Camels are sometimes called "ships of the desert" because of their importance in travel and trade in desert environments. Camel's unique adaptations made them ideal animals for carrying goods and people across long distances, similar to how ships allow people to travel across oceans.
Prior to the invention of trucks and airplanes, desert peoples relied on camels for transportation because other large animals like horses and cattle could not withstand the harsh environment. Camels are able to travel long distances with very little food or water, even when carrying people or freight. This was especially important when crossing large, empty expanses of desert in which people were unable to resupply. Camels were used as "ships of the desert" in Africa and Asia and were imported to Australia to work in the harsh Outback environment.