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Posted On: 16 February 2016 01:32 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:55 pm

The Qatari Winter Survival Guide

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Winter is coming. Wait, really? It’s February now and we are expecting it to get warmer with every day. Instead we get winter. While no one signed up for the low temperatures and we just want to skip to warmer spring days, we can also just make the best of it and try to enjoy the rare wintery days as much as we can! Qatar isn’t the obvious winter destination but there are some tips from our Qatari experts on how to survive and revive in the cooler months. Here is what Qataris do in the winter!

1. Go to desert camps

Many in the local community go to the desert camps that are particularly popular during the winter when it isn’t too hot. Qataris go with their friends and families to the tents that are as big as small houses and enjoy hot beverages, play board games, volleyball, card games or ping-pong and have BBQs. So grab your camping chairs, portable BBQ, sufficient entertainment and your loved ones to spend the day in the desert. The bigger the group, the better!

2. Visit a farm house

@Muhammed Salih photo taken at Irkaya Farm - Qatar

The same as in the desert camps is also done at Qataris’ friends’ farm houses with the additional joy of petting and playing with the animals. Goats, chickens and rabbits are especially cuddly in the winter and children love animals. A nice farm that is open to the public is Al Dosari Zoo and Game Reserve in Ash- Shahaniyah with tigers, lions, camels ostriches, emus and deer where you can also have a family BBQ.

3. Brew some Arabic Coffee


It’s not as hard as it looks. You can actually buy freshly ground Arabic coffee with cardamom in shops like Al Rifai in Doha’s malls. The secret is to cook it for around 10 minutes and let it set for some time as well. Served in the tiny coffee cups, it warms your stomach and your hands.

4. Lounge at terrace coffee shops


Meet with your friends when the cold days have you feeling down. Put on the extra layer and enjoy Qatar’s many cafés and coffee shops that have outdoor seating. Embrace the weather and breathe cool air while sipping hot chocolate or tea. Souq waqif is a great spot with almost every restaurant and café having outdoor seating. Or grab a coat and karak and take a walk in Katara.

5. Go fishing

Fishing is an old tradition that is very enjoyable during the winter. The best time to go fishing is Fajr early in the morning. Fishing is fun if you are patient and there is nothing better than enjoying fresh seafood. Furthermore, fishing is a great bonding activity and can be quite therapeutic.

6. Start a bonfire


Bonfires are a must when trying to get cozy during cold nights. You can have one at your desert camp, at a farmhouse, at the beach, or your garden. Build a small fire and enjoy the warmth of the flames in the night. Just remember to put safety first.

7. Focus on some gardening



Winter is also the perfect time to get to some gardening. Plant pretty flowers to brighten your day, vegetable or fruit trees and bushes for your own homegrown delicacies and get rid of the stubborn weeds. Get everything ready to bloom before the hot summer days don’t allow for long days in the garden.

8. Think about others



In Qatar’s culture it is important to give. If you are feeling cold during winter in Qatar, there are bound to be others in the region and the world that are also cold. Think about those that don’t have a home to protect them from weather and wind. Donate clothes, food and more to local charities to make a difference for a person struggling with the cold.

9. Ice-skating



We often forget about ice-skating when we you can ice-skate in several malls in every season. Even City Center, one of the oldest shopping malls has an ice rink. It’s super fun, super wintery and almost tradition in Qatar. Grab your family, siblings, cousins, friends, and enjoy the winter sport maybe in the Magical Festival Village for the ultimate wintery outdoor ice-skating experience.

10. Go hunting


@Matthew Cassel Photography

Hunting is another common winter activity among Qataris. It is often accompanied by loyal dogs and sharp eyed falcons. Al Gannas society trains these falcons and has many events to attend by the public. For some shooting exercise or just for fun you can go to the shooting range with your friends in Lusail. Who can get the most clay pigeons? This is an exhilarating activity that will not fail to warm you up.

In Qatar it is absolutely vital to savor the cold days we have before the arrival of summer. These are the days we will miss the most when even a trip from your front door to the car leaves you overheating. Qataris have had a lifetime of getting used to the heat, and they know just how much to enjoy and make use of the cold days. So go out, stay out and show off your skills to master winter survival. Even with snow, you will be prepared and be able to offer anyone your freshly cooked Arabic coffee.