Photo Feature: Camel Wrestling in Didim

Photo Feature: Camel Wrestling in Didim

Within minutes of arriving at Didim’s inaugural camel wrestling festival the fists started flying. Anyone familiar with wrestling will know that a wrestler may not hit their opponent with a closed fist and camels don’t have fists anyway.

Extra knees, foul tempers, advanced mathematics*: yes. Fists: no.

We had only just arrived and were still some distance away from the arena so I didn’t see what had sent the tempers briefly soaring into a middle-aged entanglement of knitwear.

The camel wrestling itself is more sedate – until one wins and then the fun really starts.

Names of politicians are supposedly given to camels but I preferred to channel Terry Pratchett to pair up You Bastard vs Evil-Smelling-Bugger or Nasty-Vicious-Brute against Brian.

Motivated by nearby females the two randy, frothing, male beasties try to get each other in a head lock or push, butt and shove each other with their neck muscles and skulls.

They do this until the loser runs away, often through the gates and towards the crowd, who themselves scatter towards the Englishman with his girlfriend clinging to him, preventing the capture of the panic with a photograph.

I have wanted to witness camel wrestling for some time but always remembered this at the wrong time of year. We had intended to go to Bafa the following week until learning our home town was for the first time holding its own deve güreşi festival.

We had entered via the car park after a passing friend picked us up in his car. Putting my hand to my heart I politely declined to buy lottery tickets from a passing vendor: only later when we got near the pedestrian entrance and noticed all the ticket stubs on the floor did it occur that we had declined to buy entrance tickets.

After a winter at my desk this made me feel like a cheap-ass backpacker again, even if we were only a mile or two from home. Queuing up for a free sandwich at a stall for the police reinforced the feeling even if it was noticed we weren’t Turkish police officers so would we kindly bugger off.

More information on camel wrestling, including dates can be found at

* according to Terry Pratchett.

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

Didim Camel Wrestling Festival

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. I don’t know many jokes but for some reason have been in long standing possession of two about camels. Here’s the first:

    A recruit was posted to a desert outpost of the French Foreign Legion. After a month, he felt a bit antsy. He asked the sergeant, “What do you guys do for sex here?’

    The sergeant replied, “See the hill up there? And the flock of camels we keep there? Well, every first day of the month, the captain will line us up here and we race up the hill and have our way with the camels.”

    “Urgg, that’s sick. I’ll go without.” But by the end of the month, the recruit really couldn’t stand it any more and on the first day of the next month, he lined up with the rest of the company. Off went the starting signal and the men sprinted up the hill. Half way up the hill, the recruit turned around and asked the guy running next to him, “Exactly (puff, puff) how many camels we (puff puff) have up there?”

    “Oh, around (pant pant) 400”, was the reply.

    “And how many (puff, pant) of us are there?”

    “200 (puff, pant)”

    “Now hold on a darn minute (pant, pant, pant), if there are more camels than us, why are we running like mad?”

    “Yeah, (pant, puff) but who wants the ugly ones?”

  2. And the second:

    A young lieutenant, fresh out of officer training school of the French Foreign Legion was posted to a desert outpost. After a few weeks, he felt the urge and asked the sergeant, “Hey Sarge, what do you men do for sex around here?”

    The Sergeant replied, “Well Sir, we use the camels…”

    “No, no, no, I don’t want to hear about it. It’s disgusting”, the Officer cut the Sergeant off.

    But after a further few weeks, he couldn’t stand it anymore and called the Sergeant to his tent. “Alright Sarge, bring in the prettiest camel you’ve got.”

    The Sergeant duly brought a camel into the Officer’s tent, and the Officer proceeded to climb on the camel and did his thing. After he has finished, he noticed that the sergeant was still in the tent. Feeling rather embarassed with his act, he said sheepishly, “You know Sarge, I am new to this thing. I hope I made use of the camel correctly.”

    The sergeant replied, “Well Sir, actually we use the camels to take us to the town just over the hill to find ourselves the finest whores in the area.”

  3. liam murray

    hahaaa. i am tickled, finally i have something to replace the old irish builder and the whorehouse saga…

  4. Suzy

    Ha! What a funny event. I’m surprised the camels can even “wrestle” with all of that stuff on their backs!

  5. liam murray

    Ah here we go…. a couple of Irish buiders are fixing up a road outside a brothel when they see a Jewish Rabbi enter. One says to the other “B’Jesus would you look at that – men of the cloth going into a place like that. What’s the world coming to?”

    Time goes on and out comes the Rabbi onlt for a Protestant Vicar to be seen going in. The builder says to the other again, “Christ Almighty would you look at that – what a terrible sight it is to see holy men in such a place.”

    Time goes on and out comes to Vicar. A while later the builders notice a Catholic Priest walk up and enter the builer. The builder turns to the other and say “Dear Lord… One of the poor girls must be ill”

    Stick that in your christmas cracker. Anyway about these camels… If it’s for the girls then does the winner get the said girls at the end? p.s. is that also part of the show? :-/

    1. He he, I like that. I believe as part of some of these festivals there is a beauty pagent. Who knows, perhaps away from the public, maybe the champions are paired up with the lookers? This would go some way to explaining where baby camels come from.

  6. I’ve never heard of camel wrestling before but that certainly looks interesting! Lovely blog, guys! Thanks for connecting with us on Twitter! Keep up the great work and travel safe!

    1. Shane

      Camel wrestling is certainly fun. I hope it returns to our town again next year. Though we are rubbish at it ourselves, it’s good to see people are still hitching. Though I ultimately didn’t travel this way, Ken Welsh’s Hitchhikers Guide to Europe was one of the first books to inspire me to believe long term travel was feasible on a small budget.

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