The camels of the Sahara: the unsung heroes of Morocco

Camels are synonymous with Morocco. One major tourist attraction is riding camels in Morocco. In the cities, camel use is at a minimum, but in the desert camels are present. Camels are a way to travel throughout the Sahara when vans, buses, and cars are not able to weather it. There are hotels at the edge of the Sahara specifically for tourists to rest and gather supplies before setting out to the Sahara on a camel. The nomadic, bedouin tribes use camels more genuinely for transportation to find food, camel milk, trade, and sometimes to eat.

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Tanneries like the one of above can be found all over Fes, Morocco. The vats of dye are used to cure leather products. Some tanneries make camel leather products and dye them with dye that has camel urine in it. It’s what gives the leather products a unique smell. The less a leather product in Morocco smells, the better quality it is.

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These products can be bought on the street or directly from the tanneries. Bargaining is encouraged. Be willing to walk away from a product in order to let the shop owner know that you can’t be fooled. I purchased my wallet with some haggling. I like the color and a few months after buying it, it no longer smells of the Moroccan tanneries.

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This is the pink wallet I bought for myself at that Fes tannery.

Moroccan argan oil is something that many westerners desire. People use Moroccan oil for hair and skin. For those with curly hair, argan oil is a godsend. In Morocco, it is often used to give people Turkish baths. The argan oil is rubbed forcefully into patron’s skin to make it soft and smooth. What many do not know about this beloved oil is how it comes about. The kernels fall off from the argan tree and they are eaten by camels and pooped out. Then they are collected and pressed into oil. Not exactly what you would like to hear about the products you put in your hair and cook with, but it is safe. Think about all the products we knowingly use everyday that contain something less than desirable in them. So here’s to the camels in Morocco, who are much more important than many may think!

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A crooked camel smile for the camera.

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4 thoughts on “The camels of the Sahara: the unsung heroes of Morocco

  1. Did you know that camel is also often referred to as the Ship of the desert? A pretty honorable surname isn’t it?
    Here back in Dubai we pride ourself in making the world’s first camel milk gelato, thereby teaching people that camel milk is actually a great ingredient if used properly.

    Liked by 1 person

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