World's largest camel race
A race by 468 camels around a 4km-track in Layoune, in Western Sahara, has, say the organisers, broken a world record with some 100 more entrants than previously recorded - although this is still to be ratified.
It was the high point in a week-long festival celebrating the culture of the Saharawi people.
The entrants included 100 one-humped dromedaries, known as Arabian camels, and 200 Bactrian camels, which have two humps.
Camels need to be in peak physical condition to race.
Younger camels tend to run quicker than their older counterparts, so races are often divided into different categories.
Here, races take place featuring camels either above or below five years old.
The starting line-up
The track was not wide enough for all 468 competitors.
This meant several heats of about 50 camels each were staged over three days.
Camels are known for their stamina and endurance.
They can run over short distances at speeds of about 30km an hour.
Saharawi women wear long flowing robes known as melhfa.
Women here enjoy a greater status within the family than in Morocco to the north.
The festival's organiser, a woman, said female camels run faster than male ones.
"It's natural, women are better than men," Hajbouha Zoubeir added.
Race leaders battle it out as they approach the finish line.
A good lap time around the 'hippocameldrome' is about 10 minutes.
Riders often hit the camel to make it run faster.
However, commentator Najib Tanani said it was unnecessary. "An experienced jockey should have a good understanding with his beast and need not strike it that much," he said.
Despite strong winds that whipped up a sandstorm, hundreds of local Saharawis turned out to cheer their favourite camel.
The grandstands echoed to the ululations of female supporters, and a special enclosure was reserved for local dignitaries.
Western Sahara is the subject of a decades-long dispute between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.
Although under the de facto administrative control of Morocco - which also maintains a strong military presence - the status and sovereignty of Western Sahara remain unresolved.
The winning rider in the fastest race category - featuring female camels under five years old - was 14-year-old Zayn Enour.
A good jockey needs to be light, say commentators, so successful jockeys are often young boys.
Words and pictures by Richard Hamilton. BBC.