We were picked up at our motel at 05:41, the first of the group setting off with David our driver and guide. We stopped at various hotels, motels, hostels and backpacker establishments around Alice Springs until the bus was full. Soon after leaving the relative green of Alice we were out in the ‘countryside’ - the scenery turned a pinkish red. Our first stop would be an hour and a half away for breakfast.
Our route during our three day, two night tour. Our first and last rest stop at Camel Farm.
Bear went in to order us cups of tea and bacon sandwiches, I went outside to meet our first ‘big reds’. The shop sold Afghan biscuits the size of side plates, one each in case we need a snack later – well that’s our excuse.
One of the camels looking pretty red after a roll.
Back inside there were so many awards the owner had won.
Some wonderful old pictures and some history.
Australian Camel History: The first camel in Australia was imported from the Canary Islands in 1840 by a man named Horrick. The next importation of camels was in 1860 when 24 camels were shipped to Australia from Karachi along with camel handlers for the Bourke and Wills expedition.
The first Australian camel stud was set up in 1866 by Sir Thomas Elder at Beltana Station in South Australia. Imports continued until 1907 from India and Pakistan. AN estimated 12,000 camels were imported into Australia between 1860 and 1907 and were used as draft and riding animals by people pioneering the dry interior.
Central Australia used camels in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line, the supply of goods to Alice Springs, cattle stations, missions and Aboriginal communities. Camels hauled wagons loaded with wool to the railhead at Oodnadatta, pulled scoops and ploughs in the construction of dams and they were also used as a mode of transport by outback police, mail men and priests.
Most camels were released in the mid 1920’s when motor vehicles began operating in the central areas of Australia. They established free-ranging herds in the semi-desert areas of Australia.
The ten most asked questions on camels:
Q. How long does a camel live?
A. They live around 40 to 50 years.
Q. What do they eat?
A. In captivity we feed them lucerne and oaten hay, they also like fruit and some green vegetables. In the wild they browse on native bush rather than grass and are well adapted to eat thorny plant. They also require a large amount of salt in their diet.
Q. How long can a camel go without water?
A. A camel can go without water for 7 to 10 days. If they are browsing on bush with a high water content they can go 2 to 3 months without drinking as they obtain enough water from the moisture rich plants. (vegetation can have up to 80% water content). A thirsty camel can drink 100 litres at a time.
Q. How heavy is a camel.
A. Newborn calves weigh 30-40 kilograms. A mature camel weighs 400-750 kilograms.
Q. At what age is a camel fully grown?
A. A camel is fully grown at 7-9 years.
Q. How long is gestation (pregnancy)?
A. Gestation is 12 to 13 months with an average of 388 days.
Q. How much can they carry?
A. A fully grown camel can carry 350 to 450 kilograms for 6-8 hours a day for a week or so. But for long journeys, a load equal to half its body weight is compatible with continuing good health and performance.
Q. How fast can a camel run?
A. Camels can run up to 65 kilometres an hour (40 mph) over a short distance, and can sustain speeds of up to 40 kilometres an hour (25 mph) over long distance. They walk at 5 kilometres an hour (3 mph).
Q. How intelligent is a camel?
A. We consider camels to be very intelligent. We teach them voice commands when training which they learn very quickly much like a dog. Newly caught feral camels learn and adapt to the ways of humans faster than horses or cattle.
Q. Do camels spit?
A. Dromedary Camel do not spit, but Bactrian Camels, Llamas and Alpaca do. A camel can bring up its cud and throw it up if you make them feel threatened, this is often mistaken as them spitting.
We did the one hump or two in blogs during our stay in Morocco.
Some wonderful faces.
Some impressive action shots.
We only just made the return journey stop walking in with minutes to spare. Our friends were tired and were actually yawning.
Armed with cups of tea and of course a couple of big biscuits, we watched as the team were taken to have their supper and bed.
Back in Alice Springs, we passed The Old Ghan Train.
ALL IN ALL WHAT A WONDERFUL ROAD TRIP
TIME FOR A LAY IN AFTER A GREAT TOUR