Exploring nature in Qatar at the Al Thakira mangroves

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Ashlee

By Ashlee Starratt

 As a peninsular country, Qatar’s geography is somewhat of a paradox – sand and desert surrounded by water. Aside from it’s 563 km of coastline, the Gulf waters continually find ways to penetrate its arid perimeter – from the largest inlet of Khor al Adaid, also known as the Inland Sea, to the serpentine estuaries of the Al Thakira mangroves, sand, sea, and sky meet to sustain the nation’s bio-diverse flora and fauna.

 Here, in our latest video, it’s Al Thakira where we’re headed, as the ILQ team gets up with the sun, hitting the road to beat the tide with Aqua Sports Qatar (ASQ) – one of Qatar’s top watersports adventure outfitters. The early start is to maximize the cooler morning temperatures and, let’s face it, the high tide waits for no one!

 As we navigate the dense canals of the mangroves, paddles synchronized, ASQ owner and adventure guide Boyd Taylor and his team leads us on the way, explaining the mangroves’ natural history, their purpose in the ecosystem, and what plant and wildlife can be spotted. Though they’ve already took wing on their seasonal migration route, Taylor explains that one of the tours they offer takes paddlers to a mangrove beach island where flocks of flamingoes can be found roosting on their migratory stopover.

 On our trip, the mangroves were quiet – though we could hear the calls of different birds nesting or hidden in their tangled roots. We also saw some purple crabs, and small minnows. A popular fishing and boating spot, the Al Thakira mangrove site, and the bay surrounding it, are often subject to community beach clean-up initiatives – so remember folks, the golden rule of the outdoors – leave the place in better condition than what you found it.

 In addition to their kayaking excursions Aqua Sports Qatar also offers MIA/Dhow Harbour paddling tours, stand-up paddling excursions to the mangroves and off the shores of MIA Park, overnight camping trips and team-building expeditions, children’s educational programs, and kite-surfing excursions. To learn more about ASQ, check them out here.

 We’re also giving a huge shoutout to Qatar Optics for providing the team with some stylish shades to protect our eyes from those harsh UV rays on our kayaking trip. Plus, we’ll be giving away some vouchers on behalf of Qatar Optics so head over to our ILQ Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels to find out how to enter to win!

 Where are your favourite nature escapes in Qatar? Tell us, where and why in the comments below and don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!