How to Ride a Camel (and other Qatari Adventures)

Updated August 12, 2020.

My time in Qatar was full of adventures—Arabian nights, learning to haggle, eating pigeon, riding the sand dunes, and even swimming in the Arabian Gulf at sunrise! With so much fun and so many exciting excursions, this post is all about the adventures!

How to Ride a Camel

When I visited Qatar, I had several things on my “must do and see” list. But only one thing was way up at the top of the list: riding a camel! My Qatari friends seemed to think it was strange that I wanted to meet and ride a camel so very much, but they were kind enough to humor me and let me have my little Arabian dream adventure! So, should you find yourself in the Arabian desert and in need of a friendly lift, here’s how to ride a camel!

Step 1: Find a Bedouin Camp

There really are bedouins living in the desert. They have camps with surprisingly Western-style toilets. And sometimes they let you pay to ride their camels!

Real life Bedouin Camp

Step 2: Make Friends

Making friends is basically always a great idea! Make friends with your new bedouin friend, your camel, and anyone else who might also be riding a camel with you.

Always making new friends!
My friend wanted to join the fun!
More here: How to Embrace Cultural Differences

 Step 3: Climb Aboard!

Get ready! Swing that leg up and over, settle in, and hold on to the harness in front of you.

Camel harness to keep you onboard!
And we’re off!

Step 4: Enjoy the View

I’m not a tall person, so the view from up on top of my camel friend was breath-taking!

The view from the top!
That’s one long shadow!

Step 5: HOLD ON!

Now comes the most important part: going down. You will definitely want to hold on tightly, with both hands for this one! They kneel forward first:

Going down in an action shot!

Step 6: Get a Selfie

My camel friend’s name is Sawsan, and she is the BEST! She took great care of me, she did not spit on me, and when I held my phone up to get a selfie, she leaned in and looked right at the camera for the picture! She loves me. And I love her. I hope your camel is just as amazing! And if you’re in Qatar, I hope you’ll ask for Sawsan and say I sent you!

Friends for life!

How to Ride the Sand Dunes

One of the best things I got to do was visit the desert. “Shifting sands” is not just an expression; the sands really do shift! No wonder it’s so hard to find one’s way in the desert, since the landscape is always changing. Luckily for me, someone else was driving most of the time! Here’s how you conquer the desert dunes!

Option 1: Visit Strong Power Sports!

My friend Mustafa owns a four-wheeler company in the desert, and he is a great driving coach! When I was in first grade, I was over at my friend Ben’s family farm with a lot of other friends from church. We went out on the farm with some adults and some four-wheelers, and my friend Ben flipped backwards off the four-wheeler and cracked his head open. It was a long time ago, but I’ve been afraid of four-wheelers ever since!

But Mustafa was a very patient teacher, and he said he wished all his customers were as obedient as I was! But all the other kids had a great time and went much faster than I did—it really was great fun, and the sunset views were unbelieveable!

Ready for fun!
Desert Sunset
Everyone else went faster than me, but we all got to have some desert fun!

Option 2: Do it Yourself!

Well, I was in the passenger seat for this, but It was still incredible fun! My friend Mohammed did a great job of terrifying us all! He let some air out of the tires, about 18 of us piled in the SUV (not really, but there were a lot of us!), and up we went, into the dunes and into the unrelentant sun! We went up on steep dunes, went perilously close to the edges, and listened to Arabic music at max volume! It was tons of Arabic fun!

Up on the sand mountains!
On top of the sand mountain!

How to Swim in the Desert

Wait, there’s water in the desert? Yes, there is! The Arabian Gulf surrounds Qatar on three sides, and its waters are quite warm! In fact, there is a process for swimming in the desert, and this is how it’s done:

Step 1: Go Early!

As in, start driving to the beach at 4:00am! The sun will be coming up, and it’s the best part of the day… because it’s also the coolest part of the day!

Sunrise at the beach in the desert!

Step 2: Jump In!

No waiting time, no acclimation to cold water, just jump right in! Ready? Go!


Step 3: Enjoy Yourself!

Make the most of your swim—how often and in how many places can you go swimming in the desert?

Sunrise Swim!
More here: What to Pack for Qatar: Ladies Edition

Want more on my Arabian adventure? Check out my Qatar Page!

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4 responses to “How to Ride a Camel (and other Qatari Adventures)”

  1. Keep sharing, stay motivated…

  2. Beautiful photos! I like your blog! Thanks

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      Thank you! That’s so kind!

  3. […] you! Talk about “a whole new world.” There are so many cool things to do in Qatar, from riding camels to riding dune buggies in the desert, from museums to shopping to eating some of the best food in […]

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