If you ever make it to Omdurman, Sudan (across the river from Khartoum) be sure to check out the Omdurman camel market. Or, you can just read this site…
Most of the animals are brought in (on foot – like the old days of the American cowboy) from Darfur and South Sudan since these areas are greener and more fertile. However, the desert nomads (more on them later) also bring in their fair share of animals to sell.
These camels below have already been sold which we can determine because they have had one of their front legs tied back. Of course, this also prevents them from running off.
Camels are bred either for speed or for raw strength. If you really want to spend a lot of money, you can purchase a camel that possesses both traits. The fast camels are for racing or simply for travel if you happen to travel light. The camels bred for toughness are intended for carrying lots of cargo. A decent camel that is either strong or fast will set you back about $500. If you want a premium camel that is both fast and very strong, you can pay up to $1200.
A donkey cart used to carry food for the camels.
A number of these camels are destined for a trek farther up north into Egypt and some will even be taken all the way to Saudi Arabia.
Despite its name, the Omdurman camel market does not just sell camels. In fact all sorts of animals can be purchased here including goats, donkeys and cows.
Below is a gathering of donkeys and a solitary horse for sale. We were told that a decent donkey will sell for around 200 Sudanese pounds. And its hard to tell, but there are some goats for sale in the background. A quality goat will set you back around 170 Sudanese pounds.
To figure out (very approximately) what this equates to in U.S. dollars or British pounds, just divide the number of Sudanese pounds by three or four respectively.
And a selection of cattle for sale. A good cow or bull will sell for around 500 Sudanese pounds.
These are trucks full of food for the animals which is necessary as there are literally thousands of animals in the market at all times.
I shot this video posted below while walking through the market and I think it serves admirably to present the sights, sounds and goings on of the Omdurman camel market. Fortunately for those of you watching the video, it does not include the tastes of the camel market. I say “fortunately” because while we were walking around a dust storm of surprising intensity began kicking up. This had the effect of injecting into our mouths quite a bit of sand and increasingly large fragments of camel dung. To spare you the suspense – it has a tangy flavor – but I wouldn’t recommend it as a normal part of your diet.