Deserts are the highlight of Rajasthan, and the best way to experience such beauty is via a camel safari. Camel safari is nothing less than thrilling, exciting and an altogether fabulous way to get a taste of the rural desert life — as well as immerse in the local culture. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
There are several places in Rajasthan where you can go for Camel Safari, and the best ones include Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Pushkar, and Jodhpur. Each of these places offer a unique and memorable experience.
Jaisalmer, the Golden City as it is often dubbed, is located in the heart of the Thar desert. Riding on a camelback through the rolling sand dunes of the Thar desert is an experience like no other. Also, about 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) west of Jaisalmer lies another best locale — the Sam Sand Dunes, which are characterized by tall sand dunes (about 30-60 meters) and almost no vegetation. This is the most popular place for safari, which makes it the most crowded as well. Nonetheless, camel safari here is fun! You can disembark at various points along the way and camp through the spectacular dunes.
Those who prefer to enjoy the desert landscape in peace and quiet may head to the dunes near Khuri village. These are lesser-known but most stunning sand dunes around Jaisalmer. While riding a camel here, you can experience the rustic desert life up-close, as the village is home to mud and straw huts and the village folks prefer living the traditional way.
Camel safari in Bikaner lets you pass through the tiny settlements in the area, including Naukh, Baru, Tadana, Kanasar and Mohangarh, among others. Should you wish to know about the colorful culture of the region, you can take a break in these tiny villages and talk to the locals, who are actually more than happy to narrate some of their famous folk tales — which are quite intriguing!
For a lively camel safari experience, visit Pushkar during the Pushkar Camel Fair, which is an annual camel and livestock fair that goes on for five days. A camel ride here takes you to the tiny hamlets in the area where you meet the indigenous tribes and know about the rustic way of living. Additionally, a ride here also presents you the best views of the Aravalli ranges (one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges), along with bewitching sunrises and sunsets.
Camel safari can also be done in and around Jodhpur. One of the best spots here is Osian, an ancient town located in the Thar desert. This town is famous for its ancient temples from 8th to 11th centuries. You can stay at the Osian Sand Dunes Resort and Camp, which is perhaps one of the best hotels in the area. It provides safari rides, and in the evening, campfires along with folk music is also organised to make your trip a memorable one.
Other places, such as Udaipur and Mandawa also offer delightful, albeit short camel rides. In Udaipur, for instance, the ride starts from the magnificent Fateh Sagar Lake until the bustling markets. While in Mandawa, the ride takes you around the town and is perfect to see the architectural masterpieces of the place.
Booking a camel safari is easy, pretty much every hotel in these locations has a partnership with a safari tour company, so they can book a safari tour for you, of course at a commission. You can also go for specialist tour companies. There are plenty of those out there offering this thrilling and exciting experience. A simple Google search will give you endless options. Take the quotes of different companies, meet their staff and know what all arrangements and facilities are on offer, and then book the best one.
Some of our recommendations include Desert Safari Camp Jaisalmer, Real Desert Man Camel Safari Jaisalmer, Trotters Independent Tours & Travels, Vino Desert Safari, Pushkar Camel Safari and Rao Bikaji Camel Safari. Almost all of these offer camping facilities, ranging from full service luxury camps to budget-friendly tents. Visitors can take part in all things Rajasthani — from savoring the traditional food to enjoying the cultural shows (everything is part of the package). The tours can be customized as per your needs and budget.
Camel safari ranges from a few hours to whole day; or for up to two, four or seven days, with longer ones up to a month. Overnight options are also on offer (tour agencies will pick you up and drop you off from your hotel). Depending upon the duration and facilities, the cost of camel safari varies. It starts from INR 500 ($7.69) up to INR 2,500 ($38.43) per person, including meals. Prices can be negotiated.
The best time to go for a camel safari is between October and March when the weather is cool. It is possible to go for camel safari in the monsoon season (July to September) as well — there is little chance of rain and temperatures remain high. April to June (summer) are the worst months — the mercury level rises phenomenally, which makes it difficult to even walk on the sand, let alone camel safari! Additionally, try to take an early morning or evening camel safari: you’ll never forget the sunrise and sunset in the desert.
Meal and accommodation are available en route (just make sure this is agreed upon prior). Weather-wise, expect cold nights and warm sunny days, so carry sunglasses, cap/scarf, sunscreen, insect repellent, toilet paper, flash light, hand sanitizer, medical kit and some amount of cash, too.