Camel Derby Samburu Maralal, Kenya Safaris

The Maralal Camel Derby is an internationally renowned annual event held at the Yare Camel Camp in Samburu County, in the town of Maralal in Kenya, East Africa. The event started in 1989, known as the Maralal International Camel Derby and has since taken place annually in August. The Derby is a sporting event that has been used as a means to raise awareness about the diverse cultural and tourism potential to foster peace among the communities of Samburu County. It attracts participants from all over the world – Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, England, France, Spain, Japan, China, Mexico, Sweden, Holland, Italy, South Africa and many other countries. Participants register to participate. Camels are available for hire and come with saddles and handlers.

How to get to Maralal

Yare Camel Camp is 3 km south of Maralal on the main road to Nyahururu, in Samburu county. From Nairobi the distance is 345 km (230 km of tar and 118 km of level murram). The road safari takes you through some of the remote and arid regions of Kenya, ideal for adventure safaris. Air transport is available by hiring charter flights from Nairobi.

Where to stay

Yare Camel Camp has 15 bandas with single, double and twin accommodation. It also has enough space for camping. Visitors can take their own tents or rent them at the camp. The Camp has a restaurant with a capacity of 60 people, a well-stocked bar with sufficient seating, a beautiful beer garden area and a large conference room. Bandas prices are affordable and suitable for all types of customers. The town of Maralal also has many hotels.


The activities of the event include camel races for professionals and amateurs, a race for peace featuring morans from different communities, the Samburu cultural night which offers a unique cultural experience with music, dancing , traditional dishes, arts and crafts and two traditional Samburu weddings. It creates the perfect blend of culture, adventure and action.

Other attractions in Samburu include;

Samburu culture

Samburu culture is rich in many traditional things like songs and dances, artefacts, nomadic way of life, values, belief systems, role of all age groups and many more. Learn more about;

1. the medicinal plants of Samburu, to make spears, swords and other tools by visiting blacksmiths, traditional Samburu foods are made – milk, meat and blood,

4. How to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together.

Guided nature walks and safaris

Samburu has varied climatic and physical characteristics which provide a rich environment for guided nature walks. The climate ranges from humid highlands to an extreme desert environment. The duration of the safaris varies from a full day to two weeks depending on the stamina, the weather and the interest of the client. You can go to forests or arid areas. Others are interested in particular scenic attraction areas such as the “house of God”, the breathtaking escarpment “View from the end of the world”.

Photographic safaris

The land of Samburu offers many features, traditions and wildlife for photography. Every turn is interesting – Birds, wild animals, hills, anthills, mountains, caves, valleys, dances, finery are plentiful.

If you are planning a Kenya vacation in August, this is a must-see event on your itinerary as part of your Samburu safari.

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