Welcome to Al Shahaniya
Camel races (known as the ‘sport of sheikhs’) can be seen from a purpose-built stadium, and they involve remote-controlled robot jockeys (!) that weigh 25kg. If you have a car – a 4WD is not necessary – it’s fun to drive along the 8km racetrack during the race. It can be quite an event, as female camels can maintain a speed of 40km/h for an entire hour and are often better at keeping in their lane than motorists. Check the English-language newspapers for race times or contact a tour company, most of which organise trips to the races during the season (November to April). Most races take place on Friday, but call 44 872 028 to confirm.
It’s easy to spot the stadium, as long before it comes into view the approach is marked by 5km of stables, exercise areas, lodgings for the trainers and breeders, and all the other facilities required of a multimillion-dollar sport, not to mention a national passion befitting Qatar’s Bedouin origins. The season culminates in the prestigious Emir's GCC Camel Race.