beach 2

dune bashing

Arguably one of the most adventurous and fun outings in Qatar is at the southern-most tip of the country. Just shy of Saudi Arabia, dune bashing is a great way to see your backyard as a giant sandbox worth enjoying. In New Zealand I took great pride in backpacking my way to the southern-most point of the country. In Qatar that means lots of sand, snorkeling and beach bonfires.

Drive yourself:

Just last week I test drove my SUV on the dunes for the first time with a group of friends. We drove to Sealine Beach (PIN) and deflated our tires before hitting the sands.

If you forget anything there is an Al Meera store at the tire stop. If you are going with friends, be sure to establish a lead, middle and trail car. It’s important to stay in order while driving so you know if someone gets stuck. The car behind you can radio back and trickle the message down the line. It is usually best for the most experienced driver to go first. Don’t forget your tow rope, just in case!

We drove along the coast and parked by the sea for some BBQ and swimming. It’s a good idea to bring masks and snorkels (you can rent them for a day at  Poseidon Dive Center found here). I can’t say there is all that much to see underwater, but it is fun to float over crabs (and abandoned crab legs). Occasionally you will see some noteworthy large colorful fish.

When you make it back to Sealine you can hire a guy to inflate your tires for you. Find the longest car line and wait it in. Pay the guy QR5 for the entire job. It is usually faster to inflate your own tires if you have a pump, but if not the shop there will help.

BE AWARE OF THE SPEED CAMERAS. The speed limit is 60 KM/H in some places. The cameras glow purple at night but they are still easy to miss.

Book a Trip:

Before I had a car and the courage to tackle the dunes I would book a dune bashing trip through an agency. When guests come to visit I still rely on Inbound Tours for a little adrenaline rush. It costs about QR200 per person. Before the price catches you off guard, let me tell you that it is worth it. Pick a day you want to go and email the group or book ahead and choose your tour on their website. All of their drivers are incredibly punctual, kind, knowledgeable and fun. I have used this tour group several times and have never had a bad experience. Be sure to bring your camera! The adventure starts with complimentary tea in a Bedouin tent and optional camel rides (QR20/person).

The group will pick you up at your house in a white Toyota Land Cruiser with a safety roll bar inside. The A/C stays on the whole time. If you get car sick easily then it will be best to sit up front. The tour lasts four hours, start to finish.

Wear a baiting suit under casual summer clothes (shorts and tank tops are fine) with flip flops. The tour includes a quick stop along the Inland Sea and the driver will let you swim if you ask. On hot days it feels good to take a quick dip. Just keep in mind there are no changing stations or bathrooms out there. It’s also worth noting this is the closest you can get to Saudi Arabia in shorts and a bikini 🙂

Be sure to tag us in your posts @Dohallywood!

Also check out David’s Been Here blog post on Qatar featuring yours truly. He’s a world-class blogger (and chap) I had the privilege of meeting on a dune bashing tour! Go figure!

 

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