in the city of Khartoum where motorized vehicles fill the streets? In any case, we take a close look at the tall animals with their slightly arrogant stare, before walking back towards the main road where we find a cosy place to have a tea before heading back to Souq Libya.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Omdurman Camel Market. Read more about this site.