Camels in the Canary Islands
You may think that, given the geographical proximity to the North African coasts, that camels may be a native species to the Canary Islands, but they didn’t appear on the islands until the Castilian conquest of the island was carried out throughout the 15th century.
The historical descriptions of the life and customs of the natives of the islands make no reference to these animals in the Canary Islands.
During the 15th century expeditions exploring the island were still done on horseback. Agustín Millares Torres in his book “General History of the Canary Islands” mentions, while talking of the incursions of García Herrera through the island that one of the spoils of defeating the Berberis that occupied the island were, in fact, camels.
Therefore, camels were introduced in the Canary Islands at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura being the first to have them and from them distributed to the rest.
The camel was used mainly to transport people and goods, it was used for many agricultural tasks and has contributed to shaping a unique agricultural landscape of the islands.
Nowadays, aside from providing transportation, camel dairy production is gaining relevance, since camel milk is a product with a high nutritional value rich in insulin.
Gran Canaria has a total of 155 native breed dromedaries, which are used only for excursions with tourists through the Maspalomas Dunes or the Arteara ravine.
These specimens are located in two farms in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The biggest camel farm on the island has over 100 individuals in their care.
These Canarian camels are very easy to feed. They eat half as much as a domestic cow and they are not picky.
How long does it take?
The ride itself takes around 30 minutes, but then exploring the Maspalomas natural reserve may take you all day, especially if you choose to chill out on the beach the rest of the day.
Where can I park?
You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a parking space near the entrance to the park. There is a parking lot for guests of the camel tours, right next to where the tour begins, about 5 minutes away.