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Guide to Planning an Overnight Camel Safari in Jaisalmer

Guide to Planning an Overnight Camel Safari in Jaisalmer

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

The overnight camel safari in Jaisalmer (Thar Desert) was one of my favorite experiences in Rajasthan. Here’s what I learned.

While Jaislamer’s massive fort walls and intricately carved Jain temples within are mindblowing, no activity or attraction could eclipse this must-do overnight camel trip to the Thar desert from Jaisalmer.

After a lot of research and speaking to other travelers, I decided to do an overnight camel safari, sleeping in the desert among the sand dunes, followed by a day visiting local desert villages. Here I’ll detail and compare a few options for 1-day, 2-day, and even 3-day camel rides in the desert to help you decide what’s best for you.

Camel safari tour in jaisalmer

Quick Things to Know About Jaislamer's Camel Safaris

So, what exactly is a "camel safari?"

  • These trips are organized "tours," whereby you will ride a camel far out into the Thar Desert.
  • The experience is worthwhile because it is an opportunity for visitors to experience authentic camel herding and ancient desert culture.
  • There are short 1-day camel trips, which are often "sunset rides" These are great if you just want to ride a camel and enjoy dinner for sunset in the desert.
  • The better camel safaris in Jaisalmer are overnight trips, where a guide leads you and your camel to a designated camping spot deep in the dunes near the border of Pakistan.
  • Be careful which company you book with, many don't treat their camels very well (tips below).
  • The campsites for these camel trips range from simple, open-air beds to full-scale glamping setups with tarpaulin covers and other flashy features.

Tip: In my opinion, the overnight trips are much better, and I'm sure you'll see my point when you're out there, sipping a cup of fresh chai under the desert sky.

Girl riding a camel in the thar desert from jaisalmer

How to Book a Camel Safari in Jaisalmer

Overnight camel safaris are the most popular tours and activities in Jaisalmer. So, there's going to be some competition– there are plenty to choose from.

Important: Go with a reputable agency. You can choose the ultra-budget route, but the experience probably won't be as magical (plus the trips are all pretty affordable).

Secondly, you'll want to book with a group that respects both the camels and the camel guides.

There are also "high-end glamping safaris," which are much more expensive and, in my opinion, not really the same adventure, I'll explain more below.

Camels in jaisalmer desert
Camels in the Thar Desert

My Top Pick: Real Desert Man Camel Safari

I have no problem with recommending The Real Desert Man Camel Safaris after going on their trip.

They're one of the oldest and most popular camel tour organizers in Jaisalmer and owned by a "Real Desert Man." Essentially, they hire and train camel guides from the small isolated communities in the Thar desert. This provides income for a remote group of people who have very few alternatives.

I had an excellent experience with this company and I was very happy to see that the camel guides treated the animals well.

Jaisalmer desert man

How Much Does a Desert Safari Cost?

So, how much do the camel safaris in Jaisalmer cost? Like most tours and experiences in Rajasthan, they are surprisingly affordable but vary by season.

In Jaisalmer, prices for quality trips start at around 1,500 rupees per person for a sunset ride and approximately 1,750 to 2,500 rupees for quality overnight camel safaris.

Since I highly recommend the Real Desert Man Camel Safaris, I'll list their prices below.

Sunset Camel Trip (half-day)$30
1-Day 1-Nights$35
2-Day 1-Nights$90
3-Day 2-Nights$110
"Glamping" Overnight Safari$65
Prices will vary by season

Again, as mentioned, you could probably get a cheaper rate if you bartered with tour operators near the fort, but just know the quality of the trip may be less than you'd expect.

Camel in the thar desert of india

What's Included?

Any good overnight or sunset camel safari trips in Jaisalmer, like the ones I've linked to, will include:

  • Hotel pickup in Jaisalmer
  • Jeep transfer to the desert (usually with a stop like the Kuldhara Abandoned Village)
  • Guided camel ride to Thar Desert dunes
  • Bottled water and chai
  • Campfire-cooked dinner (at the sunset camp)

Of course, for overnight trips, you'll also get bedding and breakfast the next day.

Aerial view of camels walking through the thar desert

As I touched on earlier, although overnight trips are the most popular, I'd highly recommend the 1-night, 2-day trip. This way, you'll get to experience the sunset ride into the desert, and the camping, and, as a bonus, while everyone heads back, you'll have the day to explore the desert with your guide and much smaller group.

This second day was a highlight for my trip as we roamed the desert on camel-back. We prepared lunch under a small desert oasis tree and visited the remote villages of the Thar Desert before returning back to Jaisalmer in the afternoon.

There are also options for 3-night, 2-day trips if you'd prefer to spend an extra night in the desert.

Traveler riding a camel in jaisalmer, india

My Experience: Riding a Camel Through the Thar Desert of Jaisalmer

I organized the afternoon trip in Jaisalmer after exploring the fort and Gadisar Lake. The trip for us started at around 2:00 pm.

We arrived in Jaisalmer on an overnight bus without any accommodation. So, we went straight to the Real Desert Man office in Jaisalmer, just outside of the fort. The guys greeted us warmly and even let us use the showers and stash our backpacks.

After getting ready, we were picked up by a Jeep, where we met the other travelers joining us on the camel trip.

First Stop: Kuldhara Abandoned Village

The Jeep drive out to the desert began with a quick stop at the Kuldhara Abandoned Village, just outside of Jaisalmer. Here, we were able to explore the ruined buildings and learn the story of why it was known as the "Ghost Village."

This town was formerly inhabited by the Paliwal Brahmins, which is an agricultural community that migrated from the Pali region of India. However, one day in 1825, the entire village disappeared without a trace.

We were told that the reason for this urgent flight was that the then Diwan of Jaisalmer, Salim Singh, demanded the beautiful daughter of the local chief's hand in marriage. It's said that he gave the Paliwal only 24 hours to accept the proposal to avoid consequences. Since the local inhabitants saw Diwan as a tyrannical ruler, the entire village instead decided to leave that very night, laying a curse on the grounds as they went.

Since, nobody has lived in Kuldhara Village for over 200 years.

Kuldhara, ghost village in jaisalmer
Kuldhara village ghost village jaisalmer

The Camel Safari Through the Sand Dunes

After exploring the remains of the Ghost Village, we then set off for the camel safari. We were taken further into the desert, again, by Jeep, where we would meet our camels and guides.

After a short demonstration, we set off into the desert on our camel caravan as the afternoon sun gently began to sink behind the dunes.

Jaisalmer camel safari

The Overnight Desert Camp

Once we arrived at the camp, our guides promptly lit a bonfire and started making fresh chai tea. While we waited for sunset, we explored the dunes and photographed the camels.

The sunset dinner was one of the highlights of my overnight camel safari trip in Jaisalmer. We were treated to freshly made roti and traditional desert cuisine cooked on the campfire.

With bellies full, we watched as the sun disappeared behind the horizon, making way for the "million-star" galactic show to come.

The real desert man overnight camel safari jaisalmer
Night with bright stars and camp fire camping in the thar desert near jaisalmer, rajasthan.
Sleeping under the stars in the Thar Desert of India

Day 2: Visiting Thar Desert Villages

The second day was another clear highlight of the trip. After a delicious pancake breakfast, we again prepared our camels and set off into the desert. This time, the group was very small, with only four of us, including our guide. This really felt like an authentic experience as we got to know our camel guide and heard his stories of life in the desert.

As the heat picked up around midday, we wandered to a small oasis underneath a large tree where we prepared another meal by campfire. This time, since it was a smaller group, we participated and helped in the preparation of the roti and the dahl.

After lunch, we were shown how to work the camel ropes and care for the animals before departing for a very remote desert village. Here, we were greeted by curious children and men very keen to have their photographs taken. All the while, with little interest in the villagers, our camels downed a well-earnt drop from the village well.

The day continued by passing other small villages and clay huts before returning to our initial starting point the day prior. Here, we were picked up by Jeep to return to Jaisalmer at around 6:00 pm.

Portrait of a person of the thar desert
Portrait of a person of the thar desert

Review: Is a Camel Safari Worth It?

If you can't tell from my experience, I had a great time! In fact, I still recommend the camel safari experience to anybody visiting Jaisalmer. Our guide showed us the real life of the Thar Desert and they were very kind to their camels (you can tell that they really respected them).

The food, camping, and beds were basic. But hey, we were there for the experience, and it sure was up there with one of the best things I did in all of India!

Olly gaspar riding a camel in india
After two days we really made a bond with our camels!

Where to Stay in Jaisalmer Before & After the Camel Trip

Looking for a place to stay in Jaisalmer after or before your Jaisalmer camel safari? I've got you covered. There are loads of accommodation options both within the fort walls and on the outskirts.

Perhaps one of the best experiences in Jaisalmer is the ability to sleep inside the ancient fort complex! Below I've listed some of the best accommodation options that should satisfy a range of budgets.

  • Where I stayed: Hotel Surja - Comfortable rooms inside the fort with a rooftop terrace and restaurant for under $5 USD? Seriously this place was easily one of the best deals I've ever come across.
  • Best Jaisalmer Hostel: Toffu Safari - Hostelworld rates Toffu Safari as one of the best hostels in Jaisalmer year after year. While I didn't stay here, I visited twice since a friend of mine was staying here at the time. It has a great roof-top terrace, comfortable beds, and a great vibe.
  • Luxury option within the fort: Killa Bhawan - If you've ever wanted a luxury room in an ancient fort, Jaisalmer is probably the place to book one. For what you get, the prices of accommodation are ridiculously affordable. The Killa Bhawan is one of the top-rated luxury accommodation options within the Jaisalmer fort.
  • Glamping Safari Camp: Real Desert Man Safari Camp - Are you a fan of glamping? If you're not really after the full Jaisalmer camel safari experience, then you can book a night in the desert with this glamping camp.
Jaisalmer fort drone

What to Pack For Camel Trips in Jaipur

Wondering what to pack for an overnight desert safari in Jaisalmer? The truth is you really don't need that much. Nevertheless, here's a list of what I'd call essentials:

  • Light, full-length cotton pants and shirt
  • Jacket for the night (it gets cold)
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Pens and school stationery (to give to the village children)

You can buy lightweight "desert clothing" at several stalls in Jaisalmer. This is relatively cheap and very comfortable as the cotton material provides much-needed protection from the sun while being light and breathable.

The real desert man overnight camel safari jaisalmer
Jaisalmer desert safari

Best Time to Visit Jaisalmer and the Thar Desert

The best time to visit Jaisalmer for an overnight camel safari is between September to March, which is considered the winter season. During this time, the desert experiences pleasant and dry conditions.

After September, Jaisalmer experiences a short and often sporadic "monsoon." This often occurs in October, when showers are usually brief. However, this rain tends to add to the already increasing heat, making the humidity a little hard to deal with.

During the months of April to August, Jaisalmer experiences the hottest temperatures. This summer season sees temperatures commonly rising over 40 degrees celsius and sometimes even into the 50s. For this reason, summer is considered the "low season" in Jaisalmer. However, if you've got sunscreen handy and can tolerate the heat, the low season is easily the cheapest time to visit Jaisalmer and go on a camel desert safari.

Thar desert camels

I hope that this quick guide to booking an overnight camel safari in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan has been useful in planning your epic desert adventures.

If you liked this article and you're looking for more India travel tips and inspiration, check out the links below. If you have any questions or travel updates for this trip, let me and other travelers know by leaving a comment!

Visiting more places in Rajasthan? Read my guide to Jodhpur in one Day!

More Photos From My Trip

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.


Wednesday 14th of July 2021

thank you for sharing about overnight camel safari

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