Autumn/ winter time is peak season for those who enjoy the great outdoors and camping. Supermarkets are full of camping gear (at very reasonable prices).
We discussed the idea of going camping with a few people on Thanksgiving and then had a couple more people join in. Including someone who had been camping in Qatar before. We agreed to go Thursday 11th December, the person who had been camping before was to be the leader as he knew where we were going. A couple of days before hand Cathy had a chat with people and we all sorted out what we were bringing as well as a meeting point etc etc. We met at the small mall near us at the agreed time but due to a few delays we didn’t get to leave until 16:15, this meant that wherever we were heading to, it would be dark by the time we got there but that wasn’t a big problem.
We made our way out of Doha towards Dukhan, as soon as we had cleared the roadworks we were on this fabulous 5 lane motorway pretty much all to ourselves! Light soon started fading away. We arrived in Zekreet at around 17:15 hrs (pitch black). We quickly set out to pitch our tents and get everything ready. In total we went as a convoy of 4 4×4’s, I will come to some useful tips in a bit. There were 3 tents, 2 x people sleeping in one car and one person sleeping under the stars. As we were pitching our tents (including mattresses, pillows and duvets) the person sleeping under the stars set up the camp fire. In no time we were all set and ready to enjoy our beautiful surroundings. We had stopped on the edge of a desert track near a permanent camp-site on the beach (some safety tips on this later).
In no time we were cooking a wide variety of food we had brought with us, we had the camp fire, BBQ, disposable BBQ and a gas stove all on the go. After a hearty dinner we sat around the camp fire chatting and playing games until late in the night. Whilst doing this we could see the most amazing moon coming up, starting as a red(ish) colour and then turning bright white, it was simply awesome.
As the fire died down you could feel a chill in the air plus it was quite windy too; we went off to our tent (Katja fell asleep a bit earlier) to try and get some sleep. The way we had arranged it worked out quite well. We were using a cheap tent we bought from Carrefour which is single skin. This led to our first minor inconvenience. Due to the high humidity, everything inside the tent felt damp! The wind really picked up and the tent was flapping all over the place which kept us awake most of the night! The girls in one of the other tents ended up “sleeping” in their car.
We got up at around 5am (note I didn’t say woke up), the wind was still blowing but not as badly as before. We heated some water for coffee and tea as well as made some fried egg sandwiches. We were privileged to watch one of the most beautiful sunrises we have ever seen.
People were soon up and about, due to our laxk of sleep, we decided to head back home in the morning. Katja enjoyed playing on the beach with her bucket and spade and thoroughly enjoyed her first camping trip (she was the only one that slept). We absolutely loved the trip (even if it was a little short), so much so we are now planning the next one, hopefully with many more people!
I’m sure there are dozens of tips which people can add, however, these are my tips from our experience:
1) Travel as a group
2) If stopping near a track or a road, park your cars in a way that they protect your tents from driver’s who may not see you.
3) If camping near a track, set out your emergency triangles a short distance from where you are to warn drivers.
4) If you take children, make sure they have a luminous arm bracelet or similar, the area is pitch black and children can get lost easily.
5) Take plenty of rubbish bags and make sure you leave the place as you find it or even better than the way you find it. All these areas are simply stunning and people’s left-overs ruin it for everyone else!
6) Enjoy and experience this magical place.