The hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 provides an opportunity for the country to showcase and promote its ‘hidden gems’ for tourists to explore, an industry expert has said.
Speaking to Gulf Times
, Outing Qatar founder and managing director Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa said the ‘historic adventure sites’ such as the Dahl Al Misfir sinkhole would attract a large number of local and international visitors.
“Highlighting those spots will guide locals, residents and visitors to plan their itinerary and also enjoy safari and other experiences like they have never seen before,” he said.
Located west of Doha and a 50-minute ride by car, VisitQatar described Dahl Al Misfir as “one of the country’s most exciting natural sites”.
Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa
A prehistoric natural formation “burrowing deep into the ground”, the place is approximately 40m deep and believed to have been formed 325,000 to 500,000 years back in the mid-Pleistocene Era, according to Visit Qatar.
“Known for emitting a moon-like glow, this phosphorescence is the result of gypsum deposits found in the centre of the peninsula. These give rise to the geological phenomena known as ‘desert roses’ (clusters of roughly rose-shaped gypsum crystals),” Visit Qatar said.
While there is no entry fee, the site is fenced and visitors are advised to wear proper attire since the temperature usually drops when reaching the bottom of the cave. Hiking shoes are recommended since the area is comprised mostly of rocks.
Visitors, especially birdwatchers, also have the chance to see nightjars, wagtails, bee-eaters, and Eurasian hoopoes, among others, as most of these birds either transit or sometimes stay in the country while on their way to Africa.
Al Safliya Island
To reach the site, visitors must drive off-road through Salwa road and Rawdat Rashed road using a 4x4 vehicle – aided by a GPS since it is located in the desert. The cave’s loose rocks and depth may not be suitable for small children as it could injure them.
VisitQatar noted that visitors can also try some of the nearby attractions such as the Aqua Park, Khor Al Udeid (the Inland Sea), and the Singing Sand Dunes.
According to Eleiwa, other popular heritage sites and public artworks in Qatar such as the East-West/ West-East (in Zekreet) by renowned American artist Richard Serra provide travellers a wide range of destinations to discover.
Other must-visit destinations in Qatar include the old Al Ruwais Police Station (now Arsan Café), Barzan Towers, Al Zubarah archaeological site, Film city in Zekreet, Ruwayda, Ras Abrouq, Al Safliya Island, Al Wajbah Fort, The Pigeon Towers, Al Thakira, and Purple Island, among others.
He said tourists will also experience Qatar Tourism’s curated and multiple offerings, from dune bashing, camel riding, and falcon photography to engaging in water activities/sports and enjoying a five-star dinner on board a luxury yacht or in renowned hotels, and many more.