The Al Dhafra Festival comes as a continuation of the efforts of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to support heritage preservation projects, promote and develop heritage festivals, enable camel owners to sustain the practice of breeding and caring for camels, and support falconry and purebred Arabian horses contests and other heritage competitions. These efforts have transformed the Emirate of Abu Dhabi into a unique model in the field of heritage festivals organization.
The festival highlights the role of camels in the culture and heritage of the UAE and the GCC countries, through camel mazayna competitions held in Abu Dhabi for purebred breeds in the categories of Asayel, Majahim, Asayel hybrids, and Wadh. The upcoming edition will include Sweihan mazayna, Razeen mazayna, Madinat Zayed mazayna, and the concluding festival: Al Dhafra Festival.
The 17th edition of Al Dhafra Festival is the largest since its inception in 2008, as the organizing committee assigned a total of 361 rounds for all the participating camel breeds: an increase of 35 rounds over the previous edition. Al Dhafra Festival aims to unify the standards, terms and conditions, and intensify efforts to achieve success in the mazayna competitions, expand participation of camel owners in the competitions, preserve the purebred camel breeds, boost camel trade, contribute to the development of domestic and Gulf tourism, spur economic activity, shed light on the region and strengthen the status of Abu Dhabi as the leading destination for camel mazaynas and a regional and global platform for heritage events. It also seeks to highlight and revive the Emirati and Arab heritage through camel beauty competitions, convey UAE's civilizational and humanitarian message to the world, and promote the values of loyalty and belonging
The festival will also feature various accompanying heritage competitions and events, including falconry competition, camel milking competition, Arabian horse race, traditional Arabian saluki race, falcon beauty pageant, Arabian saluki beauty contest, shooting competition, al Naim sheep beauty pageant, date mazayna and packaging competition, sour milk contest, and camel sitting competition, in addition to a traditional market and desert camps, which all reflect the passion of people of UAE and the Gulf region for such features of their heritage.
The festival is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and as part of the camel mazayna season in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and under the organization of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi in cooperation with Emirates Heritage Club.