Even though beach camping is very much the same as ordinary camping, and you need the same gear it does take extra careful planning to have a successful camping trip to the beach.
Beach camping at the Inland sea of Qatar
One of the first things to remember is that there will be no facilities available when camping on a beach.
This means providing everything for the trip, from toilet facility to washing of self and dinner plates, water as well.
This means taking a shovel to dig a hole, or if you're lucky to have a portable toilet of some sort this will make life easier. Please always remember to have proper means of disposal and when you opt for digging a hole, make sure to burn any paper used.
Unlike the wonderful beach camping experience we had with semi-permanent tents - see article below, you will have to bring your own shelter or tent to sleep in with mattress of your choice. Air mattresses are compact to transport and comfortable to sleep on.
Lay down a big ground sheet before pitching the tent as this will help to keep sand out of the tent.
Remember that ordinary tent pegs are not sufficient for keeping a tent down on thick sand, make provision for extra long tent pegs.
The blazing sun can sometimes be a bit much, make provision for extra shelter against the sun in the form of sun umbrellas or a gazebo, especially when there are children around.
Dinnertime also needs careful planning if you don't want to end up with sand between your teeth. If possible have a folding table to work on while preparing and enjoying a meal. Folding chairs are a comfort as well, spread a tarp or old blanket or rug for extra seating off the sand.
Remember to bring sufficient drinking water about 1.5 liters per person per day.
It's handy to have a big basket or crate to keep utensils off the sand. A cooler is also great to keep food fresh and drinks cool.
A way of preparing an easy meal is to barbecue meat on a portable bbq or a fire made on the sand, remember to take a grill and don't forget the fire lighter cubes and charcoal. The camping kitchen gives ideas of preparing meals on a beach camping trip.
A first aid kit is essential to treat minor scratches and bruises that might occur while camping. Take enough sun screen and wear hats for additional protection.
Nights are dark on the beach, take flashlights and lamps, head led-lights are handy, simply to have your hands free. Also, a good way of keeping track of little ones playing in the dark, they just love having their own headlights.
Take enough plastic bags for garbage disposal, old shopping bags are great for this.
Tommy: So here we are on our way to an Inland Sea for a beach camping weekend in the deep desert of the Qatar peninsula.
Our driver pulls off after deflating the tires, for better traction when driving on loose sand. We leave Seaside Oasis behind and enter a sea of sand, visions arise.
Our driver proves to be very professional even though she is a beautiful petite young lady from Poland. It is just the four of us - the driver Arletta, her father, Marion in the navigator seat my wife Memory and me.
Dunes alternated with a crusty rocky landscape. We are fortunate as it is in the middle of the week and 23h00 and we are graced with a full moon.
I believe that is's becoming more and more dangerous over weekends with drivers going for the thrill and not always adhering to proper safety measures.
Our end destination is about 60 kilometers further, on the shores of the Inland sea where we are planning to spend the weekend.
Desert camp at night with lights to make camps visible in the dark of night
The excitement of driving in this seemingly empty quarter is thrilling, no road just a GPS that shows the way, a gradient or two to the left or right and we are on our way again.
On top of a high dune we make a pit stop to get a drink and a bite to eat and almost at once you feel the isolation and you realize the way out if left alone is slim. The surrounding dunes are bathed in the light of the full moon...beautiful beyond words.
Out of nothingness islands of light appear as different campsites are lit for easy view at night. And then...water, yes water we have reached the edge of the Inland Sea and our camp for what's left of this night and day.
Inside a tent at the Inland sea in Qatar
We are welcomed by our charming Qatari host and the order is given to sit back, relax and enjoy, camp cook Yusuf serves lovely sweet Arabian tea to the weary travelers as we now sit around the campfire with late night dinner simmering on the embers.
Soon we are shown to the dining tent where we sit on Persian carpets sharing a midnight feast of the tastiest Harees, a whipped wheat dish, I have ever had. This is rounded off with Om Ali Arabian pudding. Content, relaxed and well-fed we retire to our sleeping tents.
At dawn I am wide awake with the quietness one only experiences in the wilderness or desert. Not a sound to be heard. Memory and I pull on our track suites and ventured out in a wonder world. We are surrounded by a body of water on the one side and on the other the desert that extends to pure white sand dunes in the distance. There is no end to the horizon and it seems as if the water and landscapes just goes on forever.
An island in the Inland sea in Qatar
The rest of the beach camping day is spent by eating, swimming, sun bathing, eating again, taking a nap and having another dip in the sea...absolute bliss.
During the day we spot a pair of fish eagles, which is apparently one of the few remaining pairs nesting on an island in the Inland sea. Due to the ever-growing popularity of falconry in the Middle East their freedom may be short-lived. We hope that these remaining Eagles will have a chance of survival and not be captured to be sold at terrific prices.
The water of the Inland sea exits into the Arabian Gulf about a kilometer from the camp, and depending on incoming or outgoing tide is refreshingly cool or lukewarm. We watch the waves lapping the beach from our camp and go on a 4x4 excursion to the Arabian Gulf.
Camping shower room on wheels, with basin and toilet included
All too soon it's time for us to say our good-byes and head back to Doha and our working class lives. Indeed, a trip we will never forget...
Although we were fortunate to be invited to a private camp there are quite a few public firms, which offer excursions to the Inland sea. It is however advisable to visit in the cooler winter months from December to April. As the Summers are blistering hot and without air-conditioning will render ordinary camping almost impossible.
In Qatar permits are given that allow people to put up semi-permanent camps during the winter seasons. They erect tents and even have portable shower rooms on wheels to use as bathroom facilities. However, at the end of a season everything is taken away. Nothing is left behind. It was in such a camp that we spent our beach camping weekend.
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