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Qatar: Khor al Adaid Desert

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Khor al Adaid Desert | Qatar | Asia

[Visited: September 2008]

It was an easy drive from Doha taking us to the end of the road in the south. Here, our tires were deflated, 4WD was engaged, and our driver got all excited at the prospect of showing us the beauty of Khor al Adaid desert. Immediately, he attacked the first dune in sight, driving up almost in a straight line and quickly reaching the top. He would continue to drive up and down the dunes like a madman, trying to impress us of his driving skills. It clearly was not the first time he was doing this. As we got further south, away from the world where people live and towards the Saudi border, the views got always better and more impressive.

Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Inland lake seen from the top of a sand dune

The dunes got higher, the panoramas stretched our farther, and the landscape emptier. Again, I realized what simple and, at the same time, melancholic beauty the desert holds. Elegant curves of the sand dunes, giving the landscape a soft look, where in reality of course this is one of the harshest environments imaginable. The sun was mercilessly shining on the landscape of Khor al Adaid, the wind was constantly reshaping the dunes in a most subtle way, displacing specks of sand, and invisibly redefining the contours of the dunes. Fortunately, the driver stopped at times, allowing to soak in the panorama of the sea of sand stretching all the way to the horizon.

Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Beautifully shaped sand dune

We saw some of the inland lakes, and finally reached the mouth of the inland sea of Khor al Adaid at the far south of the country and at the border with Saudi Arabia. This is where the creek starts: an inlet of the Persian Gulf into the sandy shores of the desert. As the sun was on its way down, we did not stay long here, and left the coast to the birds flying over our heads. We headed back north, saw the fiery sun going down into a hazy grey horizon, and reached a small camp just in time to have a swim in the warm balmy waters of the Persian Gulf. After a barbecue on the beach, our driver showed us that he could also negotiate the desert in the dark of the night.

Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Tracks in a sand dune in the Khor al Adaid area
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Sand dune seen from a distance
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Khor al Adaid landscape seen from the top of a sand dune
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Sand dunes and tracks in Khor al Adaid
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Four wheel drive sliding down a sand dune
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Looking north from the top of a sand dune
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Looking into the distance of the Khor al Adaid landscape
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Surface of a sand dune in Khor al Adaid
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Blinding sunlight over the landscape of Khor al Adaid
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Inland lake at Khor al Adaid
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Low sand dunes in Khor al Adaid
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Entrance of the Khor al Adaid creek
Picture of Khor al Adaid Desert (Qatar): Sun going down over the desert of Khor al Adaid

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