SASCOM Qatar
spacerHOME | SOCIAL GROUPS | EVENTS | INFO | CONTACT US
Currency Converter | FAQ's | Healthcare | Housing | On the Road | Qatar | SA Embassy | SA Facts | Schools | Weather Update | Weblinks spacer
 
Frequently Asked Questions

Questions
 
To get in touch with SASCOM Qatar, simply send an email to: sascomqatar@gmail.com



 
South African citizens are encouraged to register with the SA Embassy. Citizens are again assured that personal particulars are strictly confidential and will not be divulged to outside parties / institutions (whether in Qatar or elsewhere).

Click here to download the form to register with the South African Embassy in Qatar.
 
Useful Links

Baladiya - Doha Municipality
Hukoomi - Qatar e-Government site
(includes Family Visit Visa Application Procedure
)
Doha
Barzan Tower in West Bay, Doha
  Doha CityWe realize that a move to a foreign country can be scary (even though it is a huge adventure for most of us) and this raises a lot of questions. We have compiled a few of the most commonly asked ones and will update and add to this page as information changes.
Click on the various links provided to get more info on the specific topics.

Question:
How easy is it to make use of public transport, specifically a taxi?
 
Answer:
Karwa TaxiMetered private taxis are available in Doha and can take you almost everywhere you want to go in Qatar:
- Karwa taxis: You can order a taxi by calling KARWA at +974 4458-8888. QR4 are charged at pick-up with additional QR1.20 per kilometer inside Doha and QR1.80 outside Doha. Minimum fare is QR10. Karwa taxis are available at the arrivals terminal of the Doha Airport as well as outside most of the major shopping malls.

Click here for more information about being on the road in Qatar.

Question:
How to I go about purchasing a vehicle?
 
Cars in DohaAnswer:
It is very easy to buy a vehicle and very affordable. At least 50% cheaper than SA. You normally need a letter from your sponsor stating that they do not have a problem with you buying a car and then it is a matter of financing. This is one of the easiest exercises when you arrive.
A wide range of cars and their relevant spare parts are available locally. Large powerful four-wheel drive vehicles are popular. Used cars are almost always available at reasonable prices.
You can check:
- the various used car dealers in the Industrial Area or on Salwa Road
- bulletin boards at local supermarkets for cars for sale by expats leaving the country
- Facebook Forums

Question:
What is the price of petrol?
  Answer:
QAR1 a litre (that is around R2!!, cheaper than milk which is QAR5 for 1 litre!)

  Back to TOP
Question:
What are food prices like?
  Answer:
Average, even a bit similar to South Africa, mostly cheaper actually. You also quickly get used to the different tastes and brands.

Question:
Can you buy property in Doha?
  Answer:
Yes, but property is very expensive and expats can only buy in certain areas (like the West Bay Lagoon area and the new Pearl development). Those areas are extremely expensive.

Question:
Where is the best areas to stay?
 
Answer:
Housing Doha, and almost everywhere in the Middle East, does not have the distinction between good and better areas as we know in South Africa. Here it is much more of a mixture with brand new villas and older places all in the same area. Housing is more a matter of where it would be most convenient in terms of location of work and school. And of course the price of housing is quite high and therefore one tends to take what you can afford. Compounds (like townhouse complexes) are quite popular with expats as they provide a lot of amenities like pools and sport facilities, but they are also normally a bit more expensive.

In the Marhaba (a magazine you'll get acquainted with quickly when you arrive - www.marhaba.com.qa) you can read more about the various agents around.

You can also find more in the housing section of this site.

Question:
Who can assist with moving furniture?
  Answer:
There are quite a few logistics companies who can assist with this task and they vary as much in price as in service.

Companies to consider for Quotes:
Living Co. - Tel: +974 5585-0227
They dismantle, pack, move and fix again all kinds of furniture and fixtures with professional carpenters. They do the packing for shipment with reasonable prices.

MoveInchcape Shipping Services (Qatar) W.L.L.
Tel: +974 4432-9810
Fax: +974 4431-5190
Website: www.iss-shipping.com

Agility
Tel. +974 4456-8607 / 4456-9859 / 4456-9865
Fax +974 4456-9863
www.agilitylogistics.com

Click here for a non-endorsed list of companies that have been used in the past by others to ship their personal belongings between Qatar and South Africa.

Question:
How do I send a small parcel back home?
  Answer:
There are quite a few Courier companies who can assist with this task.

Contact Details:
Aramex - 4420-0100
DHL - 4458-7888
FedEx - 4455-4191
TNT - 4462-2262
UPS - 4432-2444

Question:
Who can I contact for Pest Control?
 
Answer:
If you are hassled by pests like bugs, cockroaches and ants, the best is to contact the municipality.

Pest Control in Doha Municipality: 4426-4888
Link to Government website where you can fill in a Pest Control Request.

  Back to TOP
Question:
Are there any domestic servants available?
 
Answer:
Yes, there is, mostly Philippine ladies work permanently under a sponsorship and even Indian men are willing to work on a casual basis.

To obtain sponsorship for a domestic servant, the best way is to work through a recruitment agency like Al Noof where you can call Myra on +974 4442-5869. It is best to wait until you are here and your husband receives his residence permit (which can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks). Please also bare in mind that it takes anything from 4 to 8 weeks for the maid to actually get here once the whole process at the agency has started. In the meantime you will be able to get some part time cleaners, etc, a very good alternative for the time being although more expensive as they get paid by the hour.

Cleaning Service Companies:

Al Moufid General Cleaning Services
Tel: +974 4498-0154
Mobile-1: +974 5524-2647
Mobile-2: +974 6649-5492
Fax: +974 449-80154
e-mail: qatarclean@gmail.com

Qatar Cleaning Company
Tel: +974 4466-2695 / 4466-9737 / 4466-9753 Cleaning
Fax: +974 4466-9760
e-mail: info@qatarcleaningco.com

qatarmaids.com
Tel: +974 7736-2999
e-mail: HelpNow@qatarmaids.com
www.qatarmaids.com

Qatar Maid Service
Tel: +974 4441-3462, +974 4436-7470
Mobile: +974 3024-4939, +974 3024-4940
e-mail: info@qatarmaidservice.com

Question:
Can you please tell us more about the schools in Doha and the kind of education we can expect for our children?
 
Answer:
Doha has numerous International Schools. Most of these have very high standards and children get an excellent international (mostly British) education. The top schools are Qatar Academy, DESS, Doha College and Park House English School, to name a few.

SchoolsRemember to bring their clinic cards with all the inoculations, the schools normally asks for this. Birth Certificates and previous school records are also required.
Class sizes are considerably smaller than in South Africa, so lots of individual attention for the young ones.


You can read more about these and find their contact details in the schools section of this site.

Question:
Can you please tell me more about the Nursery Schools in Doha and their locations?
 
Answer:
There are a lot nurseries around town and it really depends quite a bit on where you'll be staying.

You can read more about these and find their contact details in the schools section of this site.

  Back to TOP
Question:
What about Churches? And Sunday School for the kids?
 
Answer:
There are a few places where Christians can go, mostly non-denominational.
Doha Fellowship (non-denominational): +974 4436-1283
Children's Programme Youth Group for 14-19 year olds
Grace Fellowship (non-denominational/Evangelical): +974 4450-7167 (e-mail: secretary@graceqatar.org).
Children's, Youth and Awana Programmes
Qatar International Christian Ministry (non-denominational): +974 5553-4685
Sunshine Club for 4-13 yr olds / Youth and YAM Programmes
Anglican Church - services Sunday evenings, and Friday mornings at Doha English Speaking School. (All denominations welcome) Phone Rev Ian Young for further information. +974 4442-4329. Sunday School at DESS on Sundays at 15:15.

Question:
What type of activities can one get into - out of working hours?
 
Answer:
Safflia IslandBuying a boat and/or quad bikes are the most sought after activities. People enjoy the outdoors, sand and sea. Clubbing is not big but there is a little of that. Camping, shopping and that is about it. Of course traveling, because everything is close by and the airlines often offer promotions to take advantage of.

To give you some idea of costs: The zoo costs 5 Riyals, bowling 10 Riyals/game, ice-skating 35 Riyals including skate hire, watching a film about 30 Riyals.

Question:
How will I know what is happening in Qatar?
 
Answer:
Keep an eye on the
various activities (see the Social Events and Coffee Shoppe pages) on offer from time to time.Doha at Night

Some local websites to check out for event news in Doha:
www.diningindoha.com
blog.marhaba.com.qa
www.qatarhappening.com
www.qatarsocial.com
www. timeoutdoha.com

Question:
What is the dress code for both male and female?
 
Traditional dressAnswer:
Men and women wear normal western clothes like back home. Women must just be careful and should preferably not wear clothes that are too revealing like mini skirts, shorts, strappy blouses etc. The general rule would be to cover your shoulders and knees in public. Click here for more general information about Qatar.

Traditional dress for Qatari nationals is shown on the right.
Ladies: Abaya & Hijab (or Sheila)
Men: Thobe (or Dishdasha) & Ghutra

  Back to TOP
Question:
What are the restrictions and movement of non-nationals?
  Answer:
There are no "restrictions". We are allowed to go where everybody else is allowed to go. Both men and women can drive cars as long as they have a valid license.

Question:
What items are prohibited imports into Qatar?
  Answer:
Qatar customs will not allow you to bring the following items:
- Weapons and ammunition
- Fireworks
- Obscene pictures or magazines
- Narcotics and dangerous drugs
- Counterfeit coins and/or bank notes
- Alcohol or pork products.

Question:
In terms of the freedom within Dubai of expats - does Doha allow that type of freedom as well?
 
Answer:
Doha at NightDoha is very similar to Dubai. Just smaller with fewer clubs and going out places. It is also a very safe environment to move around in, taking walks on the corniche for example, can be very enjoyable.

So to put your mind at ease: Remember that this is a very safe environment to bring up your kids. They get exposed to an international education and other nationalities' points of view. Very liberating indeed! They have the opportunity to see new places and experience new things - very exciting indeed!

  Back to TOP
Question:
When is the holy month of Ramadan expected in Doha?
 
Answer:
The holy month of Ramadan in 2013 will most likely start on Tuesday, 9 July (pending the sighting of the moon) and will continue for 30 days until Wednesday, 7 August. Note that in the Muslim calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Monday, 8 July 2013.
Ramadan (c) N. Traut
During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours, and respecting these restrictions is not simply a matter of courtesy: Qatari law prohibits everyone from eating, drinking and smoking in public during Ramadan. The hotels will have food service available to non-Muslims during the day. The sale of alcohol and drinking alcohol in public at any time are strictly prohibited during Ramadan. At all times, modest dress is the rule in Qatar.

NOTE: Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year.


Thus, the holy month of Ramadan in 2014 will most likely start on Saturday, 28 June (pending the sighting of the moon) and will continue for 30 days until Sunday, 27 July. Note that in the Muslim calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Friday, 27 June 2014.

Click here to read more about behaviour and customs during Ramadan.

Question:
How do South Africans generally adapt in Doha?
 
Answer:
Very good, there is over 3000 of us here in Qatar, and we have various activities (see the Social Events and Coffee Shoppe pages) from time to time. It is really up to the individuals and their own attitudes. This is a friendly environment, different to back home, yet an adventure and new experience.

Question:
What are the rules and law regarding the use of Alcohol since this is a Muslim country?
 
Answer:
RestaurantsYou are not allowed to bring alcohol into Qatar at all. Any item like this in your luggage or container will be confiscated. Alcohol use is restricted to bars and restaurants in hotels. No other restaurants are licensed to sell alcohol.

There is one distributor of alcohol - Qatar Distribution Company, QDC (located near by the Industrial Area, a few hundred meters from the Al Jazeera Academy) and an expatriate must have a permit to be able to purchase liquor. The permit costs QR 1000, which is a refundable deposit. You can only apply for the permit once your RP (Residence Permit) is confirmed. Your employer has to provide a "Letter of no objection" to state that they have no problem with you obtaining this permit. Your permit then has a limited quota for the month and is renewable on an annual basis. Your liquor permit will be issued at QDC in a matter of minutes. The permit only allows the transportation of the liquor between the QDC shop and the permit holder's place of residence. Transport of liquor at any other time is at the permit holder's own risk.

Qatar has a zero tolerance for drinking and driving, it is highly recommended (and responsible) to make use of a lift or taxi when you go out and have a drink.

A note of warning in 2008:
"Dear All
I have heard on good authority that Qatar Police are carrying out random breath tests on drivers. Apparently these have been happening on the Corniche on Thu and Fri evenings.
Most of us come from countries where it is acceptable to have a small amount to drink and then drive. It is worth noting that Qatar have a zero tolerance policy to alcohol i.e. any amount of alcohol in your blood, no matter how small could result in a conviction. Apparently 10 expats have been arrested since Xmas, held in jail for 24 hours and then deported - never allowed to return to Qatar.
The bottom line is that if you have had so much of a sniff of alcohol, don't drive, get a taxi or a lift, it just isn't worth the risk.
Safe driving."

  Back to TOP
If you have more questions, you can send an email to: sascomqatar@gmail.com.
SASCOM logo