The sun was still high up in the sky when we started driving west from Doha. Especially after leaving the city limits behind, we soon found ourselves on a virtually empty road, and soon enough, we reached the turnoff for Bir Zekreet. Before we knew it, we saw a road ahead of us that cut straight through the dry desert landscape. Here, we did not even see a hint of other souls, no traffic, no villages. Right away, we spotted the first desert mushroom on our left, and stopped to have a look. Driving on, we soon realized there were many more interesting formations on either side of the road, and more so on the right side. When we saw a trail branching off the asphalted road, we did not hesitate and took the turn, even though it was an unsealed track and we were in an ordinary sedan.
Here, we found ourselves surrounded by oddly shaped limestone formations sticking out of the dry desert floor. One formation caught our attention, as it had a hole in its upper part, making it look like a natural bridge. From here, we continued driving into a plain surrounded by low white limestone cliffs. One of them looked like a ship cutting through the dry sea of the desert. We returned to the main road, and continued driving until we reached the settlement of Bir Zekreet where we only saw one cyclist. We continued on our way north, and found more limestone formations on which the sun was now about to set. At one point, we saw an animal that looked mostly like a desert fox, but otherwise, the landscape was just empty of any visible proof of life. Apart, that is, from the many car tracks criss-crossing the desert floor. We waited until the sun set over the waters of the Gulf, and were back in flashy Doha before long.
That evening, I decided that I wanted to go back to the limestone formations the next day. Waking up early, I reached the escarpment before 6am. The morning sun was casting long shadows over the white limestone mushroom formations, and I took the same turn-off we had taken the day before. This time, I parked the car near the flat hill with the natural bridge, walked around it, and climbed to the hole. The views were great from here, and I took time to soak it all in - the strange hills below me, wherever I looked, with a stretch of sea further away. I walked down, where I was sure one used to be another, bigger natural bridge, and walked the floor of the escarpment to explore the other so-called desert mushrooms in the vicinity. Whereve there was sand, it was blown in such a pattern that it looked like ripples on a water surface. Here, I found the most remarkable shapes, pointing straight into the sky. Further away: another flat-top hill, with a sharp side looking like the bow of a ship plowing through the desert ocean. By now, the sun was higher in the sky, its rays so strong that they made the landscape look fierce and less attractive. It was time to leave the impressive landscape behind.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Bir Zekreet landscape. Read more about this site.