Southern Sus
people and their ways

Camels and Dromedaries
     There are no camels in Morocco- only dromedaries. Camels have two humps, and dromedaries only have one. And yes, Joe camel is one big mistake....
    The Moroccan word for this odd animal is "Jmel". Jmels are almost venerated here (though Islam would never allow for an adulation of the sort you find in Hinduism with respect to cows)- venerated for their extraordinary ability to survive on so little resources. Dromaderies can survive in extreme heat by increasing their body temperature to up to 40 degrees Celsius. In the summer time, they can go without drinking for up to a week- and can lose up to 40% of their bodyweight. So, while Moroccans no longer cross deserts in Caravans, drought is a problem in many regions and Jmels are a good animal in times of drought. And, one should not underestimate the power of tourism in the value of jmels- a 10,000 dirham

a dromedary and her baby
investment (approximately 1000 dollars) will get you a perfectly fine tourist-trap: strong, sturdy jmel...

a herd of man-eating jmels....and an adventurous explorer!
    In the South, jmels are the main protagonists of many a fable, story and legend. Principal herding animal for the nomadic tribes of that region, they have penetrated the landscape of culture and imagination- to the point where lonely travelers sing both about the girl back home and their lost jmel.
    While all Moroccan jmels belong to someone, you can find more or less domesticated ones. The wild jmels are those who live in herds and follow their nomadic masters from one feeding space to another. The leader of the pack, and the greatest jmel of all, can get very, very aggressive. So beware of that tall animal with the red scarf around his neck- for that is the symbol for big and mean, and a silent invitation to stay away!