As previously described, the Sahara was an enormous geographical barrier in terms of trade between eastern and western Africa. This posed a significant problem for traders, but around the year 750, the answer to the problem was discovered. The answer was the camel. Not only are camels able to carry large amounts of weight and travel extreme distances, but they can also live without water for many days, a necessity when traveling through a desert as large as the Sahara. Camels soon gained the nickname, "Ships of the Desert". To trade products more efficiently, many traders would gather their camels together to make a caravan. Caravans, on average, consisted of 1,000 camels, but could be as large as 12,000.