Muslims often slaughter sheep at the annual Eid al-Adha “feast of the sacrifice” which falls tomorrow, but some Egyptians are thinking bigger.
Wealthier customers are flocking to the Birqash market, northwest of Cairo, where traders from across east Africa bring animals for auction - not sheep, but camels.
“This camel market is the biggest in the world ... it is the only one that still operates by word of honour, without paper,” said camel trader Faraj al-Gammal, 50.
“Any businessman who comes from abroad, bringing in ... camels, knows he is safe and secure here.”
Buyers inspect camels that limp around on three hoofs, the fourth tied at the knee to restrict their movement.
Many are sold at prices ranging from 15,000 Egyptian pounds ($840) to 40,000 pounds, while some fetch as much as 65,000. Sheep sell for as little as 3,000 pounds.
One trader pointed out that camels were reared more naturally than cattle or sheep.
“Cattle get hormone injections to increase their weight, but camels don’t,” said Azmi Mansour.