The Qatar Natural History Group
Also see: Qatar's Natural History: An Introduction by Frances Gillespie
Qatar's Natural History Group (QNHG) is an active group that runs regular field trips in Qatar and to destinations abroad. Its field trips have even been known to discover new species - see Qatar Sea Slugs.
The Group was founded in November 1978 to 'bring together people with an interest in the natural history of Qatar and the Gulf', and the inaugural meeting was held in the grounds of the National Museum. Celebrations were held in the same place to mark the Group's 20th and 25th anniversaries, and next year sees the 30th anniversary of the Group.
Note: We are no longer updating the Qatar Natural History Group's schedule as the group now have their own website: www.QNHG.org.
Although based in Qatar, QNHG has an international membership. Its annual subscription of QR 30 per adult (including any children under the age of 18) is the lowest of any of the natural history groups in the Arabian Gulf states. Its interests cover not only all aspects of natural history but also the culture, history and archaeology of Qatar, and talks are sometimes given on other places of interest to members.
Meetings take place between October and June, usually on the first Wednesday of the month. They are held at 7.30 pm in the gymnasium of the Doha English Speaking School. An illustrated talk follows the announcements, and there is a small lending library of books available to members.
For more information about the QNHG, contact the PR Representative, Frances Gillespie, at email@example.com
There is a field trip on the last Friday of each month to places of interest around Qatar. The trips are usually led by people who have some knowledge of a particular region or subject, e.g. amateur or professional geologists, botanists, archaeologists and so on. There are also camping trips and star-gazing expeditions from time to time. A charge of QR 10 per vehicle is made for field trips. Children are welcome on the trips provided they are kept under parental control at all times.
There are a number of sub-Groups' within the main organisation, depending on who volunteers to organise them! One of the most popular is the Ramblers Group which goes out and about on Friday mornings. Members can indicate on their membership form which of the activities they are interested in, and their names will then be added to the e-mail lists for those sub-groups. In recent years there have been various overseas trips per year during the long Eid breaks, organised with the help of local travel agents. These have included visits to Syria, Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, India, Kenya and Turkey, and have proved highly popular.The Group is run by non-elected volunteers, each of whom undertakes various responsibilities. Given the big turnover of membership each year, the success of the QNHG, and its continuance, relies entirely on the willingness of individual members to come forward and volunteer to help. If you have any skills or interests you can offer, or can give a talk, please do not hesitate!
Our field trips typically:
Occurs on the last Friday of the month and starts around 10.am from a well known place in the outskirts of Doha.
Northern Forts. Al Zubara, Al Rekayat and other forts of NW Qatar. October 26th.
Shark teeth. Fossil shark teeth of Eocene Midra Shale, SW Qatar. November 30th.
Starry Night. Barbecue, Christmas carols at Singing Dunes bonfire. December 21st.
Sheik Faisal's Museum - and walk in the gardens afterwards. December 28th.
Camel Track & Oryx farm in Al Sheehaniya. January 25th.
Camping out. Green fields of Western Qatar, campfire, watching stars. February 29th.
Jazirat Um Tais National Park. Tidal flats and barier island. Geology and biology. March 28th.
Inland Sea. Through the dunes to the Inland Sea. Swim and have fun. April 25th.
Boat trip. Anchor at exotic beach, swim, snorkel, play and have fun. May 30th.
Trips to Vienna & Budapest, Yemen and Jordan are offered through Mannai Travel to the members of the Qatar Natural History Group. A few places are still available, but are filling up quickly. Contact David Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Mannai Travel (455-8761 or 559-9701) if you have any questions or wish to make a reservation.
A six-day programme in Vienna and Budapest includes a full day excursion to the most romantic part of the Danube Valley (Wachau) to see Durnstein Castle where King Richard 5 -the Lionheart was imprisoned, Krems (the old wine merchant town), and the baroque Benedictine Abbey of Melk. A relaxing boat trip offers great views of the countryside.
A city tour of Vienna the next day includes the Museum of Fine Arts and Schonbrunn Palace. In Budapest the group goes by bus to the Danube Bend to visit Szendentre, the old town and Skansen in Visegrad, the Fortress and Royal Palace in Esztergom and finally the Basilika and Royal Palace. The tour returns to Budapest by boat.
Next, the tour takes in Carnuntum where the Archaeological Park takes the visitors back to the Roman world with exciting insights into the world of archaeology. The group takes in the National Park in Donau-Auen to see the Riparian Wetlands (the last, huge untouched wetlands in Europe) situated between the metropolises of Vienna and Bratislava.
The price per person (sharing a twin/double room) is QAR 5859 plus QAR 560. A person occupying a single room pays QAR 6940 plus QAR560. The package does not include lunch or dinner. In Vienna the group stays at the Beta Hotel and in Budapest the Mercure Duna.
The eight-day tour visits the Old Souq and the museum in Sana'a. Taiz sightseeing includes:
The tour price is QAR 4790 plus QAR 500 and covers twin accommodation plus breakfast and all other meals except lunch on two days. The group will stay at Taj Sheba or Movenpick in Sana'a and in the Sofitel in Taiz.
This seven-day tour takes in Jerash (with a local, English-speaking guide) and Um Qais. En route to Petra, the group visits Madaba, Mt. Nebo and Kerak. The full-day tour of Petra includes an 800-meter horse ride (a five-hour, English-speaking guide is available on site). Guests will be transferred to Wadi Rum for a 1 ½ hour Bedouin jeep ride inside the wadi. Tours of the Desert Castles of Amra, Azraq and Kharraneh and a swim at the Dead Sea Spa are included.
The price of the tour is QAR 3520 plus QAR 570. This includes sharing a twin room with breakfast and lunches. Air fare and taxes are subject to change without notice. Any upward revision will result in an increase in tour cost.
Starry Night in the Dunes: Friday 21st December 2007
This time-honoured event, when members gather at the singing dunes for an afternoon of fun, feasting and seasonal songs, has beenheld every year for over 20 years. Recently we have combined with members of the Doha Players to make it an even better occasion. As dusk closes everyone gathers beside an enormous bonfire to join in the singing and listen to musicians perform on an improvised stage, but before that Santa Claus is present in his grotto [a tent] to receive visits from the younger members and hand out goodies. Details and a map will be sent out nearer the time.
Any birders or twitchers might want to check out http://www.tommypedersen.com which carries reports and detail of birding sites in the UAE. Qatar isn't usually mentioned, but it'll give you some idea of what's in the neighbourhood. Anyone want to take on the QNHG Birding Group?
October 3rd 2007, 7.30 PM