This beautiful ‘inland sea’ is one of the major natural attractions in Qatar, and it takes on an almost mystical quality under a full moon, when the sabkha (salt flats) sparkle in the gaps between the sand. Often described as a sea or a lake, the khor is in fact neither: rather it is a creek surrounded by silvery crescents of sand (known as barchan). A night under the stars on a camping expedition here is a special experience.
Not everyone goes to this area to enjoy the tranquillity: sand skiing, quad biking and 4WD racing compete with the time-honoured picnic and a song, much to the consternation of some and the pleasure of others. The area is big enough, thankfully, to satisfy all, although environmental concerns are being expressed as more travel agencies make the area the central attraction of their tours.
This region is only accessible by 4WD, and independent travellers should go with someone who knows the area, such as a company like Doha Bus, and can drive a 4WD. Being stuck in the sand is no fun after the first hour and in summer is very dangerous.
If you’re determined to do it yourself, make sure you have at least a box of water bottles on board for each passenger, a map and compass, very clear directions of the best route currently navigable, a tow rope and a shovel. If you get stuck, don’t dig: let out the air in the tyres and return to the nearest petrol station immediately to re-inflate.