Jaisalmer – the place to do a camel safari!
I’m feeling a lot better now. Everyone I’ve spoken to along the way has said it’s awesome here so I joined a bunch of other tourists and booked an overnight safari.
It was boiling hot in Jaisalmer, I felt like I would melt everytime I stepped outside, so before the safari I spent most of the time on the rooftop at the hostel – it had a great view of the ancient Jaisalmer Fort, hammocks to relax in and excellent wifi! (And only about one power cut a day or so… Not bad for India actually!).
I also spent some time exploring the ancient fort, built in 1156AD, but it was so hot that after wandering through the winding lanes for a while I had to get back to the conditioning of the hotel. Still, I got a feel for what it would have been like many years ago when the entire population of Jaisalmer lived within the fort. Now the city has long since spilled out of the fort and only about 4000 people live within the walls. Parts of the fort are actually at a high risk of collapsing as it was built on loose rock, there were men who I guess were repairing the outer walls of the fort, but they were so disorganised it looked like they were more likely to cause its collapse than prevent it!
I left for the camel safari during the late afternoon, which was lucky because any earlier and I suspect we would have all suffered from heat stroke! We were driven out to the desert, which took about 45 minutes on a bumpy road in a jeep. We stopped at an abandoned village for a look. Everything was one colour there, sand.
When we got to our destination our camels were all ready and waiting for us, with the camel wallahs keeping an eye on them. There were about 15 people in our group so there were a lot of camels!
They were rather large… it was a tad scary when they first stood up! But eventually we got used to the height and the rhythm of their movement and relaxed into it. The only problem was a severe lack of water – we had been assured we didn’t need to bring our own but were clearly misguided! We made it though, after about 45 minutes of camel riding we arrived at our campsite.
What a place, right in the desert with a view of the sunset! Once it was dark we made our way back down to a delicious dinner – curry, vegetables, rice, naan – everything you could imagine, all cooked right there in the desert! And, of course, there were a few beers to wash it down with.
The night was great fun, with the entire group getting to know each other better, there were a lot of laughs, a lot of drinks, almost a fight and most of all A LOT of stars! I have never seen so many stars as I did that night, it was incredible.
Having spent the night sleeping under the stars, we were woken in the morning as the sun rose and to the guides cooking us breakfast! We then climbed back on our camels, who had set up camp not far from where we slept (made for some interesting night time noises!). Today was the real camel trekking – through the dunes (yesterday was just on the flat desert). It was great fun, going up and down the dunes, but again it was very very hot! Luckily there was water this time. We made it to our pick up point and bade farewell to our camels and their owners – giving tips where they were due.
And with that, our night in the desert with the camels was over, and we headed back to Jaisalmer in the jeeps. What a night!
We made it back to our hotel and spent the rest of our time in Jaisalmer resting up in preparation for our 18 hour train journey from Jaisalmer back to Delhi (and the end of our India trip).
What an experience!