"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on November 21, 2015 by Sioux under General


With all this sand available, not going quad biking or 4×4 duning would be a waste! The favourite pastime in Qatar during winter is camping in the desert, and along with that comes the sport of dune racing.


Campsites are set up as soon as legalities allow (camping is banned during the summer months due to the heat, and fines are levied to culprits), and groups of friends/family share one campsite. French drains dug, generators installed, Bedouin style tents and caravans positioned in the gentle concave curve of towering sand dunes, and a weekend home for the next 6 months is ready for occupation! Bedding and essentials are left behind at the end of the weekend, so only food and clothing needs to be packed for each new visit.


On asking my son-in-law how they remembered where their campsite was, I was told “Oh, it’s easy, once we turn off the main Qatar / Saudi road, we just turn right at the scarecrow”. And that was it! Incidentally, this main Qatar / Saudi road is visible on Google Maps and is just compacted desert sand that literally runs all the way to the Saudi Arabia border!

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Arriving just after lunch time,

once introductions were done,

the adults settled down for some

chill time, while the youngsters hauled their preferred petrol driven toys off the trailers, donned protective gear and off they went. Wheel spinning up & down the dunes, this was paradise for any youngster wanting to show their prowess at ramping & wheel spinning! Clouds of desert sand cascading high up into the air, the kids were getting rid of excess energy, having been duly lectured on the safety aspects of their sport.


The drone of racing engines….be they 4×4 cars, off-road scramblers or quad bikes, causing a continual buzz like gazillions of bees flying about, this is the perfect way for aspiring champions, young & old, to sate their need for speed!   Night time doesn’t mean the engines stop, with the “sign-in” arrival at some of the local’s camps being announced by the driver of each 4×4 vehicle roaring up to the campsite, turning sharply into the dunes bordering the rear of the site and sending soft desert sand showering high into the air with each spin of the wheel.


Generators also chug on continuously as these supply the necessary power for lighting and water pumps in the shower & ablution cubicles – yup, they even have portable showers & loo’s in every camp site!


Despite being winter, it was still quite hot during the day, however once the sun disappeared behind the rolling dunes, lightweight jackets were needed. Dinner was a self-service affair, with each family making up their own stir-fry meal, contents selected from a very varied selection of pre-arranged “bring & share” ingredients, cooked on a large flat pan over a simmering fire.

Once the dark of night had settled over the not-so-quiet desert, playing with torches, glow-sticks and cameras was the order of the day. Kids, and some adults, had great fun running up & down the dunes “painting” the black of the night with different coloured torches, or creating light showers by throwing glow sticks down from the top of the dunes behind the camp.


In the early morning light of sunrise, the sand dunes are visibly tattooed with evidence of the constant activity, footprints sunk deep into the sand; slightly deflated tyres having left tracks of stripes or S-bends, only to be brushed away by the ever present breeze, leaving the sand smooth and clear, awaiting the next onslaught.

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Saturday marks the end of the weekend in Qatar, and by midday, most camps are cleared, tidied up, locked down and left for the next weekend, when it all begins again.



3 responses to “The need ……. for speed……”

  1. Chez says:

    Love your update take it all in !

  2. Cindy says:

    Oh my gosh, sounds absolutely amazing. what a pleasure to camp out in the desert in such fantastic conditions…I’m thinking next winter I’ll pay a visit 😉

  3. margaretdessington says:

    No month long camps over here

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