Camel Safari (Thar Desert)
Going on camel safari is both peaceful and exhilarating. We found our safari profoundly illuminating. Camel safari can also be challenging as you are exposed to the elements, the heat, and the sand (which gets everywhere) however having the right attitude and being in the moment will make it an unforgettable experience. The silence of the desert, especially if going on safari for multiple days, can be difficult for some and a time to reflect for others. Villages are scattered all over the Thar Desert and you may see other safari groups so you will rarely be in solitude. Ensure your safari operator is taking you to a location that is less touristy so you have the most serene experience possible. There are various types of camel safari ranging from budget with open fire cooking and sleeping on blankets in the sand under the stars to luxury safari's with tents, personal cooks, & musicians. It's imperative that you choose your camel safari agency wisely and don't necessarily get pressured by your lodge to take their safari. Some of the more high end accommodations & Haveli's typically offer luxurious camel safaris. However many lodges will put immense pressure on you to sign up for their camel safari and if you do not, can become quite unfriendly. The good lodges typically don't engage in this type of behavior. The Mud Mirror Guest House, where we stayed in Jaisalmer, did not put any pressure to use their safari service and were super friendly regardless of what we did.
For a camel safari operator we recommended Trotters (see link below) located directly outside of the Fort wall next to the Bhang store.
Although they run a more budget/moderate price camel safari, you can pay extra for luxuries however we found the price quite reasonable at around $130 US dollars including food/guide for two people for 3 days in late September, 2013. Trotters runs safaris from 1 day - several weeks and can include options like visiting distant forts, villages, or hiring musicians/performers. Operated by a friendly Indian nicknamed Del Boy, Trotters employs excellent guides who are also amazing cooks and know a lot about the geography and local customs and history. We spent time in isolated dunes and each day rode camels for at least 4 hours through incredible landscapes. They give you the option of visiting local villages, however it's best to have your guide with you as we were harassed for money in one of these villages. Every morning and at dusk we watched the sun rise & set, beer (extra cost) was always available at the end of a long day. Sharing stories and sleeping under the stars in the desert leaves a lasting imprint in your mind.