Overnight camping in the desert is a great way for the whole family to escape the big city life, spend more time outdoors, unwind, relax and enjoy the starry sky and sandy beaches. And what better way to “set the kids free” and let them run around, play in the water and create their own fun while you prepare the fire for the BBQ later.
Camping season is now well under way and generally at its best between November and April.
Depending on the size of your family and type of car you drive you might think that this experience is not possible for you to enjoy but we have compiled a few pointers and tips which will help you to go out on your first camping trip in Qatar!
– There are no official camping sites with public facilities unless you book through one of the many tour operators that take you to one of their permanent tented camping sites which is also normally fully catered for.
– There are basically two types of camping spots: Sedan-friendly and Off-road (4×4 required).
– Most people typically only camp for one night although two nights are possible.
– When camping in Qatar you need to take everything with you as very few places are anywhere near a shop, or even other people (but that is also the beauty of it!).
– Fill up your tank with fuel before departing on your trip as well as before entering the desert, because you won’t find any fuel stations nearby either!
– Two are always better than one! When camping out in the desert try to go in a group. A seasoned camper that knows the GPS coordinates of good camping spots is always a good friend to have by your side.
– When picking your camping spot, pay attention to tide lines so you don’t get caught halfway through the night with water around you.
– Shallow water is normally more child friendly for them to splash around in.
– Leave only footprints and nothing else…
A recent article published on www.dohafamily.com found the following camping sites for families to enjoy. Some spots are more accessible than others and you will soon find that these are also more crowded, so do take that in consideration when planning your camping trip.
If you are a “water-baby” and enjoy spending time in the water, remember to take your kayak, stand-up paddleboard or kite surf along to the Fuwairit or Zekreet camping spots as these are known for these types of activities as well.
Sedan camping spots—accessible by all cars
- Wakrah Family Beach (25.131696, 51.616726)
Fenced beach area for families, toilets and kids’ playground, shallow water, crowded on weekends.
- Umm Bab Family Beach (25°01’45.6″N 50°48’21.1″E)
Fenced beach area for families, toilets and kids’ playground, shallow water, very private.
- Dukhan Family Beach (25.426940, 50.757613)
Park away from the beach, usually crowded on weekends.
- Zekreet Village (25°29’24.8″N 50°50’31.2″E)
Shallow water, flat beach, good for camping, empty with some cars passing near you.
- Fuwairit North (26°02’11.9″N 51°22’09.4″E)
Camp next to the turtle area, soft sand, good beach, usually crowded on weekends.
- Ghariya (26°04’19.2″N 51°21’32.7″E)
Soft sand, good beach, can become very crowded
Offroad Camping Spots — you’ll need a 4×4
Camp between cliffs, amazing scenery, very private, near Zekreet coast guard.
- Fuwairit South (26.024485, 51.382527)
Camp at the far right side of Fuwairit beach after the turtle spot, soft sand and possible mud, usually crowded on weekends.
- Fuwairit Cliffs (26°02’25.4″N 51°22’03.3″E)
Camp on the left side of the turtle spot, includes driving on cliffs and rocks, semi-private.
- Sealine South (24°50’06.8″N 51°30’13.1″E)
Good beach, good water, not many campers, but a lot of cars will be passing by.
- Southwest Inland Sea (24°34’44.2″N 51°20’06.9″E)
Great beach and water. It’s secluded location keeps it from getting crowded despite it being a well-known camping spot.
- Southeast Inland Sea(24°34’40.0″N 51°21’50.7″E)
Good beach, best swimming water in Qatar, overlooking Saudi mountains on the other side of the water less than one kilometre away.
- North Inland Sea(24°39’04.8″N 51°25’43.9″E)
Good beach, amazing water, possible jellyfish depending on the season, famous camping and fishing spot, usually empty.
What to Pack and What to Eat?
The more you camp, the more you learn which items are essential and what you can do without. Ensuring your tent is big enough to fit your whole family is of course essential, so you might want to test it beforehand. If there are four of you, you can look at using a six-man tent to create more space. Sleeping bags, small pillow and air mattress is basically all that you’ll need to fall asleep.
Camping chairs, table, beach canopy, barbecue, charcoal briquettes and some cooking utensils are more or less what you will use during the day. Don’t forget your swimsuits, towels, some toilet paper, sunscreen, first aid kit and torch or flashlight for the evenings.
A fully stocked cooler with enough water and drinks for all will be crucial, but don’t forget to pack some meat for the barbeque (sausage, kebabs or a juicy piece of steak works well). A valuable tip is to pre-pack some snacks as well as prepare a pasta salad or similar at home for dinner. For breakfast you can bring along your favourite pastries or if you really feel like it you can boil a few eggs early morning! The trick is to keep it simple.
Safety Advice When Camping Out in the Desert
Always ensure your car is in good working condition before entering the desert. Deflate your tires so you have better traction on the sand and if you do not have a pump to re-inflate your tires, the shop just outside the entrance to Sealine Resort will inflate it again for you for a small fee.
The Inland Sea area is possibly your busiest area during camping season so investing in reflectors to highlight your campsite for late-night drivers is advised. Mobile phone car charger or additional battery packs will also be handy when you are planning to stay for longer than a day. It is also wise to pack some extra non-perishables for the car like granola bars, crisps; anything that can last a few days without needing to be cooled should you get lost or stuck in the desert.
Save the following numbers on your phone: Police, (999) and the Fazat Mawater rescue team (+974 7710-9999, +974 5581-6060, +974 3334-4622). These are the numbers to call in case of an emergency in the desert.
So if you are still wondering what to do this upcoming weekend with you family, why not treat them to a camping experience in the Qatar desert or along the coastline. It is such a great way for everyone to kick off their shoes, sit back, relax and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle!
Words by:Eulogy van Dyk