Samburu Maralal International Camel Derby

Samburu Maralal International Camel Derby(SMICD) is an annual event held in August of every year at Yare Camel Camp in Maralal town, Samburu County.

Yare Camel Camp is in the northern region Kenya at the heart of the nomadic pastoralist Samburu people who are related to the Maasai.

The event which has been on-going for 23 years was initiated by the late Malcom Gascoigne who was the proprietor of Yare Camel Camp.

It draws 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.

Creating the perfect blend of culture, adventure and action, the finest camels of Kenya are gathered in a display of competition and sportsmanship.



SMICD was initiated by Yare Camel Camp 23 years ago and the Samburu community participated fully in the running of the event.

The event has attracted many organizations to sponsor such as the LKenya Tourist Board, Safaricom (largest mobile phone service provider), Kenya Commercial Bank, Samburu County Council, and many others.

SMICD entered into partnership with KTB during the 2011 event which will continue.

Many organizations and individuals continue to volunteer to sponsor different event activities, and all of them are highly recognized and appreciated



Yare Camel Camp, 3km south of Maralal on the main Nyahururu road, Samburu County. From Nairobi, the distance is 345km, (230km tarmac and 118km graded murram). The event is primarily a camping weekend, however, there is adequate accommodation available at Yare, Maralal Safari Lodge ( a five star), and many other hotels in Maralal Town

The derby is recognized as a serious international sport and a great way to create awareness of the rapid onset in the desertification of Kenya, while also promoting better camel husbandry among the people of Kenya and the many other benefits of camels.

It also boosts the economy of the area and helps in sensitizing the locals towards diversification of livelihoods. In addition, several other events take place. These are, cultural shows (spectacular local dancing, cultural manyattas, and traditional ceremonies displays), cycling races, and stalls where curios and handicrafts, among many other.The SMICD is a great festive days of superb spectacle.



The Theme for 2011 is Peace for Tourism and Environmental Conservation. The event brings together several nomadic pastoralist ethnic groups to interact and discuss various challenges facing them as pastoralists which include education and environmental issues.



SMICD has the following main objectives

1. Bring together different nomadic pastoralist people to interact for the sake of peaceful co-existence
2. Bring together different nomadic pastoralist people to interact for the sake of peaceful co-existence
3. Raise more awareness on the importance of camels as economically viable source of livelihoods for the nomadic pastoralist people in the wake of persistent droughts that devastate other domestic animals like cattle, sheep and goats.
4. Promote environmental conservation due to increasing desertification
5. Raise money for educating needy pastoralist children, promote girls education, and support for children with special needs.
6. Promote preservation of Samburu cultural heritate and positive cultural practices.
7. Promote conservation and viable exploitation of natural resources
8. Promote the opening up of the Samburu region to tourism in order to enhance the economic status of the people



Yare Camel Camp has 15 bandas with single, double and twin accommodation arrangements. It has also ample space for camping. People can bring their own tents or hire from the camp. The Camp has a restaurant which sits 60 people, a well stocked bar with enough sitting capacity, a nice special beer garden area, and a large conference room. The rates of the bandas is pocket friendly and suites all types of clients. Maralal town also boasts of many hotels and a five star one.



Entrants register for participation. Camels are available for hire and come with saddles and handlers. All camels are given a vet-check by the official vet officers. The camels are rendered tick free 4 days prior to the event.



Cash, Trophies, Certificates are given to winners. Sponsors are also recognized and appreciated for sponsoring various events.



Seats in vehicles from Nairobi, reservation of tent accommodation, hotel and lodge accommodation, as well as reservations for camels, may be made through,