- Title: KUWAIT: Kuwaitis re-connect with their roots during camping season
- Date: 20th January 2010
- Summary: WIDE OF CAMPS A TENT SHOP TENT IN THE DISTANCE WIDE OF CAMPING AREA
- Embargoed: 4th February 2010 12:00
- Location: Kuwait
- Country: Kuwait
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA4F222558DTXTR30I3W0YH16KV
- Story Text: Kuwaitis enjoy the annual camping season that takes place during the mild winter months, re-instating traditional leisure activities by seeking refuge in the sand.
Kuwaitis, like their neighbours in the rest of the Gulf region, share a love of the desert, drawing many families to the south every winter to revive their desert customs.
Locals believe camping serves to remind several generations about their customs and traditions, sharing the desert's magical beauty with children keen to spend time out in the open.
One camping enthusiast, Soud al-Rajehi said: "We are now at the beginning of the winter. At the end of every year the weather improves, which we consider to be an opportunity for our families to leave the city and we camp in the desert for the kids to have fun. And this is very good, especially for us because we enjoy it more than our kids because of the family gathering, setting us free from our duties."
The camping season in Kuwait takes place between November and March each year due to mild weather during the winter season. The Kuwaiti government identifies locations that could be used for camping, away from government installations scattered across Kuwait's mainland.
"This year is better than the last one, And we hope that every year will to be better than the previous one. And thank God the weather is good and we have so much to do here," said camper Ahmed al-A'azmi.
Bneider is about 80 kilometres from Kuwait City in southern Kuwait, where families gather at the allocated camping sites. People arrive armed with their own supplies - water, food and entertainment to keep themselves busy during their stay in the tents.
Many Kuwaitis feel the need to seek refuge in the sand as an ancient method of eliminating stress and a way of releasing them from the mundane routine of daily life, whist staying connected to nature.
"Especially in Kuwait and generally in the gulf we always head towards the north or the south, which are the open desert areas. Especially in winter and the spring when the weather is good and the kids can have a lot of fun here, which is pastime for the Gulf people in general and the locals in Kuwait," said camper, Talal al-Fadli.
Camping is not limited to families only; the majority of companies, government bodies and unions also have their own plots for camping that employees are able to take advantage of.
Today's camping experience is a far cry from that of previous times when campers would struggle for miles to find drinking water. The modern appliances and facilities available on site aim to please younger campers as well as the adults.
"I come to the desert everyday to have fun and play and to enjoy, and we have trampolines in our camp and a lot of entertaining games. And we have a lot of motorcycles and buggies, which we like to ride a lot. And every Friday and Saturday the area becomes so crowded because of all the motorcycle shows," said child camper Abdul Rahman.
It is not unusual to find five to ten small single pavilion tents being used as sleeping quarters, with two or three larger family tents used as a family gathering place. Often, a couple of bathrooms are constructed out of aluminium and cement floors. Running water, flushing toilets and a fully functional gas stove in the kitchen are provided. With such modern appliances available in the camps, it is no wonder Kuwaitis continue to flock to the sites, remembering their past while welcoming in the future.
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