National Geographic

Trail Notes: Camel Packing

Warenzo, Ethiopia, 11°18'11'' N, 40°31'36'' E
The Afar method of camel packing is a mystery. No two villages employ the same cargo rigs. The rope work appears confused, almost random. Why the slip-knot hasn’t made it into the toolkit of these mariners of the desert is baffling. Maybe having fingers and teeth strong enough to undo granny knots makes it pointless.

Photograph by Paul Salopek

There are 5 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. bear
    January 30, 2013

    can you add these unique knots to the boy scout knot book

  2. Jim Kasper
    December 30, 2013


    Perhaps the rope-work is random.

    Or maybe your theory about strong digits and canines has some validity.


  3. Sally Ann Wyeth Barr
    February 1, 2014

    So very thrilled I opened my NG mag I’d missed from last year.

  4. Mike Marcus
    November 30, 2014

    Just started this journey. Fascinated as to why one would do this (other than out of boredom). Hope all wars end by the time you finish and peace on earth prevails.

  5. Aman Singh
    December 1, 2014

    Paul our school is inspired by you and making a project about your journey.Best Of Luck!

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