A message from Outback Camel Company owner Andrew Harper
Since 1976 (long before I became involved with camels) the Outback Camel Company has been offering people the opportunity to join 'commercial treks & expeditions' and explore our great deserts.
I purchased the business from pioneering outback legend Rex Ellis in 2000, and since then have explored all of this country’s great deserts – the Gibson, Great Victoria, Little Sandy, Great Sandy, Simpson. We have concentrated on walking in the larger more remote deserts, and hence no longer walk in the Sturt Stoney or Strzelecki Deserts.
In 2007 I founded Australian Desert Expeditions (ADE), a Registered Environmental Organisation that conducts scientific and ecological surveys across the remote sections of these great landscapes. Apart from the tremendous scientific value of documenting these remote areas, I could also see that trekkers were looking for a more enriched educational experience as they walked alongside our camels.
As we made the transition from the purely commercial OCC treks to the scientific based ADE surveys, I continued to offer the occasional OCC trek in the yearly itinerary until 2014 when we concluded our trekking season with the Munga-Thirri Expedition in the south-eastern Simpson Desert.
Since 2015, we (my camels, cameleers, and myself) have been working exclusively for ADE on their scientific & ecological surveys, and many hundreds of people joined the ADE surveys as trekkers, assisting the scientists with their field work, whilst still experiencing the same timeless camel trekking experience that we have been offering since 1976.
Covid 19, and in particular the brutal border closures between Australian states, has hit our business very hard. We were not able to operate at all in 2020, and in 2021 we were part way through our season working on the Australian Desert Expeditions surveys, when all the borders closed once again. Consequently, only 8 of the scheduled 15 trips were completed. Make no mistake, it was a logistical disaster...
We also had the sad loss of 4 of our best camels in 2021, which has impacted our camel numbers.
So Trekking Season 2022 is a case of treading carefully and rebuilding the business.
Consequently, ADE will not be conducting any surveys, whilst we here at Outback Camel Company rebuild the camel herd, and Get Back Out There!
So what’s on offer for 2022?
We will have a range of treks departing between early May and mid September, all in the Simpson Desert in the Northern Territory, and all departing from Alice Springs.
In 2018 we introduced Bare Sole - Walking with Mindfulness, and we are considering offering this in 2022.
Bare Sole was designed to facilitate mindful walking, intending to inspire a deepening contemplation of who you are and your place in the world around you. To open your senses, awareness of yourself, your environment and your fellow travelling companions - both two & four legged!
Those attributes can be found in any of our treks, as I firmly believe that it's simply a matter of people getting outside and getting active. Pretty simple really.
Please remember that OCC does not operate camel riding safaris - all the treks are walking experiences in remote areas assisted by our team of packcamels. You could describe these treks as the ultimate desert walking experience, as we are able to access areas that no one else visits.
On a trek your active participation is essential and you will be asked to contribute to the operation of your trek or expedition, assisting our cameleers with the daily tasks. The comprehensive pre-departure information will help to ensure that you are well prepared for the enriching experience of working with the camels. Duties would include shepherding them in the mornings & evenings whilst they feed and, under the supervision of the cameleers, helping to saddle the camels and load the equipment. Your cameleers cook all the meals on the campfire but help from aspiring chefs is always welcome!
The spirit of the day is determined by the pace of travel of the camels, geographical features & obstacles. So it is important to be prepared to meet the desert on its own terms and adjust to 'desert time'.
Don't be concerned if you have never trekked with camels before. We have many first timers on our trips who know next to nothing about camels when their trek or expedition departs, but by the end of the trip are totally enamoured by the experience of working with, and walking alongside, these incredible animals.
We will be operating a range of short treks between May & September 2022
Details to be released on November 30th 2021
Join our mail list to receive notification!
Join us on a Great Desert Walk in 2022