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With about the same population as Port Elizabeth, Qatar isn't the biggest country in the world, but through the tremendous wealth in its petroleum and natural gas reserves it has the highest GDP per capita in the world. The only direct flights from South Africa to Qatar are from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Doha with Qatar Airways. Use the flight bookings tool on the left to search, contrast and reserve the cheap flight deal.
On the 30th April 2014 all budget carriers are going to be operating from Doha's new Hamad International Airport, and from the 27th May 2014 all airlines will be operating from there.
Visa requirements for South African citizens to enter Qatar include:
Passport valid for six months after departure from Qatar
Copy of passport
Completed application form
Two colour passport-sized photos
Three months worth of original bank statements
Airticket that includes return or onward travel
Hotel booking confirmation
It's possible the requirements have changed since this was written, so for the latest up to date requirements,visit the Embassy of the State of Qatar or contact them at 012-452-1700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their physical address in South Africa is 355 Charles Street, Waterkloo, Pretoria. Note that the Qatar Embassy is closed on South African and Qatar's public holidays.
Keep these contact details handy in case you lose your passport, or something happens in Qatar requiring embassy assistance.
Physical address: Saha 100, Wet Bay Lagoon, Doha
Phone number : + 974-4485-7111
Johannesburg to Doha flights (JNB-DOH) with Qatar Airways (direct), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Turkish Airways (via Istanbul), EgyptAir (via Cairo) or Kenya Airways (via Nairobi).
Cape Town to Doha flights (CPT-DOH) with Qatar Airways (direct) or Turkish Airways (via Istanbul).
Durban to Doha flights (DUR-DOH) with SAA/Etihad (via Johannesburg & Abu Dhabi), BA/Qatar Airways (via Johannesburg) or SAA/Qatar Airways (via Johannesburg).
The currency used in Qatar is the Qatari riyal.
Arabic is the national language. Many locals are able to speak basic English.
Places of interest in Qatar include:
Doha is a city on the make. Its towering buildings, beautiful parks,ancient souqs, splashy malls, and fancy resort boat of a citydrenched in prosperity and fueled by growth. Check out its zoo withmore than 1500 animals, have a blast in one of the many theme parkssuch as Aladdin’s Kingdom, and head over to Souq Waqif for a tasteof a traditional market place.
Al-Khor ismuch more laid back than Doha. It isknown for its beautiful beaches as well the Al-Sultan beach resort.The main activities are relaxing and playing cricket or volleyball.The town itself has a variety of historical and modern mosques andmany watchtowers plus the usual opulent malls.
Al-Wakrah has become a bedroom community to Doha though its harbor gives it amore relaxed feel. Sites of interest include the Al Wakrah Museum, aformer fort which now is a local history museum and the House ofSheikh Ghanim Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, originally owned by a pearltrader and now fully restored. Visit the Manaratain Mosque too(non-Muslim visitors not allowed inside) and then pop over to thefish market next door to buy a fresh catch and have it cooked on thespot. Take a walk along the harbor to work it off.
Khor Al-Adaid is a major attraction in Qatar due to its inland sea—actually asalt water inlet that’s invaded the desert. The sea is surrounded by miles oftowering dunes. Visit in late afternoon for the best view or camp overnight for the ultimate experience.
Avoid May to September at all costs as temperatures can rise to 50°C. If you need to travel at that time, Doha is well-air conditioned and you’ll be able to see phenomena such as mirages and heat halos in the desert. The rest of the year is more comfortable with cooler nights and occasional rain. December to January is the most pleasant period.
You may either want to time your visit to Qatar to coincide with a public holiday and join in the fun, or avoid the date so as to avoid additional travel costs (and possible crowds):
3September (Independence Day)
18December (Qatar National Day)
Floating Public Holidays: