This guide to an overnight camel safari from Jaisalmer is a part of this 2 week Rajasthan itinerary that includes Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur.
Jaisalmer can be seen as an out-of-the-way destination when you have just a short time in Rajasthan.
But, you may still find it to be worth it!
Most people make the journey to Jaisalmer for the sole purpose of taking some type of desert tour. The city is famous for camel rides in the desert.
The overnight desert tours are one of the things that Jaisalmer is famous for. If you’re not interested in sleeping in the desert but want to ride a camel, it’s possible to find desert tours that offer a half day camel safari too.
But one of the most popular options is an overnight camel safari in the Thar Desert.
What do you actually get on a camel tour?
The time on the camel might even be seen as a pretty small amount of time compared to the whole tour. But that’s okay, because there is more to just a camel ride on an overnight camel safari!
This overnight camel safari is a part of this 3 day Jaisalmer itinerary.
And if you’re backpacking to Jaisalmer alone, you may like the idea of staying at one of the best hostels in Jaisalmer.
What happens on an overnight camel safari?
Each tour operator might provide a little bit of a different experience, but here’s what happened on my tour.
I took a 2 day, 1 night overnight desert tour. The start time was around 3pm, and the end time was around 10am the next day.
First, the quick list of highlights.
Then, a little bit more about each of these things.
Highlights of an overnight camel safari in the Thar Desert
1. Sunset camel ride
2. Wander around the sand dunes
3. Campfire in the desert with Rajasthani cuisine
4. Sleep under the stars in the desert
5. Watch the sunrise over the sand dunes
Okay, so now…
More on what your day might look like with a desert tour!
Arrive at the starting point of the camel ride
The tour starts from Jaisalmer in a jeep or another type of vehicle that’ll take you to the desert.
Get on your camel!
Once you arrive, it’s time to get on your camel!
Camels have a very particular way of standing up.
It’s going to be FUN being on the camel as it stands up! 😀 More like a bit scary. 😉
Start the camel ride!
Once everyone gets on the camel, it’s time to start trotting in the desert!
Take lots of camel and desert pictures
You might be surprised how hard it is to take pictures while on a trotting camel.
You need to make sure you hold on to your camera very securely, while also making sure you don’t fall off the camel. 😉
It’s best to master the ability to take pictures with just one hand.
Reach the campsite by camel
The camel ride took us to our “campsite” in the sand dunes just outside of Kanoi.
The campsite really just felt like a random spot in the desert, and this made it feel more natural too.
There were no other groups around, although occasionally there were camels with tourists riding on them that passed by in the distance.
Walk around the sand dunes
Once we reached our designated spot, we had some free time to walk across the dunes at sunset.
You can take this time to wander around the desert and run up and down the sand dunes!
Meanwhile our dinner was being prepared from scratch over a campfire.
You can go over and watch them, or even help them if you want!
Campfire dinner in the desert with Rajasthani cuisine
Shortly after sunset, there was a campfire made, and everyone in the group sat around the campfire.
Then a Rajasthani dinner was served!
Sleep under the stars in the desert
With my overnight desert tour, there was the option of sleeping in a tent, or sleeping directly under the stars on a cot with no shelter.
There were extra blankets available in case we needed extra warmth since the desert can get cold at night.
Sunrise over the sand dunes
The overnight desert tour continues in the morning!
If you wake up before sunrise you can see the sun come up over the sand dunes!
Breakfast in the desert
For breakfast as well, there was some food prepared over campfire.
The morning meal consisted of simple foods including:
- Boiled eggs
- Bread with jam
- Maggi (basically an Indian version of instant ramen noodles)
And shortly after breakfast, it was time to go for another camel ride which also meant the end of the desert tour.
Morning camel ride
The tour ended with a camel ride to the spot we started in the desert the previous day.
This ride was actually shorter than the sunset ride, so we apparently took a shortcut to get back… or we just went the long way before!
How much does an overnight camel safari cost?
I paid 1,750 rupees (US$25) for the 2 day, 1 night group tour that started in the afternoon and returned in the morning.
I did the overnight camel safari through the place I stayed, Hotel Tokyo Palace, which has both hostel dorm beds and proper rooms.
It also has a nice rooftop restaurant with views of the Jaisalmer Fort.
You can sign up for the tour directly at the hotel even if you’re not staying there, but check the prices on the Hotel Tokyo Palace website first. I found the website to be cheaper by 200 rupees or so, and they honored the website pricing.
What’s a reasonable price for an overnight desert tour like this?
If you start looking into overnight camel tours, it’ll seem like you have a LOT of options.
When I did my camel tour in 2018, I found the standard rate for the type of tour I did to be around 1600 rupees.
So I thought the 1,750 rupees I paid seemed reasonable. (150 rupees = US$2)
Should you do a camel tour through a hotel?
I had people in my group who didn’t stay a single night at a hotel in Jaisalmer, and they only came to Jaisalmer for the overnight camel safari.
Here’s what they did:
- Arrived to Jaisalmer in the morning
- Hung out in the lobby of the hotel until the tour started
- Departed for the overnight desert tour
- Slept in the desert
- Upon return to Jaisalmer from the camel safari in the morning, hung out in the lobby of the hotel again until an evening train to the next destination! (There’s an overnight train from Jaisalmer to Jaipur that also goes through Jodhpur.)
So it can be convenient to do a tour through a hotel in situations like these so you’ll have somewhere to kill time if necessary! (After you’ve returned from getting lost on the narrow streets of the Jaisalmer Fort of course – also a part of this 3 day Jaisalmer itinerary.)
Many hotels will also offer you the opportunity to use their showers as well. (As a hostel, Hotel Tokyo Palace does have a common shower available for use after you’ve taken their tour.)
What about luggage?
Most, if not all, tour operators will have a luggage storage room so you don’t have to lug everything you packed for India out to the desert!
HAPPY OVERNIGHT CAMEL SAFARI!
- 3 days in Udaipur (city of lakes)
- 2 days in Jodhpur (blue city)
- 3 days in Jaisalmer (golden city)
- 3 days in Jaipur (pink city)
- 1 day in Agra
The need-to-know India travel tips!If it's your first trip to India, be sure to see these tips for getting around India on a budget, and more! You might wait until India to buy this mosquito repellent that works for many foreigners! Also be sure to see how to spend one month in South India and 2 weeks in North India, as well as tips for the Golden Triangle. And, overnight sleeper bus travel isn't so bad, and neither is traveling in general class on the train!
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India tourist visa tip!Access to India as a foreigner seems to be getting friendlier! There's an e-visa now and this visa fee is far less than it was before. See the current cost of an e-visa by selecting your country. That's a partner website to make the evisa application process less stressful - it's possible to apply on your own too. See about your options on how to get an e-visa for India.
Travel insurance for India - just in case!You get travel insurance hoping that you'll never have to use it. But if you do end up needing to use it, chances are that you will be VERY happy that you did get it! See how to figure out the cost of travel insurance for India.
How to book India train tickets online as a foreignerIf you don't want to go through the complicated process of setting up an IRCTC Indian railways account as a foreigner...
Then the most convenient way to buy train tickets online is through this booking website. I've used it, and it's super simple! You buy the ticket, and then show the electronic version on your phone once you're on the train. Compared to buying directly through an Indian ticket booking website (IRCTC account required) or directly at the train station in India, there is a small convenience fee, as well as a less flexible cancellation policy, though!
Retreats in IndiaFor relaxation and rejuvenation for health and wellness, see:
- Yoga retreats in India
- Ayurveda retreats in Kerala - ayurveda is basically healthy living through natural herbs and remedies, and Kerala is the birthplace of ayurveda!
Where to stay on the tourist trail in KeralaThese places basically go down the coast from north to south!
- Cochin: Try a homestay in the cute heritage area of Fort Kochi.
- Marari Beach: This is an "off-beat" location as Marari is mostly unknown to backpackers, but it can be a convenient stop to make between Cochin and Alleppey with chill laid back vibes. For an idea of what type of beach can be nearby, see my beach walk from Alleppey to Marari.
- Alleppey Beach:
- Funky Art Beach House again for chill vibes with a location among locals in a residential neighborhood
- And there's Zostel Alleppey too for another beach location to stay several days
- OR if Alleppey is a quick visit, try Dream Nest to be closer to town
- And see how to spend one day in Alleppey (short version: go for the backwaters village canoe tour instead of a houseboat!)
- Alleppey backwaters:
- Munroe Island: This is another generally kind of more off-beat location, and you can see a different part of the Kerala backwaters on a quiet island
- Varkala cliff: