Thinking about booking an overnight camel safari in Jaisalmer? Before you do, read this complete guide on how to make the most of this incredible experience in the Thar Desert.
Located on the western corner of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is one of the most worthwhile destinations to visit in India. Known as the “Golden City,” Jaisalmer is made iconic by the Jaisalmer Fort, a sprawling hilltop citadel in the heart of the Thar Desert.
While the massive fort walls and intricately carved Jain temples within are mindblowing, no activity or attraction could eclipse a 2-day overnight trip from Jaisalmer.
I’m sure that you’ll hear similar sentiments from other travelers who have taken the camel when I say that the Jaisalmer camel safari was a definite highlight of my Rajasthani trip!
In this quick guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about a camel safari in Jaisalmer from planning, booking, and making the most of the experience. I’ll also go into detail to 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.
I’ll also argue why I believe that an overnight, 2-day trip is the best option for most people.
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About the Overnight Camel Trip in Jaisalmer
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.
In terms of trip options, 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.
On the other hand, 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. In my opinion, these 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.
The campsites for these camel trips range from simple, open-air beds to full-scale glamping setups with tarpaulin covers and other flashy features.
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, 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.
Booking a Camel Safari in Jaisalmer
Since overnight camel safaris are arguably the most popular tours and activities in Jaisalmer, there’s clearly going to be some competition.
A general tip is to go with a reputable agency. Of course, you could always go the ultra-budget route. However, note that the experience probably won’t be as magical. Secondly, you’ll probably want to book with a group that respects both the camels and the camel guides.
In saying that, you can also get “high-end glamping safaris,” which are much more expensive and, in my opinion, not really the same adventure.
For my recommendation, I think it’s better to go with the middle ground when booking a camel ride in Jaisalmer.
ALTERNATIVE: BEST FULL-DAY JEEP SAFARI IN THE THAR DESERT
My Recommendation: Real Desert Man Camel Safari Jaisalmer
For the reasons mentioned above, I have no problem with recommending The Real Desert Man Camel Safaris.
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 little alternatives.
However, my main reason for recommending them is that I had an excellent experience that I honestly couldn’t fault.
I am Sawai Dan, the “Real Desert Man”. I was born and raised in a small desert village and come from a long line of camel men who have wandered this ancient land for generations. As such, this golden land, its people, and its glorious history are etched into my heart and my soul.Sawai Dan – Founder of Real Desert Man Camel Safaris
How Much Does it 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 1500 rupees per person for a sunset ride and approximately 1750 to 2500 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 With Dinner (half-day)||1500-2000 rupees|
|1-Day 1-Nights||1750-2200 rupees|
|2-Day 1-Nights||2100-2500 rupees|
|3-Day 2-Nights||4750-5200 rupees|
|“Glamping” Overnight Safari||3000-3250 rupees/night|
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.
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.
What to Expect on a 2-Day Overnight Camel Safari
So, with that out of the way, you might be interested to know what to actually expect on an overnight camel safari in Jaisalmer.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll detail some of the highlights from my trip.
Typical Overnight Camel Safari Itinerary
I organized the afternoon trip in Jaisalmer, which 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 the 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.
Camel Safari Begins
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.
The Overnight Desert Camp
One 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 with 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.
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 hear 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 animal before departing for a very remote desert village. Here, we were greeted by curious children and men very keen to have their photograph 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.
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)
- 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.
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, where 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 the sunscreen handy and can tolerate the heat, the low season is easily the cheapest time to visit Jaisalmer and to go on a camel desert safari.
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 (budget room inside the Jaisalmer fort): Hotel Surja – Comfortable rooms within the fort with a rooftop terrace and restaurant for under $5USD? 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.
Bonus: 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.
More Rajasthan Travel Guides and Blogs
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!
More Photos of the Overnight Jaisalmer Camel Safari
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