ABOUT The State of Qatar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait of the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island state of Bahrain. Explore the natural environment, take an exciting desert safari, relax at the many beaches and pool facilities, or enjoy your favourite sport. Golf courses, billiards and snookers tables, bowling alleys, tennis and squash facilities, ice skating rinks. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone. Oryx Farm and Equestrian Club – Visitors can see the Oryx in its natural surroundings at the Oryx Farm located in Shahaniya. The national animal of Qatar, the Oryx isn’t found anywhere else in the world in such large numbers. The beauty of the Arabian horses is well-known throughout the world. Cruises and Water Sports – Surrounded by the Arabian Gulf on three sides of the peninsula, there are plenty of opportunities for water sports and cruising. Two artificial reefs have been built for scuba-diving and create a welcoming environment for marine life. Sailing is a wonderful pastime and several private companies offer dinghies and windsurfers for rent, as well as sailing lessons for novice and experienced sailors. A sunset cruise on a traditional dhow in Doha Bay provides a stunning view of Doha at night, while luxury yachts can be rented for half- and full-day fishing trips. Golfing – For the enthusiastic golfer, a visit to the Doha Golf Club is absolutely a must. This 18-hole, 7,181-yard, par 72 championship course was designed by Peter Harradine and has played host to major international golfing championships. Desert Safari – A trip to the inland sea, in the middle of the desert, is a splendid way to spend the day. Experienced tour operators add to the adventure by expertly steering their four-wheel drive vehicles up and down 60-metre sand dunes along the way. Each air conditioned vehicle comes fully equipped with all necessary gear to ensure a safe but dramatic tour of the mysterious desert. Shopping – From the large shopping complexes to the tiny stalls of the souqs, eager shoppers will find everything they need and more. Facilities like the City Centre Doha, the largest shopping complex in the Middle East, offer world famous brands plus many exciting family facilities. The markets (souqs) are a wonderful mixture of scents and sights where items are not marked with traditional price tags; haggling is welcomed and expected. Souq Waqif is the oldest of Doha’s traditional markets, originally used by Bedouin traders as a place to buy and sell meat, wool, milk, and other staples. Corniche – A stroll along the Corniche is a must during your stay. This seven-kilometre stretch of coastline runs parallel to the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf and is used by walkers and runners, as well as the more adventurous roller-bladers. It offers a relaxing environment for family picnics and a nearby park for children. Cinemas – For those who wish to catch the latest film, there are several cinemas located in some of the large shopping centres, including The Landmark and The Mall, as well as Gulf Cinema on C-Ring Road. Coffee Shops/Nightclubs and Bars – Coffee shops have extended hours providing an opportunity to relax and unwind after a night of pleasurable activities. Most hotels have nightclubs and bars where alcohol is served. Ice Skating/Bowling – The City Centre Doha has ice skating rinks where you can rent skates by the hour. Qatar Bowling Centre offers ten-pin bowling in a 32-lane facility, and the City Centre Doha has two bowling alleys – one for ladies only. Tennis and Squash Courts/Swimming Pools/Fitness Centres/Spas – The major hotels offer a variety of facilities including tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, and fitness equipment. After exercising, you can relax with a massage at the hotels’ health and spa facilities or make an appointment at one of the many Chinese and Indian massage centres.
CLIMATE Qatar is pleasant during the short winter time, spanning from December to February. With a mild climate, temperatures remain in an endurable range. Winter is the time, when Qatar receives little rainfall. In other seasons, there is almost no rainfall. Autumn and spring in the country is dry and warm. Winter is the best season to visit Qatar. Since most of the country is a desert, the temperatures rise above 45ºC. June to September is the peak summer time in Qatar. During summers, the temperatures soar to about 50ºC. It is extremely hot during the day, while the nights are warm, and not as extreme as the day conditions. Humidity is also quite high during the summer months.
BEWARE There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Most visits are trouble-free. Although crime levels are low, female visitors should take care when travelling alone at night and use one of the reputable taxi/limousine companies. Road discipline is very poor; speeds are high and minor accidents common. Qatar has very high fatality rate for road accidents. If you have an accident, stay with your vehicle. It is an offence to leave the scene of the accident.