Camping season is here! As cooler weather approaches, camping trips are an ideal getaway from the city. 

The annual winter camping season usually begins in October and concludes in March during the country’s cooler and more pleasant weather.

Registration for camps is necessary during the winter camping season. Usually open from October to December, registrations can be done electronically through the Ministry of Municipality website and its mobile app, Oun, as well as through government service centres across the country. According to the Ministry of Municipality, more than 2,000 camps are booked annually during every camping season. 

Campers can book camps in a total of 17 areas, including Sealine, Al Shamal, Al Zubara, Dukhan, Zekreet, Al Khor, Khor Al Adaid, Al Waab, Fuwairit, Al Mazrooah, Al Ghariya and more.

Registration for the winter camps open in phases, depending on the area. Registration for camp sites in Al Shamal, Al Ghashamiyah, Sealine, Ras Matbakh, Arida, Zekreet, Al Naqiyan, Al Kharara, Ashiraj, Al Sariyah, and Umm Al Maa open during Phase 1. Applicants pay QAR10,000 as security, which will be refunded after the camping season. The regular charges in Al Shamal, Al Ghashamiyah, and Al Naqiyan are QAR3,000. Campers interested in Ras Matbakh, Arida, Zekreet, Sealine, Ashiraj, and Umm Al Maa will have to pay QAR10,000. Camping in these areas run for a specific time. 

Registration for camp sites in Al Reem Reserve, Al Marona, Al Mazrooah, Umm Al Aafa’i, Al Hasham, Abu Zahlof, Al Zubara, Al Udaid, Al Khuraij South, and Bu Samra open during Phase 2. Applicants will have to pay QAR3,000 for camping in Al Mazrouah, Umm Al Aafa’i, and Al Hasham. However, those who want to camp in Al Reem Reserve, Al Maroona, Abu Zahlof, Al Zubara, Al Udaid, Al Khuraij South, and Bu Samra pay QAR10,000 as charges in addition to QAR10,000 refundable security money. Camping in these areas run for a specific time.  

Phase 3 includes camping registration in Rawdat Rashed, Rawdat Aisha, Al Khor, Al Waab, Imgaitna,
Al Ghariya, Al Mafjar, Ras Al Nouf, Al Otouriyah, Al Sane’ah, and Al Rees West. Applicants will be charged QAR3,000 for camping in Rawdat Rashed, Rawdat Aisha, Al Khor, Al Waab, Imgaitna, Otouryah, Al Sane’ah, and Al Rees West. Campers who register for Al Ghariya, Al Mufair and Ras Al Nouf will have to pay QAR10,000 as charges in addition to the refundable security money. Camping in these areas run for a specific time.  

Applicants should be Qatari citizens aged 25 or above, and should adhere strictly to camping terms and conditions, and follow environmental protection laws. 

All these areas are still open to the public with beaches and entertainment for all. Non-Qatari residents and visitors are allowed to set-up their own short-term desert camps with makeshift tents. However, camping RVs, vans, trailers and other forms of long-term desert camps are not allowed without a licence or registration. In addition, many local tour companies and some hotels organise full-day, half-day and evening sightseeing excursions, including food and beverages, meals, and activities and other entertainment. The excursions can be arranged via a hotel or through any of the leading local tour companies. See Sightseeing in the Discovering Qatar section.

The Ministry of Municipality has introduced measures against violators to protect and clean the environment in cooperation with working observers. In addition, the ministry has launched the Best Camp Award as an incentive aimed at pushing the camps to preserve the environment. 

Sealine or Mesaieed Beach

Home to the Sealine Beach, a Murwab Resort and Qatar’s popular sand dunes, Sealine or Mesaieed is the most popular desert and beach destination in winter and throughout the year. It’s also the most popular destination for camping with most tourist or adventure companies setting up camp there. 

This is where people can spend a day, a night or more to enjoy the outdoors by swimming, sand duning or bashing, bonfires, barbecues and more.

The Sealine Medical Clinic is supported by HMC’s Ambulance ServiceHamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has a medical clinic at Sealine, which has been operating for more than 10 years. The easily-accessible Sealine Medical Clinic is located on the main road adjacent to the busy beach, resort, mosque, shopping area, and other services and amenities in the area. 

HMC’s fleet is ready to respond to all emergency calls from campers at Mesaieed during the camping season. HMC’s 4×4 ambulances have been modified to cope with the special terrain at Mesaieed, to enable them to reach patients safely and swiftly.

The clinic operates from 3 pm on Thursday until 5 pm on Saturday throughout the camping season. 

Camping Dos and Donts
• As per the rules and regulations, camps should have numbers, which are issued by the Ministry of Municipality. The numbers should be displayed prominently in at least A4 size. Campers are required to show their licences to the inspectors whenever needed and allow them to inspect the premises to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.

• Campers should also strictly adhere to provisions of laws and ministerial decisions, especially those related to protecting the environment.

• Campers should adhere to the country’s environmental protection laws, and preserve marine and coastal environment. 

• Campers should cooperate with patrolling units. The licencee of the camp bears full responsibility for the camp, and the safety and security of people and properties inside the camp. In addition, there should be security guards at large camps.

• The licence issued to a camper is for personal use. Campers are not allowed to rent their camp or the location of their camp to others. 

• It is prohibited to use the camp for other activities, other than camping.

• It is prohibited to use materials which are harmful to the environment. 

The Ministry of Municipality has the right to carry out inspections to ensure compliance with prescribed precautionary measures.

COVID-19 precautions
• The Ministry of Municipality has issued COVID-19 precautionary measures for winter camping season, banning the entry of infected or suspected cases of coronavirus in camps.

• It is mandatory for all campers to download and activate the Ehteraz mobile app and not allow anyone without the app or ‘green’ status in their camp. 

• Campers should follow the guidelines and policies related to the prevention and preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining social distancing, and wearing face masks. 

• Campers should take suspected people with COVID-19 symptoms to health centres designated for that category as soon as symptoms appear.

Author: Ola Diab

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