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Qatar: Bir Zekreet landscape

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Bir Zekreet landscape | Qatar | Asia

[Visited: August 2011]

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.

Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): The typical desolate desert landscape of Bir Zekreet seen from within a natural bridge

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.

Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Spectacular desert mushroom in the Bir Zekreet desert

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.

Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Early morning light on the sand blown around the limestone pillars of Bir Zekreet
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Limestone formations surrounding a desert plain with dry shrubberies
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Late afternoon light falling on one of the flat-topped hills in the desert of Bir Zekreet
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Early morning light on the typical landscape of Bir Zekreet
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Odd erosion-shaped desert mushroom in the early morning
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Limestone pillars surrounded by the sandy desert floor near Bir Zekreet
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Sand running down in sand-blown shapes from one of the limestone hills
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): White limestone formation looking like the bow of a ship
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Looking at the typical landscape of Bir Zekreet through a hole in one of the hills
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Desert mushroom rising from the rocky desert floor
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Looking at the landscape of Bir Zekreet from atop one of the flat hills
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Limestone cliffs with sand dunes in front
Picture of Bir Zekreet landscape (Qatar): Formation in the shape of a leopard head in the landscape of Bir Zekreet

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