• camel safari jaisalmer the ultimate checklist

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!

 

 

2017-07-03T19:05:58+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing to live on the beaches of Goa, India almost four years ago where she is now a travel writer. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she's been to but has become the go-to site for India travel, focusing on offbeat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine, Tripadvisor, and Thomas Cook. Her blog is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world based on traffic. She also enjoys writing for BravoTV.

47 Comments

  1. Shalu Sharma May 2, 2014 at 1:02 am - Reply

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

  2. Rick May 1, 2014 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    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 May 2, 2014 at 1:59 am - Reply

    That looks so much fun! How do you manage to look so ladylike on a big camel?!

  4. Mridula May 2, 2014 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Absolutely wonderful, I would love to stay under the stars once. And your tips are super.

  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!

  6. Rebekah May 2, 2014 at 10:57 am - Reply

    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

    • Rachel Jones May 2, 2014 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rebekah, I’m not a great photographer, but India is so pretty you don’t have to be!

  7. yara Coelho May 2, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    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 May 3, 2014 at 9:47 am - Reply

      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.

  8. Crischo May 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    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.

  9. tammyonthemove May 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    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? :-)

    • Rachel Jones May 4, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      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 :)

  10. Renuka May 4, 2014 at 7:25 am - Reply

    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)

    • Rachel Jones May 4, 2014 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      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!!!

  11. Elora May 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    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!

    • Rachel Jones May 5, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Yes it is so important to make sure that you go with a group that has a knowledgable guide!

  12. Victoria July 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    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 July 14, 2014 at 3:02 am - Reply

      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.

  13. Travellingsisters December 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    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!

    • Rachel Jones December 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Hope you have a blast! they do hurt your bum tho so be careful of when the run haha

  14. Garnet December 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    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 December 14, 2015 at 11:56 am - Reply

      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.

  15. Victoria December 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    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?

  16. Rebecca March 4, 2016 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Rachel Jones March 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      wow that’ll be quite the adventure! That’s amazing – have fun!

  17. Tempesst July 12, 2016 at 8:15 am - Reply

    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!

    • Rachel Jones July 13, 2016 at 5:09 am - Reply

      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.

  18. Stace September 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    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?

    • Rachel Jones September 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      It’s best to find something once you are there and negotiate :)

  19. Natasha Welch November 2, 2016 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Hey girl, will it be took cold to do a camel safari during december??

    • Rachel Jones November 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure as I was there in October. I don’t think so for the day time but at night it gets cold so if you do it bring socks and warm clothes. I know backpackers go at that time, it’s still peak season in Rajasthan so should be fine.

  20. Natasha Welch November 6, 2016 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Do you have any specific recommendations for companies to use for the desert safari? Or should we just wing it when we get to Jaisalmer?

    • Rachel Jones November 7, 2016 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Sorry I don’t it’s been so long now.. usually the guesthouses/hotel will have lots of pamphlets. wish I could help more!

  21. Pradipta February 23, 2017 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Camel safari is really an awesome experience, I went to Jaipur and Jodhpur for 4 days few years back. That time I was in Delhi and the tour was planned during a long Holidays. First day was nice and then same night we traveled to Jodhpur. We had a plan to stay there for two nights then would return to Jaipur. So after having dinner we were walking outside the hotel, some tourists said you are not going to to Jailsalmir? Then what was the point to come in Rajasthan. We all nodded and booked bus tickets and same night we traveled to Jailsalmir. We enjoyed local site seeing and then camel safari, After that we were too tired for staying that night in tent in dessert. So we came back to hotel, packed our luggage and catch train to Jodhpur. Next day we spent in Jodhpur and in the evening we had train to Delhi.
    I mean it was a terrific tour and we all 4 nights we traveled by train or bus.Ha ha. For every location we rented hotel room for few hours only. Most memorable tour of my life.

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