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Camping in the Sakheer Desert

The desert might not seem an obvious holiday destination.
But from November to March Sakhir, a desert area in the south of Bahrain, turns into a makeshift tent city as thousands of Bahrainis flock to campsites during the country’s annual camping season.
Families often meet in large gatherings on Fridays, with children playing together and older members catching up on gossip over tea or freshly-roasted coffee.
During the day, people play sports like volleyball and football, ride bikes or hop on dune buggies. At night, the skies light up with floodlights and bonfires, while lamps strung around campsite fences create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. This is the time to fire up the barbeque, play music and talk under the stars. Some, of course, prefer to concentrate on cards or video games indoors.
Home from home
All modern creature comforts are catered for: the campsites feature state-of-the-art tents with satellite TVs, the latest gaming consoles, flushing toilets and their own generators. A good cup of tea or any item left at home are a just short buggy ride: ‘pop-up’ cold stores and coffee shops see to that.
But families don’t have Sakhir all to themselves. Companies host employee get-togethers with games to encourage team-building and bonding. Schools take advantage of the camping season as an opportunity to promote exploration, discovery and interaction with nature.
Subin Karunakaran, a businessman from India working in Bahrain for 15 years, is an enthusiast: “Even a weekend at Sakhir is the perfect opportunity to relax with family, enjoy the outdoors or watch TV. It’s special to Bahrain.”