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  • Amanda Perrett

Camels - their personalities and traits

When Chris asked about some of the camels with characters, Amanda rose to the occasion to highlight some of her beloved four-legged faithful safari camels. So here is a snippet about Bogo, the camel train and their jobs in general.

Bogo is our lead camel, named after his father, who was strong and solidly built. Bogo has the same build and hangs his tongue out the side of his mouth in the same way when grumbling. Like his father, he is, on the whole, obedient, intelligent and steady on the trail, putting his "gear into four-wheel drive when chugging up a hill", but can be a bolshy Bogo when he decides he wants, or doesn't want something. When he thinks it's time to stop, he starts to look around for a suitable camel campsite and gets stroppy about going on, or tries to bite at (never hurtfully) whoever is leading him, when he thinks he's found the right place, or the time is enough.

He is a good leader as he's not phased by any obstacle that his handlers feel the camels can do and trustingly follows their steps, stopping and starting for those behind as needed or asked.

Unlike his father, he is very loving, on the whole, and loves nuzzling and resting his head on those who are either leading him or come to talk to him.

More about the camel team that was chosen for this expedition:

There are a mixture of older and younger camels in the team, and bigger and smaller ones. They all have a name, and some have bigger characters than others. Generally the big, strong ones carry the heavy boxes and are in the lead team. When we are just chugging along they are split into two teams. The camels in the second row team carry the water and rest of the camp. But all the loads, and camels, swap around depending on what they carried the day before. The camel teams are led and checked on by the same camel crew, with the lead camel in the second team always the same and also bonding with his handler.

Kitanda is the most intelligent camel in the team. He leads the second train. Like Bogo he is a short but stocky and very strong fellow. His handler, Hassan, can give him instructions which he listens to and obeys; whether it's to stand and wait, or don't eat, or come back from grazing too far away, or sit for unloading, choosing a route to lead his team safely down a lugga, or choosing a suitable campsite, or other such instructions.

After the rains began in these parts, all the plants have shot back into life, as they do in these semi-arid conditions, so everywhere the camels stand, walk or graze is now bursting with fresh, green foliage and they're eating as they go, chewing the cud as they walk, or sit at night, and not needing to drink as they're getting enough moisture from this leafage.

Many of these plants are different to what they're used to, but they are loving it all, taking great mouthfuls at a time. They are not getting plumper, but they are getting much fuller tummies, and must have more energy as they are bubbling and posturing at each other as they come in for the night, and are barely complaining in the morning at loading. Their body odour is also becoming healthier, and saddle sores are healing.

And a last note on Bev and Kathy’s allocated camel, Ndalili:

The guys (camel drivers) who are closely involved with the camels spend hours discussing various traits and characteristics of their charges. Ndalili was named by myself as a very loving and cheeky calf. He has been allocated to be Bev and Kathy as their special camel, so their bags are loaded onto him. When they arrive at camp he will look to see where their chosen piece of ground is and will stop there if the train goes past the spot, even breaking his head rope if he has to! Otherwise, they (B&K) collect him out of the train and he goes with them, sitting down at their spot on command, while they off-load all their bags and saddle, and take off his head rope. Then off he goes.

Handsome fellas

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