Tag Archives: Camping

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

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Camping in Qatar

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!

Tips

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.

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Awesome Sunsets

I am not the greatest photographer on the planet, however, when I see something I like I try to capture its beauty as best I can and making the best of the equipment I have, after all, I am an estate agent (of sorts) and not a photographer!

Sunset Over our Compound DSC05307

One of the (many) things that has impressed the hell out of me since arriving in Qatar 3 weeks ago (to the day) is the amazing sunsets. As you can imagine, living in the desert (sort of outskirts of desert I should say) there aren’t many clouds out here. In saying that, I did see a cloud yesterday, if I hadn’t been driving at the time, I would have stopped to take a photo of it! Interestingly enough (to me anyway) even though there’s a distinct lack of clouds, there’s also a distinct lack of blue skies too. Don’t get me wrong, the skies are sort of clue, but not the blindingly dazzling blue skies you see in southern Spain where it takes a few days for your eyes to become used to it’s sheer brightness. One explanation I had from a friend in New Zealand is that due to the sand blowing from the desert in every direction it “dulls” the bright blue. Judging by the amount of dust on the car every morning, this does make a lot of sense.

As I walked out of our compound yesterday, I took the opportunity to take a photo of the sunset, remarkably enough, this is quite early as most of you who follow this blog would have hear me say in the past. I took these photos from our compound yesterday at around 17:30!

Camping

As lovers of the great outdoors, we have brought our camping gear over, I am saying we have brought in a futuristic sense as it is all in our shipment which we are hoping will be here sometime in November or December. By then, temperatures would have dropped considerably, therefore making it it very pleasurable experience. I just need to find somewhere to go camping!

Shipment IMG_20140729_113945

Along with our shipment is my tool kit (which I really missed when I was trying to assemble an Ikea desk by trying to use a pint glass as a hammer and a knife for a screwdriver, eventually leading to asking to borrow some tools from someone in the compound) – My tool kit has traveled everywhere with me, from UK to Spain, to Bulgaria, back to Spain and now it is sitting in storage somewhere in…… I have no idea, it could be Spain or UK as our shipment is coming via the UK. As well as my precious tool kit, I also have my bike in our shipment, I must admit I can’t wait to have it here and go out with Kati around the compound. It is such a safe environment it is a great place for her to finally learn to ride properly and to get rid of the training wheels! I think we’ve forgotten what else is in our shipment apart from loads of Katja’s toys, some paintings we bought in Morocco, books and goodness knows what else. I guess it may save us some money on Christmas presents as it will be abit of a surprise as to what turns up, we can always treat is a Christmas presents!

If you’ve read some of my other posts you have probably guessed I am a master when it comes to going off at a tangent from the original topic, I think I have more than demonstrated this in this posting! Anyway, enough from me for today, time to get some work done while Cathy pops into school and then off to a Birthday party! Enjoy the weekend, we already started ours!