5 Ways to Explore this Country’s Desert From the Traditional to the Extreme
If you missed your dose of exotic scenery and culture – or even winter sports adrenaline this year, one country’s desert can feed your travel imagination.
The Qatar peninsula juts a hundred miles out from the Arabian Peninsula into the Persian Gulf. Most travellers to the region focus on the thrilling, ultra-modern capital city of Doha. But most of the small country is covered by sand, from barren plains to the Khor al Adaid “Inland Sea” of rolling sand dunes where the desert meets the sea.
That’s where outdoor enthusiasts can discover their inner explorer or a whole new take on winter sports.
Instead of dressing warmly for snow-covered slopes, adventurous winter sports fans can pack their sunscreen instead. Glampers and stargazers and adventurers can uncover new horizons.
Top desert adventures in Qatar include:
Leave your winter sports comfort zone far behind sandboarding in the desert near Qatar's Inland Sea, Khor Al Adaid. You’ll never see your board the same way again after a thrilling slide down the sands in the warm Arabian breeze.
2. Dune Bashing
Dare-devils looking for a new and high-octane experience can conquer the desert dunes by machine, on a quad bike.
3. Desert Safari
Over 11-thousand square km of desert lie less than an hour away from Doha, putting a desert safari within easy reach of any visitor to the country. You can glide across the Qatari desert in air-conditioned 4x4s with a driver expert in navigating over the sand, and. for a truly unique dining experience, foodies can end their desert safari with dinner by candlelight under the stars.
(Photo credit: Vinay Swaroop Balla & Qatar National Tourism Council)
4. Camel Riding
Of course, the traditional and iconic way to transit the rolling dunes of the Arabian desert is by camelback, and it’s an experience you can still have today. Herds of camels remain in the Inland Sea area.
Culture enthusiasts can get a taste of the nomadic life of the Bedouin tribes on a camel tour of Mesaieed, or you can up the ante with a more luxurious experience glamping under the stars following a desert camel ride.
5. Arabian Nights
Sand below, and stars above. A range of astro-tourism experiences have been inspired by the starry skies of the Qatari desert.
Imagine a moon-lit camel safari and stargazing with an astronomer, with dinner by the campfire and glamping in a combination of a modern luxury meets authentic Arabian style, overlooking the Inland Sea. Or a tour of the Souq Waqif and a dinner at the spectacular Torch 360 restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the bright lights of the nighttime Doha skyline.
by Lynn Elmhirst