A person who rides on horse-back is called equestrian.

I came across the following guidelines:

"Camel Ride Guidelines:


We will do all we can to accommodate riders, however, safety is our first priority. Below are general restrictions for safety and compliance with USDA regulations:

  • A single rider may be paired with another single rider in line at the operators discretion.
  • Pregnant woman are not permitted to ride the camels.
  • People with back or hip injuries should not ride the camels.
  • Riders may not choose which camel they ride. Two adults are not permitted to ride together on any of the camels."

Link: https://louisvillezoo.org/plan/rides-attractions/camel-rides/

Here the people who intend to ride on camel-back are referred to as camel riders (or simply riders). We all know that a person who rides on horse-back is called equestrian.

Is there an equivalent word for a person who rides on camel-back?

  • 21
    This is going to be disappointing but equestrian comes to us from the Latin nominative singular eques (horseback rider), and the genus name for horses is equus; similarly the genus name for camels is camelus, so analogously the "knights who ride camels" (camelback riders) would (ostensibly) be cameles, and thus imported into English as camelestrian. The reason equestrian sounds fancy to us is because the quotidian name we have for the specifies is horse, not derived from the Latin, but camelestrian sounds banal because we use the same word for camel as our Roman forebears.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 15, 2016 at 17:34
  • What is a person who rides on camel-back called? Crazy: those things spit! (No, this is not a serious answer...)
    – Ghotir
    Jul 15, 2016 at 19:00
  • 4
    It may be worth noting that when horseback rides are offered in the same sort of context, the people riding would almost certainly NOT be referred to as equestrians, except perhaps as a joke (at their expense).
    – Tin Wizard
    Jul 15, 2016 at 20:17
  • Off topic but isn't there a contradiction between the rules: Rule#1"A single rider may be paired with another single rider" and Rule#2 "Two adults are not permitted to ride together on any of the camels." unless of course Rule #1 applies only when non-adult riders are involved. In which case it is a pretty bad way of phrasing the Rule in the first place. Jul 16, 2016 at 2:58
  • 1
    why is such a word necessary in the first place? What is wrong with camel rider to start with? Jul 16, 2016 at 7:08

4 Answers 4




  1. a camel driver


  1. Camel driver or rider, one who travels by camel.

Oxford English dictionaries

A person who controls or rides a camel.

American Heritage dictionary

A person who drives or rides a camel.

As you can see in the definitions, camel driver is another alternative, although this is more used for people with multiple camels:


camel driver: (person who leads or herds camels)

  • Gee, I would have said "cameleon".
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 18, 2020 at 2:52

Sometimes they are called mahouts. However, this term is usually reserved for those who ride elephants.

My sources are the news media of Oman: http://omanobserver.om/training-for-camel-mahouts/

And the ever-indomitable google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=mahout+google+books&oq=mahout+google+books&aqs=chrome..69i57.1689597j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=%22camel+mahout%22

  • 1
    "Mahout" is the word for the person who controls an elephant. He may not be a rider. Jul 15, 2016 at 18:35
  • Just to supply some evidence that in fact the word is sometimes appropriate: omanobserver.om/training-for-camel-mahouts
    – Adam Wykes
    Jul 15, 2016 at 18:45
  • 1
    It is possible for one word to have different uses in different situations and cultures. I am accustomed to hearing those who ride elephants not as passengers but also as controllers called mahouts.
    – Adam Wykes
    Jul 15, 2016 at 19:17
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    Because it isn't required, because I know my answer is right and will be borne out by independent research, and because I am lazy, slothful, lackadaisical, indolent, and unhurried. Given the amount of time I put into this answer, perhaps I should also add that I appear to be a little bellicose.
    – Adam Wykes
    Jul 15, 2016 at 21:03
  • 5
    With greed and avaricious ambition in my eyes, dreaming of the multitudinous thousands which might come flocking to my post in search of the one true answer to the immortal question of the dromedary's master, I dropped on both links, chuckling and rubbing my hands greedily in anticipation of the ill-gotten gains.
    – Adam Wykes
    Jul 15, 2016 at 23:07

While in Iraq I heard the term Janjaweed used. But I believe that it translates to an arab with a gun riding a mount. thats the closest name ive ever heard for someone riding on camelback.


I have heard the word sandaniswar (सांडणी स्वार), but I'm not sure of its origin and meaning.

  • 1
    Hi, can you please provide some references to your answer? Feb 18, 2020 at 2:31
  • Is this an English word? It appears to be Hindu or some other Indian language.
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 18, 2020 at 8:26

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