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Zekreet Beach

Dukhan, Qatar
Located nearby to Dukhan on the west coast of Qatar, Zekreet is an exciting beach destination and is a popular spot for weekend campers as well as water sport enthusiasts.
The city is also enclosed by an amazing landscape with remnants of old settlements and prehistoric sites which is where visitors can find desert mushrooms and fine sand dunes. Also called as Ras abruq Beach, the road to Bir Zekreet passes through the wild deer reserve taken care of by the Environment ministry and through an old movie set that looks like a deserted village. After leaving the city limits, visitors can see a virtually empty Dukhan road and after 80 km, Zekreet can be reached with a mosque on the left and Arabic tents on the right side.

The neighbourhood is full of fascinating bays and coves, but the finest is at the far end: an extensive half-moon bay with rocky outcrops on both ends.

How to Go?
Follow the main Doha-Dukhan road and head west past Al-Shahaniya and check the road sign about 10 km before Dukhan turn-off on the right. The road (about 5 km before the flyover) divide some kilometres past the turnoff for Al Jumailiya where the old Dukhan road change direction to the right – watch out for this as there is only one road sign, in Arabic. Turn right after 1.5 km, on the road that leads to the north-eastern side of the Ras Abrouq peninsula; pursue for about 20 km and then branch off to the left, heading up and onto the top of the jebel (hills). After roughly 10 kms, a deserted police post can be seen on top of a jebel. Get going over the causeway on the left which heads to the tip of the peninsula.

What is there to see in the beach?
The journey to Zekreet can be rough however there is a new road under construction which will make journey easier. A four wheel drive makes it fun to explore as the way is full of remarkable coves and bays, we may see flamingos in the half moon bay. It's really interesting to see the trees on the way where the lower branches are ‘cropped’ in a straight line as the camels have eaten them.

The Bir Zekreet limestone escarpment is similar to a topography tutorial in desert formations, as the blustery weather has carved away softer sedimentary rocks, revealing pillars, big limestone mushroom and weird shapes as it projects from cliffs. The beach nearby has relatively few visitors as the shallow waters in the beach are quiet and serene making the area a pleasant destination for a day trip. The beach is packed with Crabs and empty oyster shells with assorted bivalves and rich mother-of-pearl interiors. We can see people busy in crab hunting in the clear waters. The beach rocks with natural curves give us a notion of meticulous carving done by some great artist.

Approximately about 15km further up to the northwest coast from Dukhan, There is a remains of the 9th-century Murwab Fort which may be worth a visit with a guide. Recently, five groups of structures which include two mosques and an old fort have been partially excavated.

Wild Life
Ostriches can be found in Zekreet. However, these are an imported African breed and are not the native Arabian ostrich, which were whacked by hunters. Visitors to the beach could also see lizards and gazelles. Ostriches are highly hot-blooded during the breeding season and may show aggression without provocation. SCENR, the Qatar environment department now recommends public to visit the peninsula outside the ostrich breeding season and stay close to their car.

There are the remnants of a small eighteenth century fort in the beach. The ruins of 'madabes' or date press can be found on the fort's coastal side. These rooms were used to manufacture 'debis', traditional date-based syrup used as a dressing for fish and rice. Nearly 10 cm deep into the floor, the rooms had parallel channels which were connected together by a perpendicular canal near the doorway that channels into an underground pot in the end. Palm fronds were placed on the channels while in the course of making 'debis', creating a soft, smooth base. Sacks made of palm leaves were used to put the dates and are laid on top of each other in heaps that could reach three meters high. The load of the upper sacks often compressed the dates in the lower sacks and thick juice ran into the canals and ultimately collected into the underground pot.

Visitors who drive round the peninsula may suddenly come across a very well preserved palace. Not an actual one though! This palace was constructed by Qatar Television for a television production.

There is an oasis in front of the palace. Also, there is a pond which used to be supplied with water from a nearby well. Regrettably the well has now been shut down and the water is provided by a tanker. A herd of local gazelles and Falcons water themselves at the pool.

Village and Huts
On the way to Zekreet, Weird stone constructions nestled in the cliffs and the leftovers of a small roofless village can be seen. Yet again, these are not genuine remains but the remnants the Qatar TV production. Visitors to the peninsula may still find the remains of the flint stones or fragments of pottery used by Nomads, who are the real inhabitants of the peninsula in the past.

Things to Remember:

1. Camping is possible either along the seashore or less conspicuously near the escarpment under the stand of acacia trees.

2. Campers should come prepared, as there are no facilities or shops nearby, so they have to bring food and water especially in the summer months.

3. The Murwab Fort, about 15 km in the northwest coast from Dukhan is perhaps worth a visit with a guide.

4. The Zekreet fort site is always open and there is no admission fee.
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