Camel Trek through the Rocky Mountains of Gran Canaria
Prior to arriving in Gran Canaria, we found a website for Animal Encounters and tours in the Masopalomas area of Gran Canaria. The site is owned by Charly, a Spanish and English speaking guide who meets you in Masopalomas and then takes you on a tour of the mountains of Gran Canaria just north of Masopalomas in his own van.
The particular tour we took was up through the mountains with beautiful vistas of the dessert mountains and then down into the valley where you could see the flora and fauna of the inner part of the island. Here you tour a small garden area with indigenous plants and then you take a small hike through rocky terrain that is actually a cemetery of the indigenous people of Gran Canaria.
Because the land is so rocky here, the natives built rock crypts for burying their dead. There are numerous piles of rocks in the area that serve as markers of burial plots in the cemetery. You then notice that one is larger than another and if you look behind you, you see a small dip in the mountainside. This is where the sun rises twice a year, casting its glow directly down onto the “king’s grave.”
After the short hike, we were then taken to the Camel Trek area. When you typically think of riding a camel, you think of several people in a row on the back of a camel, sort of like what you would do at an American zoo. This was not the case at all on this tour. These camels had unique saddles, that allowed one person to ride astride the camel and then two other people to sit in chairs with dangling foot rests on the sides of the camels.
You begin by taking your seat on the chairs. You have to sit in unison to ensure the load is balanced on the camel. The camels can carry up to 1600 pounds! If one side is lighter than another, they tie sandbags to the light side to even out the weight. This was used when a parent and child were riding one camel and the child’s side was too light. You then hold on tight as your camel stands up. It’s a very unique experience!
They then tie the camels to each other and make a train. Within a few minutes your camel train is being led by a walking guide through gardens and over the rocky terrain of the valley. I’m not sure how long the camel ride lasted exactly, but it was definitely a unique experience. It’s amazing that the camels can walk with their soft looking feet over some of this terrain, but they must be tougher than they look!
After the camel ride, you can go up to an animal viewing area where they have several different types of birds including canaries and cockatiels as well as pigs, young camels, a pony and a pair of donkeys.
The Camel Trek place also features a restaurant if you found your way on your own and wanted to stay for lunch. Of course, they take your picture and you have the opportunity to purchase it as well as other souvenirs.
Although it sounded cheesy to some in our group, I think we all had a great time overall riding the camels and exploring the mountainside. Our guide Charly was excellent and the tour was well-priced at just 30 euros per person. Our son, who is under 4, was free and older children are a reduced rate as well depending on their age.