Visual Narrative #020 – Lanzarote II – Camels

VN #020: Lanzarote II
Posted April 22, 2024


Lanzarote II – Arts, Culture & Tourism

 Camels in Lanzarote:

Today’s tourists to Lanzarote think of camels as an opportunity to take a camel ride in Timanfaya Volcanic Park, however, one-hump camels were once an indispensable part of Lanzarote history. They were first brought here in the 1400’s. Because of their large stomachs and incredible buoyancy, they were actually brought to Lanzarote floating and towed by boats from Africa.

In early times, over 4000 camels transported food produce throughout the island. They also transported rocks, building supplies and water for vines, as well as water and camel milk to homes all over the island. When they died, their hair and skins were used for making cloths.

I couldn’t believe it when over 100 camels rode over a volcanic ridge beautifully side-lit; perfect for a guy with a 400mm lens!

This scene took me back in time; it made me think of what it might have looked like at ancient oasis trading stations along the many Silk roads across Asia.

A camel guide sits the camels down so that tourists can easily climb aboard.

A camel guide takes two camels for a walk amidst beautifully hued shapes of lava.

With the coming of vehicles and tractors, approximately 400 camels remain. Walking each day on a rotation basis, they support 40 families on the island who treat them as family. These ‘English Chairs’ are now for tourists.

When only one person rides on a camel, the other side is weighted down for balance. Rita leads the way!

As we see, the camel has gone from being an indispensable part of Lanzarote’s development to a tourist attraction, however, they remain a much loved and respected part of Lanzarote’s history.


More Visual Narratives about various aspects of Lanzarote arts and culture are being posted during the next three weeks. Check them out, or subscribe.



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