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The Inland Sea: Qatar's Most Natural and Unique Landscape

posted on: Dec 8, 2021

By: Leyelle Mosallam / Arab America Contributing Writer

Where the desert meets the turquoise blue sea, the Inland sea is one of the rarest places on earth. Formally known as, “Khor Al Adaid”, the Inland sea is located at the southern end of Qatar on the border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Inland Sea was nominated on the Natural World Heritage list by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and it is recognized by UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve to be Qatar’s most natural and unique landscape. 

There is no other comparable lagoonal system of this type located elsewhere in the world. The Inland Sea is a combination of geological and geographical features that make its ecosystem unique, and there are several diverse archeological and cultural sites that can be found in the area. Due to its uniqueness, the Inland Sea is an extremely valuable ecosystem of Qatar and the Arabian Peninsula and it is important that it remains untouched. 

The Inland Sea is one of Qatar’s most popular tourist attractions. With its clear blue water and golden sand dunes, the Inland Sea is a great place to spend the day with friends and family. At the Inland Sea, one can skate up and down the sand dunes, go dune bashing, camp in the desert, and take a swim in the sea. Many who live in Qatar are still unaware of this land site, but those who visit this natural habitat often wish to go back. 

What Is The Inland Sea and Why Is It  Unique?

Inland Seas are landlocked bodies of saltwater. Qatar’s inland sea is an area of the desert where three sand dunes meet the sea. The Inland Sea has a Lagoona system that is unmatched elsewhere in the world. The area is inhabited with wildlife and vegetation that is common to the Arabian Peninsula but cannot be all found in one place anywhere else in the region. “Sabkha” is a word in Arabic for a flat depression formed as a result of evaporation such as salt and other evaporated minerals near the surface. The area is usually covered with salt crust and it is located between the sea and the desert. The Sabkha in Qatar is surrounded by sand dunes that elevate downward into a flat terrain that meets the sea. 

The Inland Sea’s marine and wildlife are very diverse. The marine life of the Inland Sea is made up of sea turtles, humpback dolphins, mollusks, and barnacles. The wildlife consists of Arabian gazelles, Arabian oryx, camels, and birds like flamingos, seagulls, terns, and osprey. 

The History of the Inland Sea

The Inland Sea also has a unique history as a pirate stronghold. Pirates from Abu Dhabi used the salty body of water as a refuge in the 19th century. Due to the very shallow water, anyone trying to navigate the water must be very familiar with traveling by sea. As pirates possess strong navigation skills, the Inland sea was a great safety net for the pirates as not many sea travelers had the skills to navigate through shallow and landlocked waters. 

The Inland Sea as a Tourist Attraction

The best time to visit the inland sea is November through April. During these months, the weather is not too hot or too cool, which makes it easy to enjoy the experience. The Inland Sea offers an abundance of activities for family and friends to enjoy. You should, and it is highly encouraged to be with an experienced driver who is used to driving in the desert and can make it over the sand dunes. There are several desert safaris and daily Inland Sea tours that you can book during your stay in Qatar. During your desert safari experience, you will have the opportunity to go quad biking, sandboarding, kitesurfing, parasailing, and much more. If you are ever in Qatar, be sure to go to Qatar’s and the Arabian Peninsula’s most natural ecosystem.

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