An image taken on Operation TANGHAM.

🐪 What does camel taste like? Series 1 Episode 3 | Fancy a Brew?

From camels to Sunday roasts to army handbags: find out more about life in Somalia on Operation TANGHAM with our three guests currently deployed to the region

🎙 Enjoyed that episode?

Welcome to a behind the scenes look at our latest episode of Fancy a Brew? Find out more from our three guests as Captain Alex Bradford, Captain Kit Lewis and Captain Alex Park discuss life in Somalia.

If you haven’t listened already, be sure to check out our latest episode:👇

Somalia’s vast stretches of coastline along the Horn of Africa are infamous for stories of piracy and illegal activity, but less known is the country’s internal struggle with a lingering insurgency borne from civil war and extremist influence.

Since 2017, the UK Armed Forces have been playing an active role in reinstating security and stability in Somalia by building skills within the Somali National Army (SNA).

An image taken from Operation TANGHAM.
The Armed Forces have been playing an active role in Somalia since 2017.

Take a look at some highlights from our latest episode:👇

What is Somalia like?

Alex Park: “So there are two main rivers that run through Somalia, the Juba and the Scebeli. We flew over the Scebeli and at that time it was November 2020, so in the rainy season. The Scebeli is notorious for flooding and it was just glistening across the whole of the landscape.

“Another thing I noticed which I think most listeners will quite find interesting and something I didn’t expect: the amount of camels that there are in Somalia, just herds and herds of them as far as you can see as you’re coming in to land, I couldn’t believe that.

“It’s a really beautiful country. It’s such a shame that there’s so much conflict here because Somalia would be a top travel destination any other time. It has huge beaches that stretch as far as you can see up the whole coast, with amazing sand and then inside it’s much greener than I thought it would be with lovely trees everywhere.”

— Captain Kit Lewis

An image of a member of the Somali National Army (SNA).
The UK Armed Forces have been helping to build and develop skills within the Somali National Army (SNA).

What does camel taste like?

Kit Lewis: “I had camel before when I was in Oman on an army training exercise and the Omanis cooked a whole camel for the headquarters who were there. It’s a pretty weird dish, sort of like a lighter version of beef.

“I would order it again. They had it soaked in some pretty extreme sauces, and also it was cooked on this big open pit so it mostly tasted of charcoal which I thought was delicious. From a restaurant I’m sure you could turn it into an amazing dish. You should definitely go for camel.

What food are you missing the most?

Alex Bradford: “It’s the fruit and vegetables and just setting yourself up a salad, because when any chef is catering for hundreds of people, you get a lot of stews and big pot dishes.

Kit Lewis: “I would say a cherry tomato. Weird as that sounds I’ve got a very powerful craving for cherry tomatoes. The chef here does make a salad, but it’s not quite as crisp as what you’d get straight out of the shop.

“One of the Italian chefs here does make pizzas every now and again which are spectacular so I really can’t complain, but something fresh and being able to decide what you eat would be a great novelty for sure.

In a train-the-trainer environment, the British are enabling the Somalians to train their future soldiers with the skills they are learning.

What has been your funniest moment on deployment?

“Alex Bradford: We were delivering training on a course for members of the Somali National Army (SNA), but you’re making up a fictional scenario, and you can throw more enemy serials in there or make it more challenging.

“The guys have never experienced that kind of training before, but they very quickly picked up that they could make it easier or harder by which serials they actually engaged with, and one of them completely made up his own serial that there were IEDs that were bananas that were being planted along the side of the road.

“I just thought the translation had gone wrong and it took maybe 10 or 15 minutes before the Somali Captain that was running the ops room broke it to me that I’d been completely had, and they had run me for the last 10 minutes believing that there were banana IEDs on the roads and that they were planning an operation to be able to clear the route.”

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here 👇

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