Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, your Qatar experience will not be complete if you haven’t tried camping in the country’s vast desert area. You can opt to go for a day tour or an overnight camp, and get the chance to spend some time in the outback.
However, don’t be surprised if Qatar-style desert camping is not at all usual. While it indeed has the word ‘camping’ in it, anything remotely related to ‘crude’ or ‘back-to-basics’ is out of the question. Tour companies abound and for a reasonable fee, you can go camping in style.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, CHOOSE A TOUR COMPANY. Here are three options.
Qatar International Adventures offer local tour packages along with a host of other services that also provide insight into the spices and diversity of Arab culture. Arabian Adventures Qatar is all about ‘adventure’, and they offer a reasonable package that gives you various options along the way. Your adventure, as they say, begins as soon as you are picked up for the tour. Qatar International Tour promises a memorable experience with some of the most personable tour guides in the country.
More useful information available through this link: Camping in the Desert.
THINGS YOU CAN DO IN A DESERT CAMP
Some people may have been satisfied with just stargazing and telling scary stories around a bonfire while camping, but this is not how it’s like when you go for a desert camp in Qatar. There is the usual barbeque and bonfire, and a tent (a bit more elaborate tent), but there is also dune bashing and snowboarding, and driving around in an all terrain vehicle (ATV).
Dune bashing is quite popular among big car driving enthusiasts (you need large sports utility vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruiser for this). While it requires a certain level of driving expertise to be able to pull off a successful ‘dune bashing’, it does excite beyond reason, whether you’re in the driver seat or just happily riding along. Tour drivers usually give desert campers a dune bashing ‘sampler’ drive on the way to the camp.
More information through this link.
Snowboarding or more accurately, sandboarding, is the newest craze in Qatar. It supposedly evolved from combining surfing and skateboarding, but instead of doing it in snow, in Qatar you get to do it around the vast expanse of the desert over the sand dunes! You’ll have to inform your tour company beforehand if you want to have some sandboarding action while in camp!
Camel rides make the desert experience quite authentic. If you want to go on a camel ride in the desert, you need to request from your tour company earlier so that they can arrange it for you.
Usual camping would have you dining on some ready-to-eat, out-of-the-can meal, but this is not your usual barbeque. In Qatar, depending on your preference, you’ll be dining on a full course barbeque meal with fresh meats and everything else on the side. Portable airconditioners are also provided inside tents to keep everyone comfortable.
Additional tip: the best time for any desert camping adventures in Qatar is from October until around early May. Make sure you carry warm clothes, its very cold in the desert in this season.
With the sands and the stars to keep you company, this Qatar-style camping experience can drastically change your stereotypical fantasies about surviving the Middle East desert.