Khor al Adaid (Inland Sea), Qatar

Qatar Inland Sea (Khawr al Udayd)

A few weeks ago I went on my first ever Qatar Desert Safari. Travis’ sister Nicole was in town visiting us so a trip to the inland sea was a must do. I had for a while wanted to do the trip to the very southern part of Qatar, but we never got around to it (although Travis had been with his work team). A primary school friend of mine who happens to also be living and working in Qatar also joined us.

Travis had found Qatar Inbound Tours online and the driver picked us up from our desired location (our apartment complex) in a four wheel drive. The trip down south to the ‘starting point’ at Sealine Resort took about an hour. We stopped for a five minute break at the start of the dunes to allow the driver to release the pressure from the tires and gather the company’s convoy of 4WDs. Having been on a similar safari in Dubai, I knew what to expect from the dune bashing and I was a little nervous, as generally, I detest rollercoaster rides and the like.

The next two hours as we headed towards the inland sea across the dunes was filled with various levels of excitement (depending on the size and gradient of the dune) and horror – as at one point we saw a badly damaged and burnt 4WD sitting between some dunes where an adventure trip had obviously gone horribly wrong. We stopped at a few scenic places along the way and enjoyed the view and the soft breeze.

Eventually we reached the beautiful inland sea and caught our first glimpses of Saudi Arabia from afar. We stopped to take photos from the peak of a sand dune and later shared dates and Arabic tea with our drivers.

Unexpectedly, we took a relatively flat road parallel to the dunes on our way back (stopping to enjoy the sunset) which took about an hour to Sealine. It was an enjoyable day.

Burnt Land Cruiser found along the waySmall Inland LakeBrett, Nicole, Sonya and Travis
Land Cruiser descending a duneTwo of the four Land Cruiser convoyLand Cruiser convoy ascending a dune
Beach heading towards Inland SeaFrom white to blueThe Land Cruiser convoy
Travis and SonyaFour-wheel-drive tracks in the sandThe Inland Sea
Sand dunesSand dunes with many tyre tracksSand dune
Patterns in the sand caused by the windView from a sand duneView from a sand dune
Sonya on the peak of a sand duneNicole and Brett on the peak of a sand duneView from a sand dune
View from a sand duneThe convoy of Land Cruisers with the drivers have a breakA sand dune
Travis behind a sand duneA sand duneSunset in the Qatar desert

Qatar Motor Show 2012

It was again time for the Qatar Motor Show, which debuted last year, as usual there were top car makers demoing cars only a Sheikh could afford, but new this year was a drift show, a Freestyle Motocross (FMX) show and even a Formula One street demonstration.

The week leading up to the Motor Show, Shell (who recently completed the words largest GTL plant in Qatar) organised a Scuderia Ferrari Formula One street demonstration, held on the Doha corniche. After an hour or so of delays the show began, a Ferrari F2008 driven by Marc Gené, completed a number of laps, Sonya and I had never experienced the speed and noise of a F1 car before, and it was interesting trying to get good photos as it zoomed past.

In the evening Friday we decided to visit the main Motor Show, I think we went at the most crowded time, as the Qatar Exhibition Centre was packed. All the car makers were their with their luxurious makes, some of the highlights were the Porsche Panamera GTS, Audi R8 GT Spyder, Bentley Continental GTC and Lamborghini Aventador. Similar to the cars the girls were also nice eye candy.

When we left the Exhibition Centre, we couldn’t resist the noise coming from next door, we approached to find the Red Bull Outdoor Show, we waited a little while for it to start, then we were entertained with a two car drift show, the highlight being when they simultaneously drifted donuts around a camera-man. After that was the Freestyle Motocross (FMX) show, where three motocross bike riders perform jumps and stunts, the most impressive being the dangerous backflips. The highlight of the outdoor show was streetbike freestyle rider Chris Pfeiffer, who performed some amazing stunts that left you wondering how he did not lose control of the bike.

Scuderia Ferrari Formula One street demonstration
Aston Martin Virage Coupe
Ferrari 458 Spider and Ferrari FF
Lamborghini Aventador
Lamborghini Aventador
Streetbike freestyle rider Chris Pfeiffer

A day at the camel races, Qatar

With my sister visiting us, we decided to once more check out the camel races. Over a year since our last visit, this time it was a lot more organised, plenty of police, an ambulance, more Land Cruisers (the standard four-wheel-drive vehicle for Arabs) and a lot more camels, I think a lot of this was also due to a refurbished camel track. We arrived a little too early at one o’clock and as usual didn’t really know if the camel races were going to occur or even where to watch.

As it approached half past one, Land Cruisers gathered on either side of the start, and we could see camels being herded to the starting pens, and as usual, with no prior notice, the gates were opened and the camels began to race.

We watched a few starts, and even followed the Land Cruisers with our Nissan Sunny, behind the scenes in the holding pen were plenty of camels waiting their turn to race.

Camels about to start the race
And They're Off
Camels racing
Camels racing and Land Cruisers following
Racing camels
Camel and handler
Camels waiting to race
Camel with Qatari coloured harness
Camel and handler
Camels with handler after racing

To get there take Garafat Al Rayyan and Dukhan Hwy north-west for about forty kilometres and taking about forty minutes, signs will be posted once you get approach. Camel races occur on Fridays one o’clock.

Doha Zoo, Qatar

We were a little unsure about visiting the local Doha zoo, I had read a few negative reviews that claimed very poor conditions and animals mistreated, but it was new years eve, a three-day long weekend and we didn’t have too much else to do.

Entry price was five Qatari Riyal and as usual for Qatar, it was family-day, where single males were unwelcome (unless you were Caucasian of course).

First up was the a single white-tiger, which didn’t help with the zoo’s negative image, a tiny domed cage with the tiger strutting back-and-forth along the edge. You couldn’t help feel sorry for it.

Onto the birds, a much more pleasant encounter, many varieties including Grey Crowned Cranes, ducks, geese and flamingos, which we had never seen before.

Next was a lonesome elephant, the small enclosure brought the elephant only a few metres away, so close that a man was able to extend his arm with popcorn and the elephant was able to extend its trunk to grab it, and would have, if the man hadn’t been stopped by the zoo keeper. Feeding the animals was a common occurrence in this zoo.

Similarly to the elephants, the monkeys were in arms reach, however nobody seemed to mind that they were being fed, and young Qatari boys and girls were happily feeding them popcorn and biscuits, even though there was a “Don’t feed the animals” sign right above them.

The open savannah enclosures housed zebras, giraffes, deer, antelopes, and of course Oryx, one of the main reasons for the zoo visit. Surprisingly, Oryx weren’t very lively animals, preferring to laze around on the ground.

Finally, we visited the nocturnal and small animal enclosures, similarly to the other animals the animals were easily visible and accessible, however there was minimum security, and many children were banging on the glass trying to get the animals attention.

Overall the zoo was enjoyable, animals were visible and accessible, maybe too accessible in some cases, the small enclosures and children feeding them being a result of this. Unfortunately, like the rest of Qatar, Qataris are ‘above the law’, and this isn’t a good thing for the animals.

Grey Crowned CranesFlamingosFlamingos
ElephantGirl feeding monkeyBoy feeding monkey
Girl feeding monkeyCrocodileZebras
ZebraSpotted deerOryx
Sugar GliderRed-handed Tamarin Red-handed Tamarin
BatRed-handed Tamarin Meerkat