DAY 325: Riding a camel

23 Jul

An oldy but a goody.

I’VE been determined to bother a camel before these 365 days are up. Coming from Slough, I find them as alluringly foreign as palm trees and Chiko Rolls.

According to our guide Rebecca, there are over a million wild camels wandering around the Nullarbor (through which Layna, Simone and I have just scored a path, getting from South Australia to West). You can wake up after a night of camping and see their footprints all around you.

They must have all been refueling on powdered lattes at some quaint truckstop when we motored through though, so Simone and I head to Kalamunda, a suburb in the foothills of Perth, to have a go on some domesticated beasties.

Rebecca tells us camels aren’t nearly as moody as horses, which is a relief. At best, horses are shirty; at worst, they try and mess with your head. My camel, Henry, doesn’t deliberately try and walk me into low hanging branches or stop suddenly in his tracks to rip up grass.

While camels can reach speeds of around 70km/h, we take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful bushland of Beelu National Park, where Henry, Amelia and Zara get to rip up a smorgasboard of passing plants – and keep the paths well pruned while they’re at it.

There are few birds around, but kangaroos stop dead and watch us pad past. We leave the beaten track to avoid a mountain bike race, although it wasn’t really necessary: camels don’t have a flight instinct. They’d rather turn around and check something out.

Back at the ranch, an emu wanders around in the gentle breeze and one of the camel whisperers tells us about his working day. Breaking in a wild camel, he says, can result in being bucked five metres in the air. Male camels are on heat, rather than the females, and once a female is slung in the pen there’s a frenzy of camel humping and slobbering – the sound effects of which we are treated to over a piece of cake.

You too, can have a go on a camel.

Amelia chewing.

Keeper? Yes. Camels rule.

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