Al Wakra City Guide
Population31,000 (2004 census)
About five miles south of the outskirts of Doha.
Fishing and former pearl centre Al Wakra is just ten minutes from Doha, and is fast becoming a repository for Doha workers fleeing the outrageous rental prices that exist in the capital city. This leads to some vicious traffic jams, with commuters competing with Qatar's never ending stream of trucks and lorries.
What To See
If you are coming from Doha, drive through the town, round the roundabout at far end and take a sharp right by the Al Wakra exchange.
This will lead you to the most interesting part of the town. As you trundle along a small road you will see an old whitewashed building to your left this was Al Wakra museum, now sadly closed.
Ahead of you is the once picturesque harbour. It is currently being dug up, but you can still see the fishing dhows. It's also a popular place for anglers.
On your left is a park with a children's play area. While the park is pleasant, with plenty of trees to provide shade, the play area is not up to much. Still, it should keep the kids entertained for a while.
It is probably best not to use the toilets if you have a sensitive nose! Push through the hedge of the park, and you will come to a superb beach long and sandy, and leading to some shallow water. Wear sandals, though, as glass and other sharp objects have been left by previous visitors.
Until recently there were some mangrove swamps in this area. These swamps, pictured to the left, have now been dug up. The constrction in this area is part of a major plan to redevelop Al Wakra.
When the main beach gets busy, head on past the park and follow a rough track towards a red and white power station. This will lead you to a quieter beach. The road is just about managable in a normal car, but watch out for soft sand.
It's worth having a drive round the back roads of this area, as it is one place where not all of the old buildings have been demolished, and you can get a little glimpse of what Qatar was like 50 years ago.
As we mentioned above, the recreation area is currently being redeveloped. Plans for the area in the future include a wild life park and a country club. There is also going to be a "continuous public waterfront" offering activities for the public, two hotels (there are currently no major hotels in Al Wakrah) and a golf course. A railway station will be located near the mosque, and there will also be a climate controlled underground pedestrian area.
Things To Do
There is not actually much to do in Al Wakra, and the shops and restaurants that line its main streets are a poor reflection of what is in offer in Doha. Not surprising, really, with the capital so close.