Join your friends at The Huntr for part II of The Huntr Road Trip Series – a curated edition of guides shining the spotlight on the very best adventures one can take around the UAE with a car and an open heart…
Last month we took you to Al Qudra – an area filled with natural wildlife and diverse bird species. This month we are suggesting that you head over to Sharjah, specifically to Mleiha – which is a must-visit for all history buffs, hikers and explorers…
It’s Friday and the 4.30am alarm has gone off but we’re not complaining. On this morning’s agenda we plan to catch the sunrise at Mleiha, Sharjah…
There’s a slight chill in the air at that time of the morning so it is the perfect time to grab a quick karak from the neighbourhood 24 hour supermarket before heading out towards the Mleiha-Fujairah road. About 100km from Dubai, Mleiha is an old village located in Sharjah, not too far from the more talked about Dhaid town.
Get on to Ras Al Khor and towards the Hatta/Oman road, about 20 minutes in and you’ll have the Al Sharjah/Al Dhaid and Sharjah-Kalba Road sign-boards finally leading you to Mleiha – the total drive there (from Dubai) took us about 50 minutes. The view on either side changed from industrial warehouses to endless expanse of dunes, the GPS screen switched from black to white and the street lights turned off as we drove east and made it just in time to catch the first light of the day.
Often when we head out in the mornings, we spot the biker and 4×4 convoy groups at gas stations, which is a common meeting point for them. If you’re keen on exploring more of the UAE’s outskirts, our suggestion would be to get talking to these groups as they know the roads like no others and are always happy to help.
We first made our way to the Mleiha Archeological Centre, where we got a glimpse of pre-historic Sharjah. The centre is home to a range of exhibits and artifacts, allowing visitors to learn about the ancient archeological environment of the region.
Surrounded by stunning natural landscape, the centre is a perfect spot to spend a relaxed early morning with its spacious layout and stunning viewing points. The cosy cafe with the views of the hills makes for a great breakfast spot too…
A 10 minute drive down from the Mleiha Archaeological Centre lies The Valley of The Caves, home to ancient Stone Age caves. This is a popular hiking spot for those in the know, but also comes with easy to traverse wooden walkways, trails and steps that give everyone a chance to explore the hidden nooks in the hills.
The world was just waking up and we were glad to have started our morning early, away from the bustling metropolis. Whilst Mleiha is a scenic drive destination, the fact that it is also one of the ancient settlements of the UAE and holds endless stories of the earliest civilization in the region, is the real USP… Don’t miss it.
The Huntr’s Quick Tips
- Before any long drive, remember to fuel up. You won’t be spotting too many gas stations on the outskirts as frequently as you do within the main city.
- Watch out for speed limits.
- For those looking to learn more about the history of this region, the Mleiha Archaeological Centre is definitely worth a visit. Tickets cost 25AED. The centre is open from 9am to 9pm on Thursdays & Fridays, and from 9am to 7pm from Saturday to Wednesday.
- Before getting on the road back home, you will also find road-side markets with fresh fruit, plants and pots for a little something to take back home.
THE MLEIHA OVERVIEW
Distance | Appx 100km from Dubai
Time Duration | 55 minute drive
Best time to get there | For the drive, it’s great between 6am & 8am or around sunset, between 5:30pm and 7:00pm.
Activities | Mleiha Archaeological Centre, Hiking, Off-Roading.
More on discovermleiha.ae.
Photography and words by Shama Nair exclusively for The Huntr