Whether you want to experience the high-speed thrills of dune bashing in a rugged 4x4, or take a slow and gentle ride on the back of a camel, the rolling dunes of Qatar's desert provide a naturally splendid backdrop for adventure. Check out how you can tap into your inner thrill and adrenaline seeker with this guide to Doha's top desert adventure spots.
4x4 off-roading, biking and dune bashing
Even if you have only a few hours to explore the desert, you can make the most of it by getting behind the wheel of a quad bike, dune buggy or 4x4 vehicle. Leave the driving to the experts, or take a crash course and speed through the sand dunes and desert landscapes of Doha. You can take your pick of smooth and scenic drives, or go for a heart-pounding adrenaline rush. Dune buggies can be rented at the popular beach resorts, but it's advisable to ensure you have a knowledgeable guide with you.
Tour companies such as Qatar Inbound Tours and Qatar International Adventures organize regular excursions. First the wheels on your four-wheel-drive vehicle are slightly deflated, to better tackle the challenges of driving over sand. Then the 4x4 takes you on a nearly vertical ride as you drive up sheer walls of sand and glide down steep slopes. It’s like a roller coaster ride in the desert.
Camping, camels and desert safaris
The tour companies above also operate overnight excursions, if a day in the desert just isn’t enough. There’s nothing like waking up to watch the sun rise over the sand, with the colors shifting in kaleidoscopic patterns across the dunes. After a long day of activities, you can relax with a professionally prepared grilled meal and a relaxing siesta in Bedouin-style tents.
Desert safaris often offer you the chance to ride a camel, but the experience is unlikely to exceed 20 minutes or so. Though you might have dreamt of an epic trek on camel back, your sure-to-be-sore legs will thank you for keeping the experience relatively short. No matter the duration of your dromedary adventure, it's sure to be a memorable one.
About 15 years ago, 'blokarting' kicked off in New Zealand, the birthplace of many extreme sports. Put simply, the 'blokart' is a cross way between a go-kart and windsurfing. Riding one allows you to feel the wind in your sails, with your wheels remaining firmly planted on earth. You can race at top speeds on the beaches of Qatar as well as in the desert. The Doha Land Sailing Club offers training sessions and all the equipment you need to get started, along with regular social events, and is located around 20 minutes' drive away from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha.
Are you a fan of snowboarding or skiing? Then you’ll want to give sand boarding and sand skiing a try. Rather than zipping down snow-capped mountains, you'll slide down the desert’s massive sand dunes. There are several tour companies offering trips into the dunes, particularly in areas like the Khor Al-Adaid inland sea. It’s also possible to hit the dunes on your own, but you’ll need a local guide and a reliable vehicle with four-wheel drive.
Effortlessly reinventing sports more traditionally practiced on sea, snow and speed-racing circuits, the sands of Qatar could soon become your favorite new playground!