The Vibrant Goulimine Camel Fair
The fortified town of Goulimine has always been an important center for caravans of camels and weary travelers. It is still a significant camel destination, as it has weekly camel fairs and an annual fair where traders can buy and sell these magnificent desert animals.
The town of Goulimine is located in the southwestern region of Morocco. It is a spectacular sight with its red clay walls and surrounding date palm trees. During the year, the odd traveler and tourist groups pass through the town to either take in the beauty of this breathtaking desert oasis or to trade. But once a year, the town comes alive with the Goulimine Camel Fair, a popular tourist attraction.
The market place and the streets of Goulimine are always teeming with people and it is hard to believe that it could get any busier. But during the Goulimine Camel Fair, people come from far and wide to trade camels and join in the festivities. People from as far as Niger and tribes living deep in the Sahara desert, such as the Fulanis, Tuaregs and Rguibats, all descend on the city. The annual fair usually takes place in June every year and it seems that the gathering, except for the camels that calmly stand and graze and do not look at all perturbed by the ongoing celebrations, thrills everyone.
Between the bellows and groans of the camels and the screams of trading negotiations and excitable merchants, the Goulimine Camel Fair is a sea of color and interesting fragrances. It is not only camel traders that come to the fair, but craftsmen also come to Goulimine to sell their goods. Visitors are often able to purchase unique pieces, such as sculptures, bowls and other hand crafted items.
It would of course be quite a somber affair if there were no music or dancing. The fair gives tourists and visitors the rare opportunity to witness the Guedra dance. The Guedra is a traditional dance that has become legendary in these parts. It is a dance that is performed by a woman who moves and sways to the hypnotic beats of a guedra drum. Onlookers usually chant during the dance, which is believed to be a dance that surrenders the dancer to God to seek His blessings.
The Goulimine Camel Fair is a wonderful tourist attraction and experience. Visitors will also get the chance to talk to the camel traders, who are always eager to share their knowledge about these gentle creatures. Most of them will tell you that camels’ eyes can speak a thousand words, and that if their eyes are bright and attentive they will make wonderful traveling companions.