A TWO DAY CAMEL SAFARI IN RAJASTHAN
THE ULTIMATE TWO DAY CAMEL SAFARI IN THE THAR DESERT, RAJASTHAN INDIA
Riding camels into the desert and sleeping under the stars with nothing but moonlight and sweeping plains of sand dunes around. You can either be at one with nature, enjoy the silence and sense of escape from all that is city, people and noise. Appreciating the sand, fresh air and the camel you rode in on. Or, you can indulge in 'special Indian bhang cookies' to forget about the fact that you are covered from head to toe in sand counting down the hours until you can be clean again.
I chose to do both...and escaping life, even for just a moment, to fall asleep under moonlight in the middle of the desert away from everything and everyone. No noise, no people, no wifi, just living and being for that moment...priceless.
The safari began first thing in the morning in an open back Jeep from Jaisalmer to the edge of the Thar desert. We were then introduced to what would be 'our' camel for the weekend. Their names were Ferrari and Daniel, the two biggest boys. The ride was long, your legs and butt hurt after a while, but quickly forgotten for the fun you are having.
Whilst riding past wild bounding gazelles, shepherds herding their sheep, masses of alpacas, camels and other wild animals. We were joined by a friendly stray dog Julie who often accompanies the safari if she happens to spot the convoy leaving for the night. You meet many people along the way, locals and farmers as well as tiny scattered villages which become less and less as you journey farther into the desert.
We stopped for lunch under a tree while the safari boys cooked for us... we slept. Dozing off on a blanket under a tree in the middle of nowhere, of course we slept. The serenity and silence puts you in a calm relaxed state, it's only a matter of minutes until you're dreaming. After lunch I helped the boys round up the camels. They are left to roam free and are more than happy to do their own thing but thankfully for me being 40°C, they didn't stray far.
It was a further hour or so until we reached where we would be spending the night. We were in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sand and sparse desert bushes. So quiet, so calm. So different to anything we had been around for weeks, it was a pleasant change. The boys made a fire, offered us chai and cooked our dinner while we spent some time exploring the desert. The sunset was a beautiful burnt orange that set slowly over a hazy horizon, well accompanied by a beer and delicious Rajasthani food. The stars weren't as visible as usual as the sky was brighter from the full moon. Alas, they still packed a punch as we sat atop the tall sand dunes and fell asleep.
No noise, no people, no wifi...just us, camels and sand. Escaping the world even just for a moment to simply be and appreciate where we are in the world, and in life.
WORDS: TRACEY HARRIS
PHOTOGRAPHY: KRISTEL CHAPLIN
HOW TO PLAN A CAMEL SAFARI IN RAJASTHAN
Planning a camel safari in the desert is very easy. The safari leaves from the beautiful ancient Fort City ofJaisalmer. Once you have made your way here by either bus, train or plane.
Research an ethically responsible camel safari
Do a bit of research before you go or when you are in Jaisalmer to make sure you choose an ethical company who gives back to the local people and more importantly.. treats their camels well! Our safari treated their camels very well, we rode them no longer than 1.5 hours at a time. They had plenty of rest, food and water… in fact, mine was rather fat. They were able to sleep where they wanted for the night and it was an overall good experience that did not leave a bad taste in our mouths.
Tour Company : Desertboys Camel Safari - Booked through Moustache Hotel
Price: 1800 Rupee - Approx $26 USD for an overnight stay with all inclusions.
If you are less inclined to wait until you get to Jaisalmer to book your tour. You can always book an Overnight camel safari through Viator before you arrive. These may be a bit more expensive and you may not get a real local company vibe with your tour however.
checklist for your camel safari
Sunscreen! Surprisingly summer in the desert is hot.
A scarf to cover your head when on your camel to stop any sunburn.
Ample baby wipes to clean your face.
Warmer clothes for night, it gets surprisingly cold.
Take cash for beer. Local sand tout will pop out of no where or your guides might head off to buy you some.
Go to the Bhang Shop on the way to the desert if they ask you. Bhang is legal in Jaisalmer and even if its not your thing, it is an experience to go to the shop in itself. Read about Bhang Here
It would be a shame to head to Jaisalmer only for the camel safari and not spend anytime in Jaisalmer itself.