Qatar airways is fast becoming one of the world’s foremost air carriers, and with loads of destinations available from South Africa it’s likely that at some point you’ll find yourself in transit through Doha. But why limit yourself to the airport when there’s so much to be seen? Instead, take a whirlwind tour of Qatar’s capital city and get more bang for your buck with an extra destination on your next trip
The first option is to go for a guided tour if you’ve flown with Qatar Airways; it’s a stress-free way to see the city. You pay a nominal fee of around R300 and in return, get to enjoy a whirlwind introduction to the city of Doha and it’s most famous attractions. If you have more than five hours, you can opt for something further afield than Doha and enjoy a true desert adventure instead.
Most visitors to Doha head straight to Souq Waqif for some shopping and the chance to immerse themselves into local life. While Doha could give Dubai a run for its money when it comes to high-end, air-conditioned malls, it’s the Souq that really captures the hearts and minds of visitors. The traditional market sells all manner of things; from jewellery and scarves to spices, kitchen hardware, and colourful shisha pipes.
To further your cultural experience in Qatar, a trip to the village of Katara is an absolute must. One of Doha’s foremost attractions, Katara blends incredible traditional architecture with recreation, history, and heritage. You can easily spend half a day wandering the area, visiting the amphitheatre, checking out the latest attractions and learning more about history and life in Qatar.
The inland sea is a bit further afield and would likely require an overnight layover, but it’s a fun trip for the novelty factor. It’s also a new way to cool down during the sweltering Doha summers. It’s a UNESCO- recognised naturally occurring phenomenon and one of few places in the entire world where the sea meets sand dunes. It’s perfect for swimming thanks to crystal clear, calm waters; but if you prefer to sandboard or climb the dunes, then there’s nothing stopping you from having an activity-packed layover either. Another cool thing about the inland sea? You can see the shores of Saudi Arabia from the Qatari side!
Finally, you’ll definitely want to see Doha lit up at night. Whether you choose to do this with a slow drive through the city or a cruise on a dhow, you’ll be awestruck by the lights, skyscrapers, and modern architecture; Las Vegas, move aside!
If you absolutely must spend some time in the airport and want to find something to keep you occupied, you’re in luck. Doha is one of the world’s leading airports and is a pleasure to spend some time in before you catch a flight. There’s free WiFi, plenty of restaurants to suit every taste and budget, an art display, and a range of boutique shops that could fool you into thinking you’re in a high-end shopping mall. If none of that appeals to you, you can always book into one of the lounges for some relaxation time.