The Thousand Camel festival takes place annually between the end of winter and beginning of spring in Dalanzadgad. Participating in this spectacular 2-day event is an amazing and unique opportunity to interact with the two-humped Bactrian camels and Mongolian camel herders. Every year the festival gathers more than a thousand camels, and over a thousand participants and spectators. The camels are especially pretty in winter when their fur becomes thick and lavish to stand the cold temperatures.
The Role of the Camel in the Nomadic Lifestyle.
The festival celebrates the endangered two-humped camels (Bactrian) and the role it played, and continues to play, for nomads in the Gobi. These amazing animals carry everything that a Mongolian needs to build and live in a ger (also known as a yurt). Camels are much tougher than horses and can cover 50 miles in one day, and run very quickly.
Nowadays camels have been replaced as a means of transportation by cars, but the popularity of camel racing reflects the admiration still given to them. There are approximately 500,000 Bactrian camels in the world, and 300,000 of them habit in Mongolia.
Mongolians eat camel meat, similarly to goat, and use camel wool for making clothes like jackets and socks, and blankets.
Camel riders before the start of races
This exciting and fun event takes place in the Gobi during the time of the year when the desert is covered in snow and temperatures drop below zero. It features traditional music, costume competitions, dancing, polo competition and camel racing. After the festivities, the spectators can ride the camels and visit some of the Gobi’s unique sights.
The festival begins with a camel beauty parade where the big, fluffy animals parade in front of the crowd. They then embark on the race, where the herders drive the camels on a 15km race across the steppe. The average speed of camels is about 12 km per hour, which corresponds to the speed of a galloping horse. Racing camels is the most beautiful and popular competition of all the holidays and events of Mongolia attracting many visitors.
Un unlimited expanse of steppe
In addition to the race, another highlight of the event is a Polo match. Two riders sit on each camel; one controls the camel, while the second one hits the ball with a stick.
Other highlights of the festival are traditional performances of Mongolian folklore and a fair of products from camel milk and camel-hair.
If you would like to experience this unique spectacle at the end of February - beginning of March, please contact our travel specialists and get first-hand advice.