One of the evocative “highlights” of Rajasthan is camel trekking through the Thar Desert (through the middle of which runs the border with Pakistan). On paper, this all sounds pretty romantic but that’s without factoring in that camels can be (a) pretty grumpy (and let’s face it, quite smelly) animals and (b) pretty uncomfortable to ride leaving you feeling hobbled/walking around like John Wayne for a while following dismount.
However, obviously we are gluttons for punishment as we ended up doing 2 separate (albeit short) treks: one sunset trek from Jaisalmer and then a longer overnight trek from Bikaner.
The Thar desert is not a classic sand dune desert – instead, you end up trekking through arid scrub land with intermittent bushes and even villages and electricity pylons (there’s been a big push to modernise and even irrigate some of these outlying areas). Again this all serves as a reminder of the immense population of India (1.2 billion): you can never quite seem to get away from other people.
It has to be said that our first trek was really quite uncomfortable: while we were probably short changed in terms of the length of the trek, on balance this was a good thing. Fortunately, the saddle used on the second (and longer) trek was far more comfortable and the desert camp we stayed in was actually pretty sophisticated and even had flushing toilets – a bonus. However, lest anyone think we have gone completely soft, we were still camping but to be fair, the tent was great and had lovely thick duvets which kept us warm (it was pretty cold once the sun went down). And then there was the starlit romantic dinner for 2 ….