Tag Archives: al khor

Our First Winter in Qatar

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get”.
Mark Twain

Winter!!! IMG_0923

As I sit behind my desk feeling quite smug about being able to wear shorts and T-shirt pretty much year round, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit sorry for our friends in Spain who are currently experiencing a rather chilly winter, this includes snow not a million miles from where we used to live.

It’s a little bit strange living in a country where winter doesn’t really exist, after all; so far the lowest temperature we have seen has been 12 degree and that was yesterday morning. In having said that, 12 degrees does feel quite chilly (but not cold enough not to wear shorts). One theory behind why when you live in hot climates you tend to feel the cold more is that in the heat,your blood thins and this leads to feeling the cold more (anyone care to correct me, please feel free to do so!).

Winter in Qatar is pretty much opposite to most other parts of the world. it’s a season in which we get to enjoy the great outdoors and do things you wouldn’t do in the summer due to the extreme heat.

Canoeing in the Mangroves 10615439_10205456283504756_6213885034611703528_n

Last Friday (the day after we arrived from Australia), a group of friends and us went canoeing in the mangroves near Al Khor. The water was cooler than in summer (of course) but you could hardly say it was cold. We set off from Al Khor marina and drove through the desert for approximately 30 minutes. we reached an area where there were several Qatari campsites as well as our location for launching the canoes. Cathy took Katja on one, the idea was she (Katja) goes out with one and comes back with the other. As is the case in most parts of the coast here, the sea was lovely and flat, ideal for canoeing. We headed towards the mangroves and canoed around the canals enjoying the wildlife which can be found within this relatively fragile eco-system. we reached a point in which we all stopped for a rest as well as a paddle in the shallow waters. After this, we headed back to our starting point and had a picnic on the beach. It was a very pleasant and enjoyable way to spend a winter’s day in Qatar!

Looking at the forecast for next week it looks like daytime temperatures are on the rise once more so no need for us to get our winter clothes out just yet, daytime temperatures by then end of next week are back up to high 20’s!


Camping on Purple Island

One (of the many) way to make me happy, is to send me a text out of the blue asking me if I want to go camping. Too right I do (and I am speaking on behalf of all three of us). A couple of days ago I received a text asking if we would like to go camping, of course, we said yes, straight away!

A few days ago I received a text asking if we would like to go camping. Being lovers of the great outdoors and enjoying every bit of the Qatari winter, we jumped at the opportunity to spend some time under the stars but also to make new friends. we have only just come back from our last camping and we enjoyed it so much, we were keen to go out again.

On the Sunday we met up to collect some wood (after all, you can’t go camping and not have an open fire!). We are blessed to live in what perhaps can be deemed to be the world’s largest (and fastest) building site, all we had to do is drive a few hundred yards and chuck some wood in the back of the car.

We met up on Monday at 12:45 and headed out of Doha direction Al Khor to stay on Purple Island. Having done a little research, the island received its name from the dye from snails which can be found locally (this I read on some blog or another). It took around 45 minutes to get to our destination. We left the cars in the “car park”, it was more like a patch of desert; the remainder of the trip would have to be done by foot, it was only between 5 and 10 minutes from the car. The fact that the main area is only accessible by foot is the best and perhaps the worst part of it. When I say worst, I mean that very loosely as it just adds to the fun, but as when we go camping we tend to go over the top with what we take, meant that we had to do several trips to the car and then the same again when we packed the car. Being inaccessible by car is the best bit as it means that you feel safe as there aren’t any 4×4’s tearing around the place and kids can run around, play and feel safe. To reach the island you need to cross a couple of fords (and I don’t mean the cars!), at low tide, this is no major problem, however at high tide it means getting your shoes wet! We visited the island December 22nd, arriving at around 13:30 and the tide was low, when we tried crossing it the next day at 07:00 hrs it was knee deep (but the water was very pleasant). Trying to get the tents up was “fun” as it was pretty windy, fortunately, the wind died down so it wasn’t too bad. We then went out to explore this beautiful area. Basically, Purple Island is where the desert and mangroves (swamp) meet the sea. The area is green and full of wildlife, even for an ornothologically (I know there’s no such word) challenged person like me, I was amazed by the variety of (feathered) birds! we spent the evening chatting around the camp fire while the kids played happily, I would call that a win, win situation. When you live in a city like Doha, one of the nicest things one could wish for is to see the stars and lights at a distance, a chance to see some greenery and some wildlife, a place where you can get away from it all, somewhere you can feel complete peace and tranquility; this is certainly a great place which comes mighty close to all this!

Once the last bits of wood burnt out we headed to our tents, the sound of nothing was quite deafening but beautiful (this was interrupted by the occasional plane and a helicopter at 05:00 hrs). We all got up fairly early and re-lit the camp fire with some bits of wood I had found. It was sad to leave this place after such a short visit, but great to know it’s on our doorstep and accessible whenever we want to go back!

Kati said that her favourite part of the trip was telling made up stories in the tent in the morning watching the sunrise.

Purple Island Camping Trip