Camel Polo: A Modern Way to Play Polo


Camel Polo is a fascinating sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years. This unique twist on the classic game of polo involves players riding camels instead of horses, adding a new level of challenge and excitement to the game. In this article, we will explore the history, rules, and equipment of Camel Polo, as well as how to play the game and the various tournaments and events associated with it. Let’s dive in and learn more about this intriguing sport.

What is Camel Polo?

Camel polo is a unique twist on the classic sport of polo, where players ride camels instead of horses. This sport originated in the deserts of the Middle East, specifically in the countries of Iran, India, and Pakistan. 

Camel polo has gained immense popularity in these regions and is now enjoyed by many around the world. This sport requires great skill and balance as camels can be unpredictable and difficult to control.

This sport is played similarly to regular polo where two teams of players try to score points by hitting a ball with a mallet and aiming it in the opponent’s goal. However, instead of horses, players ride camels, which provides a unique challenge as players cannot get too close to each other due to the unpredictable nature of camels.

Unlike horses, camels are not as fast but more sturdy, which makes it easier for players to reach down and pick up the ball with their hands, which is allowed in camel polo. The sport is not only a fun activity but also showcases the agility and strength of both players and camels.

As camels are an important part of the Middle Eastern culture and heritage, camel polo is not only a sport but also a celebration of the region’s traditions. Camel polo provides an opportunity for tourists to experience this cultural and historical aspect of the Middle East.

Overall, camel polo is a sport that combines the thrill of polo with the adventure of riding camels. It highlights the cultural significance of camels and the traditions of the Middle East, making it a one-of-a-kind experience for players and spectators alike.

History of Camel Polo

Camel Polo has a fascinating history that dates back to the early 20th century. The sport was first introduced in India by the British military as a way to entertain troops stationed there. As the story goes, the cavalry ran out of horses to play polo with, so they decided to use camels instead. Thus, Camel Polo was born.

The sport quickly gained popularity among the aristocracy in India and Pakistan, and tournaments were organized in various cities. However, with the partition of India in 1947, many players migrated to other countries and the sport lost its popularity.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Camel Polo, particularly in the Middle East where the sport has a long history. In fact, there are now several international tournaments held in countries such as Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Camel Polo has become not only a popular sport, but also a unique cultural tradition. It gives people a chance to experience the thrill of the game while also learning about the culture and history of the region.

Camels have always been an important part of life in the desert regions of the world, and have been used for various purposes such as transportation, wool, milk, meat, ceremonies, and even fuel and fertilizer. It is fascinating to see how this majestic animal has evolved from being a necessity for survival to a symbol of cultural heritage and entertainment. If you want to learn more about the relationship between camels and culture, you can read our article on “Camel Ceremonies” or “Camels and Desert Tourism” or “The History of Camel Transportation“.

Basic Rules and Equipment

When it comes to Camel Polo, understanding the basic rules and equipment is essential for enjoying and playing the game. In this section, we’ll discuss the players, camel breeds, playing field, game objective, and scoring system. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, these rules and equipment details will help you in mastering the unique sport of Camel Polo. It’s fascinating to note that camels have been domesticated for thousands of years and serve multiple purposes, including providing leather, milk, racing, wool and meat, and even fuel and fertilizer.

Players and Teams

When it comes to Camel Polo, each team typically consists of three players. These players have different roles within the game, and their coordination is essential for winning. Here are the roles of the players in Camel Polo:

  • The Forward: The forward in Camel Polo is responsible for scoring goals for their team. They do this by manipulating their camel to the best position to strike the ball with a mallet.
  • The Defender: The defender is tasked with blocking the opposing team’s forward and defending their own team’s goal. They must be quick and agile to outmaneuver their opponents.
  • The Midfielder: As the name suggests, the midfielder plays in the middle of the field and acts as a link between the forward and the defender. They can play both offensive and defensive roles as required by the game situation.

Each player sits atop a camel, and the camels are often trained specifically for the sport. Players must be skilled at handling both their camel and their mallet, as well as being able to work well with their teammates to achieve success.

In terms of team composition, there are no restrictions based on gender, age, or nationality. Any combination of players is allowed. This inclusivity is one of the things that sets Camel Polo apart from traditional polo.

The teamwork required in Camel Polo makes it a thrilling and unique sport that challenges players and captivates spectators.

Camel Breeds for Polo

Camel Polo is a unique sport that involves the use of camels instead of horses. Just like horse polo, the choice of camel breed is important to ensure the best performance on the field. Here are some common camel breeds used in Camel Polo:

Camel Breed Attributes
Dromedary Camel The most commonly used breed in Camel Polo, known for its speed and agility on the field. Also known as the Arabian camel.
Bactrian Camel This breed has two humps and is known for being stronger and more resilient than the Dromedary camel. However, it is slower on the field.
Hybrid Camels Some Camel Polo players prefer to use hybrid camels, which are crossbreeds between Dromedary and Bactrian camels. These camels have a blend of the best characteristics of both breeds, making them strong and fast.

The Dromedary camel, also known as the Arabian camel, is the most commonly used breed in Camel Polo due to its speed and agility on the field. The Bactrian camel, on the other hand, has two humps and is known for being stronger and more resilient than the Dromedary camel. However, it is slower on the field, which may affect gameplay.

Some players also opt for hybrid camels, which are crossbreeds between Dromedary and Bactrian camels. These camels have a blend of the best characteristics of both breeds, making them strong and fast.

Choosing the right breed of camel is important in Camel Polo, as it can affect gameplay and the overall performance of the team.

Playing Field and Equipment

Camel Polo is typically played on a rectangular field measuring around 100 yards in length and 60 yards in width. The field has specific markings, including a centerline, goal lines, and scoring zones. The field is divided into two equal halves, with each team defending their respective half.

The Equipment Used in Camel Polo

– Mallets: Used to hit the ball. Camel Polo mallets are typically made of bamboo or cane and feature a large rubber or wooden head.

– Ball: The ball used in Camel Polo is made of hard plastic or wood and typically measures between 4-5 inches in diameter.

– Protective Gear: Camel Polo players are required to wear helmets, knee and elbow pads, and gloves to protect themselves from falls and potential collisions.

– Saddle: Each camel is fitted with a specialized saddle that allows the rider to maintain stability and balance while riding and playing.

The Camels

– Dromedary Camels: Commonly known as Arabian camels and are the most commonly used breed for Camel Polo due to their speed, agility, and maneuverability.

– Bactrian Camels: Native to Central Asia, these camels are slower than their Dromedary counterparts and are typically not used in Camel Polo.

The Goalposts and Scoring Zones

The goalposts are positioned at either end of the field and are typically constructed from bamboo or other lightweight materials. The scoring zones are located at either end of the field, directly in front of the goalposts. To score a goal, the ball must be hit between the goalposts and into the scoring zone.

The playing field and equipment used in Camel Polo is similar to traditional polo, but with the added challenge of navigating and playing on camelback.

Game Objective and Duration

The objective of camel polo is fairly similar to traditional polo – to score the most goals. A match usually lasts for two halves, each lasting 20 minutes, with a 5 to 10 minute interval between them. During a match, players must attempt to score goals by hitting the ball with their mallets into the opponent’s goal. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match is declared the winner.

Some key objectives during a game of camel polo include:

  • Controlling the ball: Players must maneuver the ball and keep control of it while on their camel, avoiding the other team.
  • Passing the ball: Teammates must work together to pass the ball to each other in order to move it closer to the opponent’s goal.
  • Marking opponents: Players must also maneuver their camels in order to block opponents from getting to the ball.
  • Protecting their goal: In addition to scoring goals, each team must also work to prevent the other team from scoring.

As with traditional polo, camel polo can be a high-scoring game with quick momentum shifts. It requires not only skill in handling the camel and the mallet, but also strategy and teamwork.

Scoring System

In Camel Polo, the objective is to score goals by hitting the ball through the opposing team’s goalposts. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins. The scoring system is fairly simple, with each goal being worth one point.

Here are some important details about the scoring system:

  • Penalty goals: If a defensive player commits a foul within their own penalty area, the opposing team is awarded a penalty shot. If the shot is successful, the goal counts towards the team’s score.
  • No own goals: Unlike in some other sports, goals cannot be scored by accidentally hitting the ball into your own team’s goalpost. If this happens, a goal is not awarded.
  • Tiebreakers: In the event of a tie score at the end of the game, there are a few different tiebreakers that may be used to determine the winner. These can include extra time, penalty shootouts, or even sudden death rounds.

The scoring system in Camel Polo is straightforward and easy to understand. However, it’s important to note that the game itself can be quite challenging, requiring a great deal of skill and coordination on the part of the players. Whether you’re an experienced polo player or a newcomer to the sport, playing Camel Polo is sure to be a thrilling and memorable experience.

How to Play Camel Polo

How To Play Camel Polo
Now that we know about the history, equipment, and basic rules of Camel Polo, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of actually playing this unique sport. If you’re looking to try your hand (or rather, your mallet) at Camel Polo, follow along as we break down the essential steps and techniques for a successful game. From mounting your camel to passing and scoring, we’ll cover it all in detail. So saddle up and get ready to learn how to play Camel Polo like a pro!

Mounting Your Camel

Before beginning a game of camel polo, it’s important to know how to properly mount your camel. Mounting a camel might seem like a daunting task, but with a little practice, it can be done with ease. Here are the steps you should follow to properly mount your camel:

Step 1: Approach the camel from the left side and stand next to its front shoulder.
Step 2: Place your left foot in the stirrup on the camel’s left side and grasp the saddle horn with your right hand for balance.
Step 3: Push off with your right foot and swing your right leg over the camel’s back so that you are seated in the saddle.
Step 4: Adjust your stirrups to the desired length and hold onto the reins with both hands.

Keep in mind that camels are large animals and their movements may be unpredictable. It’s important to have a firm grip on the saddle horn and to maintain your balance while mounting. With practice, you’ll become more comfortable with the process and be able to mount your camel with ease. Remember, safety always comes first when dealing with animals, so be sure to take it slow and steady.

Handling the Mallet

When it comes to handling the mallet in camel polo, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you master this important skill.

  • Hold the mallet correctly: Grip the mallet with both hands, with your dominant hand on top. Make sure your grip is firm but not too tight, as this can impede your swing.
  • Keep your balance: As you swing the mallet, be sure to maintain your balance on top of your camel. This can take some practice, but it’s essential for a strong and accurate shot.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Since camel polo is played in a crowded field, it’s important to be mindful of other players as you swing your mallet. Avoid swinging too close to other camels or players.
  • Take your time: Don’t rush your swing! Take a moment to aim carefully and adjust your position as needed before striking the ball.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled mallet handler in the exciting world of camel polo.

Passing and Scoring

In Camel Polo, passing and scoring goals are essential skills for each player to master. Here are the steps for passing and scoring in Camel Polo:

1. Passing:

To pass the ball to a teammate, the player must swing the mallet and hit the ball with the aim of sending it in the direction of their teammate. The passing can be done using two methods: forehand and backhand passes.

Forehand passes: Forehand passes are the most common method used in Camel Polo, where the player swings the mallet from the right side of the camel to the left, hitting the ball in the desired direction.

Backhand passes: Backhand passes are less common but are equally effective. In this method, the player swings the mallet from the left side of the camel to the right, hitting the ball behind the camel in the desired direction.

2. Scoring:

The ultimate goal in Camel Polo is to score goals for the team by hitting the ball through the opponent’s goal post. The process for scoring a goal is simple, but it requires precision and skill.

Approach: The player has to approach the goal post with the ball in control of their mallet.

Positioning: The player has to position their camel in such a way that they have a clear shot at the goal post.

Timing: The player has to time the shot precisely and hit the ball with power and accuracy to get it through the opponent’s goal post.

Each goal counts as one point, and the team with the highest points at the end of the game wins.

Mastering passing and scoring techniques takes time and practice, and players need to develop a strong understanding of their teammates’ playing styles to execute successful passes and goals.

Camel Polo Tournaments and Events

As camel polo gains popularity around the world, it’s no surprise that more and more tournaments and events are being organized for enthusiasts to compete and showcase their skills. From local gatherings to international competitions, the camel polo community is growing steadily. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most notable camel polo tournaments and events that players and fans alike won’t want to miss.

International Camel Polo Associations

Camel polo has gained popularity around the world, with various international organizations promoting and organizing tournaments for enthusiasts. Here are a few international associations that support and promote camel polo:

  • International Camel Polo Association (ICPA): The ICPA was founded in 1999 to promote and develop the sport of camel polo globally. They organize tournaments and events, and also offer training and coaching resources for beginners.
  • Arabian Polo League: Based in Dubai, the Arabian Polo League is a platform for enthusiasts to participate in and learn about camel polo. They organize a championship each year, which attracts players from around the world.
  • Australian Camel Polo Association: The Australian Camel Polo Association was established to promote the sport in Australia. They organize tournaments and events, and also offer training and coaching resources for beginners.
  • Polo Federation of India: The Polo Federation of India promotes and regulates traditional polo as well as camel polo in India. They organize various tournaments, including the Desert Camel Polo Cup.

Through such international associations, camel polo enthusiasts can connect with like-minded individuals, participate in tournaments, and help support the development of the sport.

Popular Camel Polo Tournaments

One of the most anticipated events in the camel polo calendar is the Pushkar Camel Fair Cup, held annually in the Indian state of Rajasthan. This tournament attracts players and spectators from all around the world, and is known for its lively atmosphere and enthusiastic crowds.

Another popular camel polo tournament is the Dubai Desert Polo, hosted in the beautiful desert landscape of Dubai. This tournament features some of the top camel polo teams from around the globe, and provides a platform for both seasoned players and up-and-coming talent to showcase their skills.

The Bikaner Camel Festival in India is another renowned event on the camel polo circuit. This two-day festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of the region, and features traditional music, dance, and cuisine alongside the exciting polo matches.

In Australia, the Camel Cup takes center stage, where tourists and locals alike flock to the small town of Alice Springs to watch the unique sport in action. This carnival-like event also includes camel racing, food stalls, and other entertainment options.

Other notable camel polo tournaments include the Marwar Camel Polo Cup in India and the Al Habtoor Polo Resort Cup in Dubai.

Regardless of which tournament you choose to attend, one thing is for sure – camel polo promises to provide a thrilling and unforgettable experience for all who participate or watch.

Celebrities and Royals Who Play Camel Polo

One of the reasons camel polo has gained popularity in recent years is because of the famous individuals who have taken an interest in the sport. From celebrities to royalty, camel polo has attracted a diverse group of players.

Celebrities Who Play Camel Polo

Name Profession Country
Adrien Brody Actor USA
Nacho Figueras Professional Polo Player and Model Argentina
Arjun Rampal Bollywood Actor India
Prince Harry Royal UK
Prince William Royal UK

Among the celebrities who have played camel polo include Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, Argentine professional polo player and model Nacho Figueras, Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal, and even members of the British royal family, Prince Harry and Prince William.

Royals Who Love Camel Polo

Name Title Country
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai UAE
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE UAE
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa King of Bahrain Bahrain
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan Minister of Tolerance in the UAE UAE

Not only do celebrities play camel polo, but members of royal families from around the world also enjoy the sport. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, is an avid camel polo fan and player, as is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain is also known to be a fan of the sport, as is Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Tolerance in the UAE.

The Future of Camel Polo

As camel polo gains more attention and popularity among sports enthusiasts, it raises questions about its future trajectory. The potential for camel polo as a major sport and its impact on tourism and the economy are just a few aspects of its future that leave us wondering. Let’s explore the exciting possibilities and unforeseen challenges that lie ahead for this unique variation of a classic sport.

Camel Polo’s Potential as a Major Sport

Camel Polo has the potential to become a major sport in the world, attracting a huge fan base and generating significant revenue. This unique twist on a classic sport has already gained popularity in various parts of the world and is now gaining more attention on the international level. Here are a few reasons why Camel Polo has the potential to become a major sport:

Reasons Explanation
Uniqueness Camel Polo is a unique sport that attracts fans of both traditional polo and camel racing. Its novelty and exoticness make it appealing to sports enthusiasts, especially those who are looking for something different.
Accessibility Camel Polo is played in various countries and is played by people of all ages and skill levels. Unlike traditional polo, Camel Polo requires less investment in terms of facilities, equipment, and specialized horses, making it more affordable and accessible to a wider audience.
International Appeal Camel Polo is becoming increasingly popular in countries that are well-known for camel racing, including the UAE, Oman, and Qatar. As Camel Polo gains more attention on the international level, it is expected to attract a broader fan base from different regions of the world.
Cultural Significance Camels have great cultural significance in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and South Asia. Camel Polo, therefore, represents a way to celebrate and promote these cultural traditions and help preserve the heritage of these countries.
Media Coverage Camel Polo has already gained attention from a number of media outlets, including national television networks and international sports channels. Social media has helped spread awareness about the sport and its unique features, attracting a younger audience that is keen on viral content and new trends.

Camel Polo’s potential as a major sport is clear, and it is expected to keep growing in popularity as more people become aware of the sport’s unique features and benefits. Whether it is promoting cultural heritage or attracting new fans to the world of sports, Camel Polo has a bright future ahead.

Impact on Tourism and Economy

Camel polo has the potential to leave a significant impact on the tourism and economy of countries where it is played. Here are a few ways in which camel polo can contribute to the growth and development of these sectors:

  • Increased Tourist Footfall: Camel polo tournaments and events can attract both local and international spectators, thereby increasing the number of tourists in the region. This could stimulate the growth of the local tourism industry, potentially leading to the creation of more jobs and increased revenue.
  • Enhancement of Cultural Identity: Camel polo is often associated with the Middle East, and it can be a great way for countries in this region to showcase and celebrate their unique cultural heritage. This can help in building a distinct cultural identity, which can further boost tourism.
  • Revenue Generation: Hosting camel polo tournaments and events can be a major source of revenue for the host country. This is because such events can attract sponsors, advertisers and generate ticket sales. It can also promote the sale of souvenirs and merchandise associated with the tournament or event.
  • Job Creation: Camel polo can also create employment opportunities. This is because the organization of such events requires a lot of personnel, ranging from event coordinators to hospitality staff. Additionally, the increased tourist footfall due to such events could lead to an increase in demand for services such as transport, accommodation, food and beverage outlets, etc.

Camel polo has the potential to make a significant contribution to the economy and the tourism industry of the countries where it is played. As the sport continues to grow, it is likely that it will attract more attention and investment, leading to more opportunities for development and expansion.


In conclusion, it is clear that camel polo is a unique twist on the classic sport of polo. Through its interesting history, basic rules and equipment, gameplay techniques, and international associations, camel polo has established itself as a true sport of kings.

While the sport may seem relatively niche, its potential for growth and expansion is undeniable. Camel polo has the potential to become a major sport in countries with significant camel populations, such as India, Pakistan, and Egypt.

Additionally, the sport can have a significant impact on tourism and the economy in regions where camel polo is played. By attracting international players and spectators, camel polo events can boost tourism in a particular area, thus benefiting the local economy.

Ultimately, camel polo is a fascinating and entertaining sport that combines tradition and innovation. It offers a new way to experience the thrill of polo while celebrating the unique cultural significance of camels in parts of the world. Whether playing or watching, camel polo is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1?

What are some other names for Camel Polo?


Camel Polo is also known as Pacho Polo, Crazy Camel Polo, and Desert Polo.

Question 2?

What is the difference between Camel Polo and Horse Polo?


The main difference between Camel Polo and Horse Polo is that the former uses camels as mounts, while the latter uses horses.

Question 3?

How many players are on each team in Camel Polo?


Each team in Camel Polo consists of three players.

Question 4?

What breeds of camels are suitable for Camel Polo?


The most common breeds of camels used for Camel Polo are Bactrian and Dromedary camels.

Question 5?

Do camels need special training to play Camel Polo?


Yes, camels do require special training to play Camel Polo. They need to be trained to run, stop, and turn quickly, as well as to tolerate loud noises and sudden movements.

Question 6?

What equipment do players need for Camel Polo?


Players require a mallet, a helmet, knee pads, and boots designed for horse riding.

Question 7?

How long is a typical game of Camel Polo?


A game of Camel Polo typically lasts for about 30 minutes.

Question 8?

Are there any Camel Polo tournaments held outside of Asia and the Middle East?


Yes, Camel Polo tournaments are held in other parts of the world, such as Australia and the United Kingdom.

Question 9?

What benefits can a country enjoy from hosting a Camel Polo tournament?


Hosting a Camel Polo tournament can increase tourism, promote local culture, and boost the local economy.

Question 10?

Is Camel Polo expected to become an Olympic sport in the near future?


There are no current plans for Camel Polo to become an Olympic sport, but it continues to gain popularity around the world.