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 – taking place during the country’s cooler and more pleasant weather. However, this year’s winter camping season 2023–24 began on 1 November 2023 and will conclude on 30 April 2024, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Registration for camps is necessary during the winter camping season. Registration for booking spaces for the six-month long 2023–24 winter camping season opened on 22 October and closed on 31 October for all designated areas. Registration for central regions took place from 22 to 24 October, registration for the southern regions were open from 25 to 27 October; and registration for northern regions took place from 28 to 31 October.
Registrations can be done electronically through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change website mme.gov.qa and its mobile app, Oun, as well as through government service centres across the country. According to the Ministry, more than 2,000 camps are booked annually during the camping season.
Campers can book camps in at least 17 areas, including Sealine, Al Shamal, Al Zubara, Dukhan, Zekreet, Al Khor, Khor Al Adaid, Al Waab, Fuwairit, Al Mazrooah, Al Maroona, Al Ghariya and more. Camping in some areas run for a specific time.
Depending on the area, applicants can pay anything from QAR3,000 to QAR10,000, in addition to refundable security money, which will be refunded after the camping season comes to an end.
For example, 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.
Applicants should be Qatari citizens aged 25 or above, and should adhere strictly to camping terms and conditions, and follow environmental protection laws.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has introduced measures against violators to protect and clean the environment in cooperation with working observers. As an incentive aimed at pushing campers to preserve the environment, the ministry launched the Best Camp Award during the 2022–23 winter camping season.
The camping areas are still open to the public to camp, swim, beach, barbecue and more. 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 excursions, which include food and beverages, meals, entertainment and other activities. The excursions can be arranged via a hotel or through any local tour company.
Explore Local Tour Companies in Sightseeing: Traditions and Tours.
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.
Hamad 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
• 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.
• 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.
Note: The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has the right to carry out inspections to ensure compliance with prescribed precautionary measures.
Author: Ola Diab
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