Origin of the breed
The camel (Camelus dromedarius) was domesticated about 3000 years ago in the Middle East and has spread throughout the arid zone of North and Eastern Africa. Camels were introduced at a later stage into Southern Africa by which time the police used them for patrolling in Namibia , Botswana and South Africa. The camel is known as the ship of the desert but in countries such as Kenya a more apt title is “desert dairy” as the nutritional value is of great importance to the local populations. Until recently, camels have been neglected with numbers declining from 3000 in the 1950’s to only 400+ in 1999. Since 1999 camels have been regarded as a landrace breed.
The one-humped camel or dromedary in South Africa has well-developed hindquarters, large hump, rigid body, relatively long neck and heavy bones and muscles.
- Great ability to survive on poor quality desert pastures.
- Multi-purpose - utilized as pack, draft and riding animals. An adult bull can tolerate heavy loads of up to 380kg.
- The average female produces 5-10 times as much milk per lactation as a cow and can produce up to a maximum of 21 litres of milk a day.
- Most efficient producer of meat in arid and drier semi-arid zones.
- Camels can browse 50km a day and need water on average every 5 days.
- Camel hides weigh between 8.5 to 11.8% of live weight, are thicker than cow hide and can be split into three to four layers.
- Wool yield of dromedaries is on average 3.5kg and is between 31-35u. Wool is mainly used for making tents, carpets and blankets in eastern countries.
Normal production environment
Arid, semi-arid to subtropical areas
Breed and performance information
|Mature weight||400 - 1000 kg||360 - 800 kg|
Average daily gain: 1.1kg
Average inter calving period: 18-22 months
Age at first calving: 5-8 years