Visiting the Birqash Camel Market. The Birqash Camel Market exudes authenticity. After you take your photos of your finger pointing to the tip of the Pyramids of Giza and haggling for souvenirs in the Khan el-Khalili souk, it is time for a mini-roadtrip. An hour drive, North West of Cairo is the Birqash Camel Market. You can make it here by public bus, but you might be better off negotiating a taxi since most of the action takes early in the morning. Try and get there by 7 am. The market takes place weekly on Fridays.
Hundreds and hundreds of camels are crammed into this dusty market. PETA would have a conniption here since the animals are treated no better than a used car. All of the camels have one leg bound so they cannot sprint away. It looks painful. Men or boys casually sit on the camels sipping sweet tea like they would lean up against a beat-up Oldsmobile. And the camel merchants are quick with the switch. The camels were constantly being smacked.
Many of these camels are brought up from Sudan, other parts of Egypt, and even as far as Somalia. The camels are treated like commodities not pets and are transported in poor conditions. They arrive at the Birqash Camel Market in poor shape and emaciated, sometimes dying in the market.
The Birqash Camel Market is a frenzied and active marketplace filled with men and boys in traditional dress, cutting deals, sipping chai, and smoking shisha. Stacks of Egyptian pounds are swapped. Camels are marked in giant colored crayons to mark ownership.
Men pace around the camel, sizing them up. They grab their jaws and peer inside their mouth to inspect their teeth. It appears like they are lifting up the hood of a car to inspect an engine. Over 2,000 camels are sold here a day. One thousand US dollars will buy you a camel. These one-humped camels can survive three weeks without water. These camels are sold for meat, farm work, and for rides at tourism sites.
The Birqash Camel Market is a great experience to mix with the locals and observe a market that has taken place for eons.
Visiting the Birqash Camel Market.