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Sudan: Omdurman Camel Market

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Omdurman Camel Market | Sudan | Africa

[Visited: March 2014]

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.

Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Camels under the hot sun at the camel market

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.

Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Young camel drinking water at the camel market

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.

Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Colourful decoration on a camel at the camel market
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Camels resting near a bar at the camel market of Omdurman
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Detail of one of the white camels at the camel market of Omdurman
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Light-coloured camels waiting at the market
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Trader taking care of his camels at the camel market of Omdurman
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Colourful saddles for sale at the animal market of Omdurman
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Small group of donkeys at the animal market of Omdurman
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Group of goats at the goat section of the animal market of Omdurman
Picture of Omdurman Camel Market (Sudan): Scene at the camel market of Omdurman with white donkey

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