The best time to explore and enjoy Qatar’s desert is through camping in winter, when the weather is cool -- even cold. Any time from November to March is best, and you can enjoy camping as well as camel rides, swimming, and sand-boarding, among other activities with friends and family. Popular camping destinations across the country are Rawdat Rashis, Rawdat Aisha, Sealine, and Umm Al Afaee.
However, camping isn't just about hopping into your vehicle with a tent and taking off. Like any outdoor activity, proper precautions must be taken and all necessities, especially medicines and first-aid kits must be on-hand in case of any emergency.
The Ministry of Interior has issued an advisory with guidelines on safe camping to help make your trip more enjoyable and hassle-free.
(Image credit: MOI-Qatar)
Your tent should be made of materials that are resistant to fire, heat, salinity, and cold. A minor fire could lead to a conflagration and spread.
(Photo credit: Shutterstock
It's advised to keep at least a five-meter distance between two tents, and the cooking area or fire-pit should be placed a far away to ensure fire doesn't spread to the living areas. Be careful when setting up lighting and heaters. Portable propane stoves should be turned off when not in use, fuel canisters should be stored safely, and smoking in areas where fires could start should be avoided.
Safety equipment like fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and first-aid kits should be easily and readily accessible.
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The open space of the desert is a temptation for children to go exploring by themselves and run around. Keep a close eye on their activities to make sure they don't wander off. Always be present when they're in areas that could be deemed dangerous, and keep them away from fires and cooking areas. It's important to also make sure they understand basic safety rules.
Electrical connections should be covered in plastic pipes and buried. All things electrical should meet safety and security standards.
(Photo credit: Ooredoo)
Apps are an invaluable resource when it comes to camping. For example, the ‘Ooredoo Inland Sea’ app helps navigate desert dunes and identify safe camping spots and tourist attractions. This app gives users access to information like geography and terrain, camping sites, emergency numbers, and Supernet signal towers. It also offers satellite navigation to the Inland Sea, and names of dunes with their origins.
Download the application from here - iOS users and Android users.
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)
As venturing into the desert is always a risky proposition, get your vehicle thoroughly checked from top to bottom. Because of the uneven terrain and deep sand, a four-wheel drive would be the way to go.
The Qatar General Organization for Standards and Metrology (QS) has laid out standards and specifications of vehicles, including trailers and caravans, for camping which cover weights and dimensions.
Any vehicle or other equipment that differs from these standards should be cleared by the General Directorate of Traffic. As per the specifications, the width, height, and length of a trailer should not exceed 2.6 meters, four meters, and eight meters, respectively.
In case you find yourself stranded and need help, contact:
Fazat Mawater Rescue Team
(+974) 7710-9999, (+974) 5581-6060, (+974) 3334-4622
Tell us about your best or worst camping experience in Qatar in the comments section below. Also don’t forget to like and share this article!
(Cover image courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
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