To mark UNESCO’s International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, Qatar Tourism reveals how Qatar’s mangroves are a sustainable holiday hotspot, crucial to the country’s biodiversity and critical in countering climate change.
The forests of Qatar’s predominant Avicenna Marina species – known as grey or white mangrove trees – are among the country’s most treasured hidden gems, and a popular destination for holidaymakers looking to escape the capital city of Doha for a green oasis.
Dr. Mehsin Alyafei, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at Qatar University, said: “Qatar’s mangroves are an important ecosystem to protect our planet in the defense against climate change. They are brilliantly adapted to our desert environment without needing fresh water and they absorb lots of carbon from the atmosphere. I have noticed over the years the mangroves becoming a hotspot for tourists, photographers, bird watchers and adventurers. The mangroves are popularly visited by many students and scientists.”
Sustainable holiday hotspot
Qatar’s mangroves are one of the most popular things to see outside the capital, with the lush green Al Thakira mangroves just a short 45-minute car ride north of Doha. Next to the reserve, keen bird watchers can venture along the wooden walkways of Purple Island – once a prominent site for purple dye production and a fisherman’s campsite as far back as 200 BCE.
Kayaking and stand-up paddle board rentals are available from several tour operators in the area. Visitors are advised to book in advance and check the sea level, as the mangroves are best explored at high tide. Local operators include Discover Qatar, 365 Adventures, Blue Pearl Experience and Aqua Sports, with prices between $60-70 USD for an adult two-hour kayaking or paddle board guided adventure.
The conservation of mangroves is a signature project of the luxurious Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som and developer Msheireb Properties. Through a variety of ‘edutainment’ experiences, guests at Zulal can take a guided walk or boat ride to explore the local forests, before planting mangrove seedlings themselves. The resort aims to plant 5,000 seedlings this year. For more information on Zulal’s sustainable experiences visit: https://www.zulal.com/sustainability/
Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said: “The dense mangrove forests in Qatar offer a protected environment for wildlife and are an ideal spot for nature lovers. The forests are natural wonders teeming with life and offer an excellent green respite from the city and desert. They provide a welcome addition to Qatar’s other popular excursions down south to the Inland Sea and sand dunes, and west to the rocky plains of Zekreet.”
Important for biodiversity
Mangroves are uniquely adapted to the harsh desert conditions and high saline seas of the Gulf region. Withstanding high winds and the lack of rainfall in Qatar, mangroves provide a haven for crustaceans, birds, fish, and other animals. Mangroves act as excellent filtration systems absorbing sediments and pollutants, improving water quality. The deep and extensive roots of mangrove forests provide natural protection for marine nurseries, and they safeguard the coastline from storm and wave erosion.
As a home to more than 100 types of birds, hundreds of flamingos also migrate to Qatar’s mangroves every year on their way to Africa. The largest living flamingo species, the Greater flamingo, can be spotted in Qatar from November to April. Other migratory birds include gulls, cormorants, geese, mallards, and teals.
For more information on additional water-based activities in Qatar, visit: https://www.visitqatar.qa/intl-en/things-to-do/adventures/the-water
For media-related inquiries, please contact Qatar Tourism’s Press Office on:
+974 7774 7863 | email@example.com
Qatar is a peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Gulf in the heart of the Middle East, with 80% of the earth’s population within a six-hour flight. Ranked the safest country in the world in 2022 by Numbeo, Qatar welcomes all travellers, and guests from over 95 countries can enter visa-free. Qatar has an incredible variety of easily accessible tourist attractions, a plethora of fauna and flora including Whale Sharks and the majestic national animal the Arabian Oryx, and most experiences are a unique combination of cultural authenticity and modernity. From iconic museums to high-rise restaurants, from thrilling desert adventures to world-famous events including none other than the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, there is something for all types of travellers and budgets. Travellers set to transit through Qatar should turn one holiday into two with the world’s best value stopover packages, launched by Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar and supported by Qatar Tourism.
About Qatar Tourism:
Qatar Tourism is the official government body responsible for the development and promotion of tourism in Qatar, facilitating the sector’s exponential growth. Qatar is a destination where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in arts, culture, sports, and adventure, catering to family and business visitors, rooted in Service Excellence. Qatar Tourism seeks to boost the entire tourism value chain, grow local and international visitor demand, attract inward investment, and drive a multiplier effect across the domestic economy. The Qatar Tourism Strategy 2030 sets an ambitious target to attract over six million international visitors a year by 2030, making Qatar the fastest growing destination in the Middle East.