Thursday, February 24, 2011

Driving Adventures Around Qatar

It is possible to drive around the whole country of Qatar in just a few hours. No need to worry about getting lost as there aren't too many roads and besides, all roads lead to Doha. (Except one to Saudi...)

Along the roads there were old houses and camels!

First stop: Al Zubara Fort

Zubara Fort is smack in the centre of what was the commercial and pearling port in the 18th and 19th centuries, when Qatar was under the rule of Al Khalifa (now the ruling family in Bahrain). The fort itself was built in 1938 and used by the armed forces well into the 1980s. Now it is a museum, open from 8am-1pm and 4pm-7pm Sunday-Thursday, 4pm-7pm on Friday, with entrance by donation of QR1-2. It houses pottery and archaeology exhibits that have, sadly, been overshadowed since the Museum of Islamic Art opened. However, the real draw is the strikingly bleak and austere views from the battlements.

Next: Bir Zekreet

Qatar isn’t exactly mountainous, which makes Zekreet stand out even more. It’s like an encyclopedia of the different landscapes a desert can produce, with limestone escarpments rising out of the sand. Over time the wind and elements have shaped the limestone into interesting formations, including pillars and one that’s often called ‘the mushroom’. It’s a great place to camp or just see on the way to the beach.

Bir Zekreet

Third: Dukhan Beach

With beautiful, shallow waters, rocky cliffs and stunning vistas, as well as more than a few private nooks and crannies for perfect beaching, Dukhan is a treasure trove of rocks, shells and sea life to fascinate kids and the young-at-heart. While it’s not all perfect white sand beaches for sunbathing, it is loads of fun and, with no designated areas, it’s great for bringing a picnic and a crowd.

shells at Dukhan Beach
The shells at Dukhan Beach were gorgeous and stunning.  There were so many swirly shells of all colors.

Dukhan Mosque
There is not much in Dukhan.  A mosque, McDonald's, an Indian restaurant, and Qatar Petroleum.

Umm Bab Beach
Last stop: Umm Bab

Umm Bab Beach was not very exciting except for a few trees.  Not a good spot for swimming or tanning as it was too swampy for a beach.

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