Date Visited: 24/06/2017
Camel Safari through the deserts of India
No sooner had I thrown my leg over the resting camels back, our guide commanded the beast to its feet. I was thrown in massive lurch forward, the camel grunted as its back feet lifted, a jolt, then another lift and all four feet were standing, I was up. Bianca’s camel behind let out a similar snort as it found its feet.
We sat high on a colourful and comfortable padding, as we began our camel safari. For two hours the giant Indian camels trudged us through desert brush. An amazing experience in itself, yet this was only the beginning.
In the two hours we saw springbok like deer grazing and prancing, blue belly lizards and had our first encounter with the desert dogs. The desert brush and low trees disappeared when we reached large rolling sand dunes. A little further into the dunes and we arrived at a small campfire.
“We had assumed we would tack onto a larger safari group for the night, but the group was nowhere to be seen.”
It was simply Bianca and I along with three locals who began cooking our dinner as we wandered along the dunes to watch a beautiful desert sun set. We noticed the desert dogs closing in with the sent of food. On our return we joined in making some roti bread (similar to naan) and asked our questions about life in the desert and the dogs. Aside from the camel safari tours, the men worked hard as goat farmers or collected and shaped large rocks for buildings. Back breaking stuff… it gave us a warmth to know this tourism has provided an alternative pathway for these people to earn a living. As for the dogs, they come and go as they please, friendly and fed by locals during the day in a nearby village, they came to the cooler dunes at night-time to sleep, and if lucky get some tourist leftovers.
“We ate a beautiful Rajasthan curry and settled in as darkness descended.”
Our bed was prepared atop of the tallest dune. No hut or tent, just out in the open. The temperature had cooled into the high 20s, a comfortable temperature with a soft breeze or natures AC as the locals laughed. They gathered around as the first stars above began to shine and started to sing their native songs. We clapped and beat the drums in a true pinch-yourself special moment.
It felt like the dogs were there to protect us as they settled into their sandy beds in the dunes and soon we tucked ourselves into ours. We lay awake. On a moonless night the milkyway was revealed in its glistening beauty brighter than one can imagine. After a long while of star gazing, we drifted off.
A lazy wake up included fruit and chai from the comfort of our desert bed before our camels returned us to civilisation.