Camel Safari into the Thar Desert [India 2020]

Travels Mar 17, 2020

TLDR: Camels are amazing creatures! My Indonesian friend and I rode our camels (named: Rajah, Rocket, Micheal Jackson) into the desert, had one of the tastiest meals in India prepared by our 'camel boy' Luckya, slept under the stars (no tent, didn't need one) on the sand dunes, watched sunset and sunrise. Tried a bit of camel racing as well.

Thar desert is not a desert full of sand dunes. A flat, dry desert with sparse bushes, it stretches between India and Pakistan as a natural defense. The camels here are native Indian camels, used to transport goods and people across the desert in the past, mainly used for tourist safaris today. Dunes can be found in some places, we were taken to one.

Camels are fascinating animals! My first impression: "Whoa... They are big!". While taller than us, they are timid, cool-tempered animals with funny faces. They keep playing with each other and with the 'camel guy'. They regurgitate (re-chew, like cows) their food, and their burps stink so bad. An adult camel can carry 500 kg. Their backs are shaved to fit the saddle. The camels used in the safari need dry grass every day. Camel meat is not eaten in this part of the world. The milk is quite strong (unfortunately I couldn't try) and apparently you get sick if you drink too much. They make tea, cheese with milk.

Only male camels are used for transport. Females roam free in the desert. During the mating period, they let the males go into the desert and mate. The pregnancy period is 3 years. They catch male kids when 2 years old. They cost 50,000 INR (if I remember correctly). That's actually less than an iPhone!

They are trained for 4 months. Riders control the camel in two ways. By making clicking sounds with their mouths, they are able to make the camels stand up, sit down and walk. The noses of camels are also pierced and a metal piece is attached, tied to a rope. The camel is pulled left and right by tugging the rope. I imagine it must be super-painful, but you don't even need to tug. As I picked up the rope, the camel started walking with me. My camel was 10 years old, the other two were 7. They are retired ay 15 and left free in the desert. They die around 25. Apparently, they are treated better than our elephants.

As they stop to make camp, camels are left free to wander, with their front legs tied with loose rope (to make sure they don't go too far). Each of them has a bell in the neck, so they can be tracked and found if lost. When we were talking around the fire, one 'camel guy' arrived, having lost 4 of his camels and searching for them. No idea if he could find them.

This is the top to-do activity in Jaisalmer, and the town is full of people almost harassing you into picking their safari. There are many types as well. One night (ours), three nights, 21 days...etc. They are definitely overpriced, but you don't want to miss this experience.

First published on Facebook:

Abarajithan Gn
Camel Safari into Thar Desert.TLDR: Camels are amazing creatures! My Indonesian friend and I rode our camels (named: Rajah, Rocket, Micheal Jackson) into the desert, had one of the tastiest meals...