Camel Water Challenge- 2007
th12 July 2007
Version 2.2c Date 06/07/2007 Authors A Gray Dr Lucy Kirk
Camel Water Challenge- 2007!
Information Given to All Participants
From here to…….
Will you survive one of the last epic adventures of all time? Once a year the great Camel Water Challenge
takes place in the great desert of Simbudu, North Africa. This is an 8 day journey of endurance through one
of the driest and hottest regions of the world. Your stamina, planning and knowledge of conserving water will
be tested to the limit when trekking with only a camel, a minimum supply of water and a few pieces of
essential equipment. You will be part of a team and therefore your right moves will be essential to the team‟s
success. Your mistakes could prove disastrous.
The aim of this workshop is to raise key issues regarding the conservation of water through a scenario. The information contained in this workshop has been researched and is accurate at the time of publication.
One of you will have to choose to take the camel on the 8 day trip; the other members of the team will provide
support, advice and relay critical information to the camel rider. Your facilitator will have two 250ml bottles of
water which will represent the two 25 litre containers of water that you have for your journey. When this water
is used up or lost the corresponding amount of water will be poured out of the bottles to show you how you
are fairing. If you are able to acquire any water – this will be added. At the end of the 8 day journey your total
amount of water will be shown. The team with the most water will win the Great Camel Water Challenge
You will have 960km to travel in 8 days. This is not a race – it is to see who can survive the journey and who
has the most water at the end of it. The camel can travel at an approximate speed of 16km per hour with
ease over flat distances for up to 80km per day. Your rider on the other hand requires at least 4.5litres of
drinking water per day in this hot climate.
Your team will be given all of the information up to Day 6 to start with. Members of the team will be given
different days of the journey to plan. You will have the opportunity to discuss these once you have each read
through your particular day. You will have to base your plans on this information. Signal to your facilitator
when you have completed each day to find out how much water you have. (Hint – you may wish to estimate
your plans for the entire journey and adjust your plans accordingly).
During the journey you may be given additional information as events unfold. You will need to re-adjust your
Now to begin:-
1. Choose your camel rider
2. Plan your journey
3. Research your options
4. Choose a Team Name
Equipment & Supplies
The following is an inventory of the equipment & supplies that you will be allowed on your trip:-
Two long sleeved cotton shirts
Two pairs of long cotton trousers
A cotton hat
Two pairs of cotton underwear
Two pairs of long cotton socks
A cotton shawl
A pair of desert boots
A two way radio
A plastic sheet 2m x2m
3 litre tin cooking pot and lid
1 litre tin water bottle (empty)
1 tin bowl
2 meters of rubber hose
1 box of matches
1 paraffin stove
1 litre of paraffin
2 X 25 litre plastic water containers (can be sealed)
5 kg raisins
5 kg rice
You are given 2 x 25 litre containers of fresh water, your camel has drunk 50 litres of water, you have loaded
up all of your equipment and are busy talking to your team in preparation for the start day. Make sure that
you have loaded up your camel to balance the weight of its load evenly on it!
Key Camel Facts
Camels can close their nostrils to keep out sand and they have bushy eyebrows and two rows of long eyelashes to protect their eyes. Camels have a mucus structure in their nose that is 100 times larger than that of humans. With its huge and curved nose mucus, camels can hold 66% of the moisture in the air. Large, tough lips enable them to pick at dry and thorny desert vegetation. Big, thick footpads help them navigate the rough rocky terrain and shifting desert sands.
Camels do not pant, and they perspire very little. Humans start to sweat when the outside temperature rises above the normal body temperature of 37?C, but the camel has a unique body thermostat. It can raise its body temperature tolerance level as much as 6?C before perspiring, thereby conserving body fluids and avoiding unnecessary water loss. Camels can change their body temperature to as low as 34?C and as high as 41?C. No other mammal can do this. Because the camel‟s body temperature is often lower than air
temperature, a group of resting camels will even avoid excessive heat by pressing against each other.
Salt is very important for camels and they need eight times as much salt as cattle and sheep do. A camel needs 1kg of salt a week.
Camels produce small amounts of urine which is very (concentrated) thick to conserve water and their faeces are also dry.
Camels can flourish on the coarsest of sparse vegetation and feed on thorny plants, the leaves and twigs of shrubs, and dried grasses that other animals would refuse, though camels are not averse to better food if available. When the feeding is good, they accumulate in their humps stores of fat, which, when conditions are adverse, they are able to draw upon not only for sustenance but also for the manufacture of water by the oxidation of the fat. They are thus able to fast and go without drinking for several days; they have been known to go without water for 17 days and survive. They lose their body water slowly and can lose up to 25 percent of their weight by dehydration without ill effects. They can then regain their lost weight in a few minutes by drinking as much as 100 litres of water.
The amount of water a camel drinks varies with the time of year and with the weather. Camels need less water in winter when the weather is cool and the plants they eat contain more moisture than in the summer. Camels that graze in the Sahara can go all winter without water and may refuse to drink if water is offered to them. But in very hot weather, a large, thirsty camel can drink 200 litres of water a day.
The camel can survive without food and water for eight days at a temperature of 50?C. In this period, it
loses 22% of its total body weight. While a man will be near death if he loses body water equivalent to about 12% of his body weight, a lean camel can survive losing body water equivalent to 40% of its body weight.
Camels are capable of going for up to a week at a time without actually drinking, and without this becoming a health concern. Camels can also drink salty and brackish water which other animals would not be able to drink.
Days 1- 6 to be given The Camel Rider + (Others)
out to groups
representing each day
You set out from Gombo village heading due East, and follow the blue route for 100 km to Omega point for
your first stop. There is no shelter and water at this point.
The daylight temperature is 50? C (122? F), and nighttime temperature 0? C (32? F). This is because the air is
very dry (contains little moisture). There is no cloud cover during this 24 hour period.
Your base camp is monitoring your sweat levels – today they have been 6 litres, you are not yet acclimatized
to the heat. The first night you settle down and eat 300g rice and 200g of raisins.
What time do you arrive at your destination?
Suggest ways of replenishing your net water loss today of 6 litres of water.
What advice has your team given you during the day?
How much water have you used for cooking?
Tips for the facilitator