The people of Goulimine hold an annual Camel Festival on top of their weekly Camel Fair (every Saturday). Don’t come expecting a recreation of Lawrence of Arabia or you might be sorely disappointed – the event is more of a tourist attraction than an actual market, but fascinating all the same.
Once known as the gateway to the Sahara, Goulimine is now less of a border town – due mainly to the decline of the camel as a mode of transport. In an era when the 4X4 truck is a faster option (and, unlike the camel, doesn’t growl or spit constantly), the traditional art of camel trading is now fading away.
The festival also offers the opportunity to witness the ancient dance ritual known as the Guedra, which is associated with Goulimine. The dance is performed by a woman to the beat of a drum made of a kitchen pot (guedra) and the chanting and clapping of onlookers. The dance often induces a hypnotic state and is carried out to serve as a blessing or to submit oneself to God.