Camel Safari in Jaisalmer: The Ultimate Checklist

The main reason people go to Jaisalmer, an ancient fort city, is to ride a camel through the rolling sand dunes of the Thar Desert. Some will tell you this is “too touristy”, but not me! I loved every bit of it. Although, I do hate to think that someone would come all the way to Jaisalmer and only do the safari. Jaisalmer has much more to offer, so give yourself adequate time.

There are loads of companies offering safaris and every hotel can hook you up with a guide. You can go as low as 500 for an overnight trip, or splurge like I did.

I went with Royal Hotel for 1500 rupees through the Khurri dunes. This was massively over my budget, but I had met a friend who had pre-booked with them and couldn’t change it.

FYI do not pre-book anything in India, especially tours. They can be negotiated. Some of the higher luxury options are to “glamp” in a ready made luxury tent.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

jaisalmer camel safari tips

Most tour itineraries look like this: ride to middle of desert, watch sunset, go to a set up shack for dinner, ride back to a nice high dune for bed time on a cot, wake up for sunset, and ride back.

Riding a camel is mainly easy, but accidents can happen, just read this story from Liz over at Young Adventuress, who seriously injured herself. I have compiled an ultimate checklist for you to make sure you are readily prepared for your safari.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

Camel Safari in Jaisalmer: The Ultimate Checklist

  • Research the companies and dunes. Know which dunes interest you, and which like overrun. Khurri are meant to be less full, and we did only see one other group while out. I would highly recommend it. I’m told the Sam Sand dunes were more crowded, but don’t know from experience.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • Before agreeing, make sure you know what is included. How many hours will you walk into the desert before stopping? Is dinner included? We went 2.5 hours. You don’t need to go further. Your bum will hurt. The scenery won’t change. Will you each get your own camel? Sharing would be boring, so make sure you have your own adorable clumsy animal to ride.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • Don’t drink a bhang lassi before you ride a camel or you may come down with “Pakistani Paranoia” a medical term that doesn’t exist, but should when your guide has “that’s Pakistan” and the U.S. State Department has just sent an e-mail saying citizens should stay clear for recent threats… Lots of tourists drink bhang before so they can have “a magic carpet ride”, just make sure they don’t make it too strong and ruin your safari.
  • Wear sunscreen and take sunglasses.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • You can buy beer from the sand-tout! He will come out of nowhere with cold beverages at indecent prices. Bring some extra cash for that, but beware things “go missing” at night in the desert.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • While on your camel, you’ll want a silky scarf to cover your head. The sun beats down on you like a hammer. Because you’re in India, your body will be mostly covered, so make sure you wear something breezy. When I was there it was well over 100 degrees during the day.
  • Wear sandals but take socks for night. Your guides will lay out cots, blankets, and pillows for you (make sure this is agreed upon prior) and it gets very cold at night. If you have to walk to pee or watch the sunrise you won’t want to barefoot. Desert sands catch the cool breeze from the Himalayas at night, and can’t hold onto the sun’s daily heat.  There are also big beetles and scorpions in the sand.

jaisalmer camel safari tips jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • Along that line, take warm clothes. It will shock you how chilly it gets.
  • Dinner was provided for our group at a nearby village, as is it for most. Make sure your guides agree to feed you, and even then take a snack if you wish. We even got a fire and dance show, but I have to say if that’s why this tour cost an extra 1,000 rupees, umm… it wasn’t necessary.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • I took wet wipes. You won’t be able to shower after your safari. You’ll be sweaty with a fine layer of sand stuck to you. Before bed, I washed up a little bit and I even brought my toothbrush and brushed with bottled water.
  • Your guide might tell you it’s so fun to gallop on the camel. My guide called “Halia”, my camels name in these high-pitched noises, and Halia was off on a nice jog. Have you ever seen a camel run? It’s like their legs just have no joints and flop around. It is bumpy. Camels are taller than you might imagine (10 feet!) and falling off while one’s running wouldn’t be ideal. On top of that, it could give you a “saddle sore”. Why does no one warn you of this before a camel ride? I had a sore coccyx for a week!

jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • Get lots of photos! Camels are super cute. I didn’t see one “spit” like they warn. Mine was extra lovable even though she got a little out of hand a couple times. They are such cool animals!

jaisalmer camel safari tips

jaisalmer camel safari tips

  • Relax and take in the AMAZING sunset and sunrise. I’ve traveled a fair amount and I have NEVER seen the day change like this. It’s really something, and if you’re considering doing the safari, it’s worth it just to see the red sunrise and sunset over the barren sand dunes. Don’t fall asleep too quickly, because the sky is almost always clear and stargazing is a must.

jaisalmer camel safari tips

jaisalmer camel safari tips

jaisalmer camel safari tips

jaisalmer camel safari tips

If I could do it again:

I would not choose somewhere that has you ride to a village to eat. I would go with a guide that cooks over an open fire. It sounds so much more badass and probably would taste better than what I had!

 

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34 responses to “Camel Safari in Jaisalmer: The Ultimate Checklist”

  1. Shalu Sharma says:

    Excellent set of pictures again. Looks like the camel safari was fun. It does get chilly in the night.

  2. Rick says:

    You look great on a camel.
    I can see you doing your shopping in Goa ridding that camel. Maybe all the traffic would give you right-of-way.

  3. Rachel says:

    That looks so much fun! How do you manage to look so ladylike on a big camel?!
    Rachel recently posted…Peace, from Ayutthya

  4. Mridula says:

    Absolutely wonderful, I would love to stay under the stars once. And your tips are super.
    Mridula recently posted…Tracking a Tiger

  5. Aaaah looks so amazing! I would be a bit freaked out by the scorpions in the sand though, and snakes! Fears worth facing though I’m sure for an incredible experience!
    Christie @ The Butterfly Editions recently posted…How to spend an Afternoon in Arrowtown, New Zealand

  6. Rebekah says:

    That looks amazing. When I was young I lived in Zambia and did a short safari on a elephant. Amazing but not comfortable. I can’t believe how beautiful India looks in your pictures
    Rebekah recently posted…10 random things about life in China

  7. […] needed to know that the Taj Mahal is in Agra, the Camels are in Rajasthan, I could bathe elephants in Kerala, and Volunteer at Mother Theresa’s in Calcutta. Know what’s […]

  8. […] NOT by any means drink one before your camel safari. This is just a no-brainer… right? Possible complications include: almost slipping off your […]

  9. […] LOVE Jaisalmer, plus some Jaisalmer travel tips! I didn’t only love this desert town for the famous camel safari. It’s also got a still inhabited fort with massive imposing walls and surrounding mazes of […]

  10. yara Coelho says:

    There’s something so exotic about camels and deserts, probably the little bit of my Bedouin DNA pumping whenever i see photos like yours… How do they treat the animals out there?

    • Rachel Jones says:

      You are part Bedouin- now that is exotic!! how cool :) It seems as though they treat them fine but I know nothing of camels… they never hit them or anything. It was very hot but I think camels like that lol. I don’t think they are as kind as the elephants in the south of INdia.

  11. Crischo says:

    Hey, these are great photos of Jaisalmer. I believe that this was a funny and interesting tour. Would like to do the same one day.

  12. Oh I feel your pain re the camel sore. I had one too when I went on a camel safari in Morocco. As a nurse what treatment do you suggest then? :-)
    tammyonthemove recently posted…Can you learn Spanish in 9 months?

    • Rachel Jones says:

      Well this nurse didn’t put 2 and 2 together, and thought at first that I must have ringworm on my tail bone…. derr. ha ha ha! But I just moisturized so it didn’t scab :)

  13. Renuka says:

    Reading your experiences and tips made me remember my desert safari in Jaisalmer. Did it cost you Rs.1500 for an overnight safari? It cost me Rs.4000 for just an evening safari! (I booked it from Hotel Deep Mahal in the fort)
    Renuka recently posted…Travel Photography – My Journey So Far (Part One)

    • Rachel Jones says:

      Yes 1500 for an overnight! To be honest, I think that western backpackers get pretty low rates because since we’re on a tight budget we really negotiate. But 1500 was a lot I thought considering the budget I was on which was 1000 a day. Many other options were only 600 for overnights- but a friend had already paid for this 1500 one and I wanted to go with her. 4000 is SOOO much!!!

  14. Elora says:

    Well, most of that sounds fun. I think it would be a lot more fun if it was more personal, like you said, with someone who just knew the place and could cook. I’ve always thought safaris would be fun–at least for the most part. I’m sure they can be very trying at times!

  15. […] was so happy to meet up with my Dutch friends from my camel safari in Rajasthan, Barbara and Leonie as […]

  16. […] back, I survived the challenging cities of Mumbai and Delhi (barely), trekked through the Thar Desert on a camel, learned yoga and stayed in meditation […]

  17. Victoria says:

    I just randomly found your blog and I LOVE it! You have a new loyal follower in me, and will refer back to your site when I go to India :) You provide good detailed info, and I like your style! I will most likely travel on my own to India when I go, (I am female,) and would love to do a camel safari. Would it be safe for me to do an overnight camel safari on my own?

    • Rachel Jones says:

      wow thanks victoria! It would be safe in my opinion if you go with a reputable guide, but better that you find a group. Most often, there will be a group you join because the guide won’t make enough money just taking one person. So you can tell the guide you want to join another group no problem.

  18. Beautiful pictures from the safari, especially the sunset ones! thank you for sharing the tricks on how to get good deals on safaris! ;) we are planning of visiting Jaisalmer soon! Cant wait to get on those cute camels and tour the dessert!
    Travellingsisters recently posted…A day riding the movies

  19. […] a camel safari in Rajasthan. I did mine in Jaisalmer after drinking a big bhang lassi (a hash drink) and it was intense but […]

  20. […] left out boat rides on the backwaters of Kerala, week-long holidays in Goa, camel safaris in Rajasthan, and houseboats in Srinagar… because every other article about romance in India claims these […]

  21. Garnet says:

    Hi! I’m planning to go to India in March with my boyfriend and your blog has been my most trusted source. I’m currently teaching English in Thailand and I’ve had some bad experiences with some elephant sanctuaries/the ethics of animal tourism. I’m super conflicted because I’m really interested in a camel safari. How did the treatment of the camels seem and would you recommend any companies over another in this regard? Thank you!

    • Rachel Jones says:

      Hi Garnet I’m glad he blog is helping you :) You’re right Thailand is a bit notorious for it’s bad elephant treatment :( In my opinion, the camel safari wasn’t bad to the animals.. camels aren’t broken like elephants are and have been used to ride just like horses since the beginning! So, I don’t know the right answer but that’s how I feel about it.

  22. Victoria says:

    I have to ask: was everyone just casually peeing in the sand at will? I could see my incessantly water drinking and pea sized bladder self having a real problem with wanting to hop off my camel and pee every hour. How did that work?

  23. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the tips. I am taking my daughter for 6 month adventure around india soon and camel safari is definately in the agenda. you mentioned a few things I hadn’t considered which is very much appreciated. Also really looking forward to exploring jaisalmer.

  24. Tempesst says:

    Hiii. Where did you keep your valuables (passport, wallet, phone, etc) while you were on the tour? We’ll be in Jaisalmer in NOVEMBER, so excited!
    Tempesst recently posted…Scenes from Mostar

    • Rachel Jones says:

      I took it all with me in my little side purse which I sleep with on trains etc in India so had it in my cot with me! If you are at a nice hotel they can probably lock your passport up, but it’s a pretty casual ride out and not too much chance of it getting ruined.

  25. Stace says:

    Hey Any suggestions for how to book an overnight camel safari? My husband and I are travelling to India next month, and we’d like to do this, but we don’t want to pay 1500 rupees. Any suggestions?

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