Jaisalmer is a small town, with population just over 18 000 it’s easy to explore on foot. A day will be enough to see all of its tourist attractions like the magnificent Jaisalmer fort and the lovely Haveli’s. Yet the reason why to stay in this town longer is camel safaris. There are many tour operators who will gladly arrange a tour in the Thar Desert. The camel safaris are cheap a day in the desert will cost somewhere around 1500 Rs for one person. They are well arranged and the only duty you will have is to enjoy your safari.
A typical camel safari lasts two days; you leave on the morning and come back next day on the afternoon, although a longer trip can be arranged. The good thing is that most hotels will not charge you for the night on safari and that your big backpack can be left in the hotel for safe keeping. There are a couple of popular safari routes in the desert that lead through some villages.
Rajasthan tour operators will show you pictures from the safari with huge sand dunes, don’t be fooled though. The Thar Desert around Jaisalmer is anything, but big sand dunes. Mostly you will see very rocky surface with some vegetation in form of shrubs, cactuses and camel trees. There are sand dunes but they are nowhere as magnificent as the dunes shown in pictures. On the safari most likely you will meet some locals, but they are quite used to western tourists, as the routes are very touristy and most likely you will meet other groups from different tour operators. There are some locals who go around the desert selling Coke and Pepsi at the popular safari rest places.
The longer safaris are most likely to go off the beaten track. The sleeping and eating on the safari is very well organized. When I was on the camel safari there I really enjoyed the food that was cooked on open fire and sleeping on the sand dune under the sky. The guides or camel men as they are sometimes called all speak English and most definitely will take good care of you.
The camels are well kept. Though it gets kind of annoying at the end of the second day to sit and dangle on the camel’s back and people with sea sickness probably will have problems adjusting. In case you can’t take the ride of camel’s back any more, you are free to walk.
The two day camel safari might not be the adventure of your life, still it is a well spent time. You will get to know a little piece of rural India. The nature of the desert is amazingly beautiful and the camel safari itself is a very enjoyable and relaxing activity. It is particularly good when tired of all the monuments, forts and museums the only thing you want is to get away from it all, the camel safari Jaisalmer is a good chance to relax and to get an insight on another side of Indian culture and lifestyle.