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Al Ghariya Beach - Take the Al Ghariya turnoff 4.5 km beyond Fuwarit on the Al Shamal (North) Road and follow the tarmac road, keeping to the right when the road splits. Once the location of a desert camp for Qatar's scouting movement, Al Ghariya gradually developed into a small weekend facility for other campers. There is a beach resort as well as a popular sandy beach to the north with shallow water.
Dukhan is the centre of Qatar's onshore oil industry and at the beginning of the 20th century had the only aircraft landing strip in the country. The security-gated complex owned by Qatar Petroleum (not open to the general public) consists of both residential and production areas and includes the first oil well drilled in Qatar, in 1938. Fossilised sharks teeth can be found in some of the shale hills and there is a popular beach accessible to all. At the gates to Dukhan township, turn left and follow the coast road for 9 km until reaching Dukhan Water Sports. The tarmac road ends here, but to the south, you will find plenty of places to stop. Although the beaches are sandy, there are sharp rocks under the water, so beach shoes are advisable.
Fuwairit Beach - Take the Al Shamal (North) Road past the Al Khor turnoff and after 44 km, turn right at the Fuwairit sign; follow the road leading to a small village and as you reach the outskirts, turn left onto a rough track. Drive for 1.5 km along the small dune edging the beach until reaching the unusual formations of eroded hills (jebel) that run down to the water's edge. These small 'cliffs' border a fine sandy bay with coves that make ideal picnic spots. The strange shapes in the rock face, resembling Gruyere cheese, make for great photos.
Khor Al Adaid
Also known as the Inland Sea, this breathtakingly beautiful area, surrounded by crescent-shaped sand dunes, is one of Qatar's finest treasures and a prime tourism asset. A shallow tidal lake with a narrow outlet to the sea, the many-lobed Khor Al Adaid lies between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and has shores in each country. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are necessary and only experienced drivers should attempt the journey. Alternatively, local tour operators organise day trips and overnight camps, providing exhilarating drives along the dunes, with barbecues, entertainment and the opportunity to ride camels or sand ski.
Also known as 42 km Beach or French Beach - Take the turnoff from Al Shamal (North) Road 42 km north of the Al Khor turnoff. There is a small signpost marked "Maroona", leading to a narrow tarmac road. Follow for 6 km before turning right onto the dirt track heading towards two large palaces (driving parallel to the telegraph poles). Approach the beach between these two buildings, but beware, the sand is very soft for the last 100 m.
Ras Abrouq (Bir Zekreet)
Ras Abrouq and Bir Zekreet, a favourite spot for weekend campers, is at the very tip of a peninsula northeast of Dukhan (four-wheel-drive is required). Follow the main Doha-Dukhan road, and several kilometres past the turnoff for Al Jumailiya (about 5 km before the flyover) is a fork where the old Dukhan road veers off to the right – look out for this as there is only one sign, in Arabic. After 1.5 km, turn right onto the road that heads up the northeastern side of the Ras Abrouq peninsula, follow for about 21 km and then branch off to the left, heading up and onto the top of the jebel (hills). The track passes the wild deer reserve set up by the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves (SCENR) and through an area that looks like a deserted village but was actually built as a film set. Notice the trees: the lower branches are 'cropped' in a straight line where the camels have eaten them!
After almost 9 km, an abandoned police post can be seen on top of a jebel. Go around the base and head out over the causeway on the left, leading to the tip of the peninsula. The area is full of interesting coves and bays, but the best is at the far end: a sweeping half-moon bay flanked at both ends by rocky outcrops.
Sea Line Beach Resorts
Just south of Mesaieed, this resort with a hotel, two swimming pools and landscaped grounds, has villas and chalets for overnight, weekend and holiday hire, and is also open to day visitors.
Watersports are available from the beach and dune buggies are available for hire just outside the resort. The tarmac road ends at Sealine and any further journey, towards the Inland Sea, has to be made over the dunes in a four-wheeldrive.
Take the highway towards Al Khor, and for the exit to Lusail International Circuit. Instead of going right on the bridge, take left, until you reach the coastal village.
Umm Bab is also known as "Palm Tree Beach" because of the small cluster of palms at the end of the road alongside the small breakwater. From Doha, take Salwa Rd, clocking 29 km from the industrial area and passing the Mukainis satellite earth station. Turn right and follow the road for a further 40 km until you reach the roundabout at the Umm Bab cement works. Go straight across and take the right-hand fork, passing a small 'trading store' on your right. On cresting a small hill, you will see the coast stretched out below and the distinctive group of trees. Most people turn left at the trees and stop a little further on. The sand is deep, so proceed with caution.
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