You might wonder what the desert is like here in Bahrain. According to Wikipedia a desert is a barren area of land where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of denudation. About one third of the land surface of the world is arid or semi-arid.
|This is a typical bush out on the sandy dry land.|
The desert in Bahrain is pretty much that way, barren and dry. However, the people treat it as if the land was covered with a blanket of grass. They picnic, play and lounge – in the sand.
|You guessed it! That is a mountain in Bahrain. The ONE mountain.|
The island country of the Kingdom of Bahrain is made up of 30 islands.
Bahrain Island is the largest landmass (where we live) at 55 km (34 mi) long by 18 km (11 mi) wide. It does not take long to get just about anywhere on the island by car.
For our desert adventure we first set out for the First Oil Well. Really! It is the first one.
|The landscape is covered with pipes and old oil wells. Some still are burning off gases.|
The oil reserves of Bahrain are quite small and, by Gulf standards, it produces only a token quantity of oil, less than 100 barrels a day right now.
|Pipes run through the sand as far as you could see.|
After we left the oil well, we headed south. Hubby D saw a sign for the “Tree of Life” so we made a bit of a detour. The “Tree of Life” is somewhat of a tourist attraction and promoted as an amazing site. Many of the expats in our group have visited it and were underwhelmed. I have never had a burning desire to see it but here we were so we struck out on the sand road towards the tree.
It was underwhelming.
After doing one big circle around the tree in the sand (this was a bit of fun), we headed overland on dirt roads that seemed at times to turn into footpaths rather than roads. Along the way we passed the remains of several campgrounds.
During the winter the Arab people like to set up camps and stay in the desert on the weekend. It seems to be something like when we go to the beach on vacation. They take 4 wheelers to ride around and play games outdoors in the cooler weather.
We came across this one abandoned camp where a single toilet remained out in the middle of a field of brush and sand.
To take this picture of the toilet, I hiked out into the sand about 50 yards from the road. However being very wary of snakes and briars, I was nervous. And, on top of that it was 47C (117 degrees Fahrenheit) and the wind was blowing very hard.
I can’t imagine how people lived out here without modern conveniences.
We headed on down the road and you could see the heat rolling up off the payment.
Traveling on toward Durrat Marina, our eventual destination, we passed a sign “CAUTION, Moving Sand.” And the sand was indeed blowing across the road and leaving large drifts along the edges.
|Oasis coming? No, just a man made roundabout.|
|Billboard with pictures of the King, Prime Minister and Crown Prince announcing our arrival at the development.|
This is a photo of the islands taken from outer space.
We were not able to go onto the residential part of the island as it is a gated community, but we did drive around the small marina and hotel that are under construction. From a distance, you can see the buildings rising into the sky from the desert floor.
After reaching our destination, we turned around and headed back to Manama by way of the other side of the island. The west edge of Bahrain is much more commercial and industrial. We passed two desalination plants.
Bahrain is ranked as the second country in the world to use the most water per square cm of land (disproportionally large amount of water consumption).
Before 1925, water supply in Bahrain depended on natural freshwater springs that used to flow freely in the northern part of the country. During the 1980’s, most of the springs ceased flowing and demand for water continued to increase leading to a shortage in Bahrain’s water supply.
Today Bahrain relies greatly on non-conventional sources of water. With 4 desalination plants, the total production of Desalinated and Ground water in Bahrain reaches up to 155 mn gallons while the total consumption of Blended Water reaches up to 150.12 mn gallons per year.
We also passed a housing development that surprised me. The sign reads “40,000 homes” being built for the people of Bahrain.
|Villas under construction.|
The closer we came to Manama, the more crowded the road became. It looks like roads will be on their “to do” list very soon if they put 40,000 more homes in the south.
|The road was crowded with trucks.|
Our trek in the Bahraini desert was interesting. However, I think the sand dunes in Dubai are more fun. LOL