Looking for a peaceful escape from the city life? Look no further than Purple Island, a stunning natural wonder located in Al Khor municipality on the northeast coast of Qatar, also referred to as Jazirat bin Ghanim or Al Khor Island.
Purple Island may be named after a color, but it’s actually a lush green oasis that offers a delightful experience for nature enthusiasts. Take a stroll along the salt marshes and you’ll be treated to sightings of fish, crabs, plants, and wildlife, along with fossils and beautiful blooms. Read on to discover more about this enchanting destination.
What’s the background history?
The island has likely never been permanently inhabited, but rather visited for various reasons throughout history. The Qatar Museum notes that it served as a transit point and temporary trade camp with Bahrain, and was utilized by fishermen and pearl divers as early as the 2nd millennium BCE. During the Kassite Period, it was used as a production site for red-purple dye from shellfish, and in the Sassanian Period, it was a camp for pearling expeditions. Finally, it served as a fishing outpost during the Late Islamic Period.
For what reason is the name Purple Island?
Purple Island earned its name from its association with purple dye production, which was a significant industry in the area. Archaeological excavations have uncovered a midden, a heap of shells, containing nearly 2.9 million crushed shells of the sea snail thais savignyi. Large ceramic vats, likely used to process the crushed molluscs, were also found. These shellfish produce a red to dark-red dye and are typically found living under rocks in the intertidal basin.
How can I go there?
To reach the Purple Island, which is situated approximately 50 km north of Doha, you can take a one-hour drive from the city. Even small cars like sedans can access the island. To get there, drive north on Shamal Highway towards Al Khor and turn right before Al Meera Dhakira. Continue straight and turn right onto an unpaved road that leads to the Purple Island parking area. You can find the Google Maps location by clicking here. Upon arrival, you will see a large open space where you can park your vehicle at the edge of the causeway.
What would you be able to explore on this island?
If you’re a nature lover, Purple Island is a perfect destination for strolling and exploring. One of the island’s main attractions is the mangrove forest in shallow lagoons. You can also spot small fish, crabs, and various birds. The wooden bridge that runs through the mangroves and over the water channels is a major landmark and leads to hills and the Purple Island beach. Walking across the canal on the wooden path can be an exciting adventure.
The terrain of Purple Island is not entirely flat as there are low limestone cliffs scattered throughout the area. It’s important to wear proper footwear while walking as there are many crab holes on the ground.
The beauty of the Purple Island in pictures
Here are a few important things to keep in mind when visiting Purple Island:
- Kayaking trips through the mangroves are available, but require pre-booking and payment.
- There are no toilet facilities on the island, so plan accordingly.
- Bring your own shade, as it is not available on the island.
- Remember to bring water and food with you, as there are no supermarkets or restaurants nearby except in Al Khor city.
- Finally, be sure to dispose of your trash properly by keeping it with you and throwing it in the bins provided in the area.
Wildlife and nature on Purple Island Qatar
Purple Island in Qatar is a true haven for nature lovers. The island is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including mangrove forests, crabs, fish, and various species of birds. The shallow lagoons surrounding the island provide an ideal habitat for various marine life, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving. Visitors can also take a stroll along the salt marshes, where they can appreciate spotting various plants, blooms, and fossils. The natural beauty of Purple Island is truly awe-inspiring, making it an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
One of the main attractions of Purple Island is the mangrove forest. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including migratory birds, crabs, and fish. Visitors can kayak through the mangroves, getting up close and personal with the stunning flora and fauna that call this area home. The wooden bridge located within the mangroves is another popular spot, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery. Purple Island is a perfect destination for those looking to escape the city and immerse themselves in nature’s beauty.
Best time to visit Purple Island Qatar
The best time to visit Purple Island Qatar is during the winter months, from November to March, when the weather is cooler and more pleasant. During this time, you can enjoy a comfortable stroll along the island’s trails and take in the beautiful scenery without feeling too hot or bothered. You may also be able to spot some migratory birds that come to the area during the winter months. It is important to note, however, that winter months can sometimes be windy, so it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater just in case.
On the other hand, summer months from April to October can be quite hot and humid in Qatar, making it less than ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring. The heat can be particularly intense in the middle of the day, so it’s best to plan your visit during the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. If you do decide to visit during the summer months, be sure to stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water and wearing light and breathable clothing. Additionally, it’s important to take precautions against the sun’s harmful rays by wearing sunscreen and a hat.
Other Islands in Qatar
Shura Awa Island