Singing Sand Dunes Qatar are an approximately 100 square km area with about 60 meter high sand dunes which create a magical vibrating sound when you move the sand. Some call it singing or humming, others farting … find out yourself.
Best way to Singing Sand Dunes Qatar
Can be safely done with a Sedan-car
- From Doha: take Salwa Road towards Saudi Arabia until you see the sign for Mesaieed. Take the exit and continue under the bridge, go right to get on the bridge and drive towards Mesaieed (Set your kilometres to 0).
- At the first Roundabout go straight. At around 14.8 Kilometres take the exit on the right that shows the sign to Kharrara.
Update: Due to the “New Orbital Highway Project” in this area, instead of going straight after the exit (there is construction blocking the way) you have to pass the construction area on the left side. Keep going for a few hundred meters, make a right curve. Then the road makes a gentle left curve and lead you on to the old straight road to the dunes. Be aware of a couple of sudden and large speed-bumps!
- At 20 kilometers you can either go straight or take the right turn. We recommend taking a right turn here, as the other road straight is
often permanently covered by soft sand. Thus it can be impossible to cross. Follow the road making a soft left curve after a good Kilometre.
- At the “pump station” turn left and drive for 800m.
Here you can park your car off the side of the road on the gravel and walk up the dune to the crescent. Update: the dune now covers the road and make it impossible to continue here anyways.
- WARNING: The sand is extremely soft and we highly recommend not attempting to drive on the sand, even with 4-wheel drive cars. GPS Coordinates: 25° 2’4.68″N 51°24’12.10″E or Google Maps
Sand-dunes, good views, amazing sunsets
It does not get any easier than this to reach such a beautiful desert location with large sand-dunes in all of Qatar. Singing Sand Dunes are a must visit, when visiting and even when living here.
Activities at the Singing Sand Dunes:
Park your car on the gravel area on the foothills of the sand dunes. Take a bottle of water with you and
- start your hike: you soon find out that the easiest way to get up those dunes is to walk along the gently rising ridge.
- admire the shapes that the sand-dunes have. Wind keeps changing these shapes whenever it blows.
- take breathtaking pictures, particularly at sunrise or sunset
- do picnic or BBQ (please take back everything you bring)
- bring the dune to sing and hum: this works best with three or more people. Sit next to each other on the highest part of the ridge and start moving downwards. It’s not about how fast you slide down, but it’s a matter of how much sand you can push away. Use your hands, your arms, your feet, legs and bum and work your way down. Thus, the more sand you push away in a continuous, slow movement, the louder the dune will hum. If you stop all at once you will hear the sound traveling down the dune. Try this experiment: one of you will lay down on his or her back, at the last third of the dune. Place the back of the head on the sand as well. Now let the remaining group of people bring the dune to hum as described above. The sound will travel down the dune and the person on the foothill of the dune will feel and hear the sound. Try it yourselves – it’s a feeling hard to describe.
Best time to visit Singing Sand Dunes Qatar:
The best time to go is on a windy day – the wind will help you to push the sand away. If the wind is very strong you can even hear faint whistles which make this place even more mysterious. Reach the place one or two hours before sunset and admire the change of colors.
Note:during the summer months the sand gets very hot after heavy rain the dunes will not sing – allow the sand to dry thoroughly (that can take up to 2 weeks or more).
Facilities at Singing Sand Dunes:
- No wash-room facilities
- No shaded facilities – mind the sun in the summer months.
- The closest petrol station and food store is in Doha. Make sure to fuel up before you go and bring plenty of water and a charged cellphone with you.
Good to know:
There are 35 known places in the world where singing sand dunes exist. Marco Polo in the 13th Century described this type of dunes as evil desert spirits – „[which] at times fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also of drums and the clash of arms.“. One scientist says: “Singing dunes constitute one of the most puzzling and impressive natural phenomenon I have ever encountered,“ (Bruno Andreotti from the University of Paris-7)
What makes the sand dunes sing?
Scientists have only recently begun to understand how the sound is created and there is still controversy among physicists. Grains of sand move together down the dune, thus colliding with and rolling around each other. Each bump makes a shock. Adding all tiny shocks together in the right conditions, makes the sound audible. The face of the dune acts like a big loudspeaker. The different tunes that each sand dune sings (yes, different dunes produce different tunes!) is shaped by the size of sand grains. Grain size determines the frequencies contained in the tune and the synchronized movement of these grains produces the humming sound.
Other resources about singing sand dunes:
Check out the Link to a study about Eureka Dune in California, one of the largest singing sand dunes in the world.