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Rakayeb Convoy Camel Riders Explore Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter

Rakayeb Convoy Camel Riders Explore Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter

Monday, 11 March, 2019 - 13:00
A man wearing a mask poses with camels at a camel market in the village of al-Thamama near Riyadh May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Braving the searing heat of Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter sand-dunes, King Abdulaziz Camel Festival’s ‘Rakayeb’ convoy --an explorative excursion which started its journey on February 23rd-- continues to safely scale the world’s largest sand desert.

Eighty-one camel riders from 21 different countries, including the US, Germany, Japan, and Mexico, are traveling the route from Ubar to Yabrin oasis, nestled north of the Empty Quarter, making stops at ancient settlements along the way.

Among the most notable stops perhaps is that which will allow the riders a brief look at the impact site of an asteroid crash that happened 300 years ago, the only one to take place on the Arabian Peninsula. Another notable site is the ‘Sabkha Alhamar’ swale, which slopes undersea levels by an astonishing 24- 26 meters, and the nearby freshwater springs.

Inspired by a motion picture about a desert-voyaging queen on a quest for tapping new cultural and Bedouin heritage, French Rakayeb participant Anna Aiko said that she registered as a camel rider as soon as she heard about the tour.

Italian photographer Petro Enka, who set out to capture some of nature’s wonders with a professional lens for channel TV2000, said that Rakayeb offered an exceptional and rich experience that brought him together with friendly people from different backgrounds.

Averaging 8 hours of travel a day--crossing approximately 30 kilometers at a time—Rakkayeb will be crossing the finish line at Yibrin oasis on March 22nd.

After arriving at their final destination, Rakayeb convoy organizers will provide the riders with direct transportation back to Riyadh to attend the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival.

It is worth noting that the convoy is one of the programs enlisted by the Saudi Exploration Camel Club.

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