India travel is full of the most memorable of moments. I found such beauty in Goa, titillating eroticism in Khajuraho and a step back in time on my camel trekking safari. I’ve always secretly longed for my very own Arabian nights moment and this was it. Looking back through my travel in India, I’ll never forget sleeping under the stars and hearing the camels snoring, and trumping away next to me.
Camel Trekking in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer sits in the state of Rajasthan and boarders Pakistan. The Thar Desert is its landscape for camel trekking and the experience takes you back to ancient crossings and desert life. Our tour was as simple as it gets. A tour leader, his young son and a camel each. The temperature was sweltering and nothing but the hazy dunes awaited us.
The safari consisted of hour after hour of arse breaking patience as our camels trekked through the heat. It’s quite an art getting comfortable on a camel. I won’t pretend to be an expert at it.
We were taken to a remote village where the children greeted us with an almost celebrity-like fanfare. Some of them were rather bold with their requests to have our sunglasses or our caps, one girl even asked if she could keep my ring! They were sweet if a little bit over zealous.
The journey continued on as we passed endless stretches of arid land, deep dunes and the odd withering tree. Stopping for lunch was most welcome and our guide revealed his many talents by putting on a meal that rivalled any we’d had so far in India. Seeing that I was half-Indian he wasn’t shy with the chili and it thoroughly blew our heads off. Traditional hearty vegetarian fare of spicy potatoes, pressure cooked vegetables and more chapati’s than we could ever eat. All his utensils came off the back of the camel and helping him build the fire made the experience a very special one.
After the sumptuous meal and an afternoon siesta we set off deeper into the desert. By this time my camel and I were great friends.
Before nightfall we found camp – a perfect dune where we lit a fire and slept under a blanket of stars.
Top Tips for a Camel Safari
- Your tour guide will have bottled water, but it doesn’t hurt to bring a bottle of your own. It’s thirsty work sitting on a camels back.
- Sunscreen and more sunscreen. You’ll feel like you want to have bare arms and legs to cool you down, but you’ll just burn. Wear super light long sleeves and trousers. Helps fend off sunburn and pesky sand flies.
- Bring a torch. Our camp fire burnt out soon after nightfall and our guide must have been superhuman as he had no need at all for a torch. Our unaccustomed eyes just weren’t up to the job.
- Bring some change and sweets to give to the crazy kids you’ll come across!