Desert Drive: Zekreet, Qatar

We were told there is not much to do in Doha when we visited last year. But, if you have the right friends, you get the right advise and shown the right places.

Our friend Jason showed up at our hotel early in the morning with packed food and ‘Karak Chai’ in a flask, and whisked us away to Zekreet for day in the desert that borders the ocean.

It was February so the hour plus morning drive was cool and pleasant and it was a great time to visit Zekreet, thought it gets a little hotter towards noon.

Our Desert Ride

Here are eight reasons why this visit was worth the early rise and bumpy desert drive!  😄


1. Bir Zekreet

These mysterious structures built in the rock formations in the middle of the desert are apparently remnants of a movie/tv series set. Not much of historical value but it does give an amazing backdrop for photographs.

Remnants of an old TV series set. Pix by @GoanInStyle 
Bir Zekreet old TV series set in the middle of the desert


2. Nature Reserves

The Al Reem Biosphere Reserve and the Ras Brouq is home to an array of desert flora and fauna. The biosphere reserve covers 120,000 hectares is one of 24 UNESCO reserves in the Middle East.

Desert greens. Pix by @GoanInStyle
Desert shrubbery. Pix by @GoanInStyle
An Ostrich at the oasis next to Film City guards her eggs from intruders


3. Richard Serra Art Installation

This sculpture, practically in the middle of nowhere is dubbed East-West / West-East. Commissioned by the Qatar Government, the art installation in the middle of the desert is a cool spot for photo opportunities. I’m no art critique and will not pretend to be one. I’m not sure what to make of this installation, what the message is or significance of the structures is. Exposed to the elements, the grey colour of the four vertical steel structures is supposed to change from a its current dark grey to orange and eventually take on an amber hue. All I saw was a grey metal sheet with graffiti at the bottom.


Pix by @GoanInStyle


4. Film City

This site, you might find familiar. It was where the final battle scene for Transformers (Revenge of the Fallen) was shot. Noting much was going on there, which makes it a perfect stop to get some shade from the daytime desert heat. There is even a small stall selling basic bottled drinks, tea and tidbits.



5. Wildlife

The desert has its own set of wildlife but Zekreet which is located within the Al-Reem Unesco-MAB Reserve, features wildlife unique to the area and the desert terrain. This includes ostriches, wild deer, gazelles and Qatar’s national animal the Oryx.


6. Beach

Zekreet whih is located along the Abrouq Peninsula West of Qatar has kilometers of isolated beaches. I’d dare say it is safe to go skinny dipping because you are practically in the middle of nowhere with not a soul in sight for hours probably. You might find trailers and campsites along some of the beaches but these are spread out.



7. Rock Formations

The harsh desert sun and winds have carved out amazing natural sculptures all over Zekreet. A perfect Instagram backdrop!


8. Beach Side Camping

I did not do this but can only imagine the amazing scenery as the sun sets and rises. I’m pretty certain that a curtain of sparkling stars will light up the dark the desert sky at night. This I’d like to do the next time I’m in Zekreet.


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