Mleiha Desert Safari Experience, Visit from Sharjah, UAE

Weather acted funny the day we were supposed to go for desert safari from Mleiha Archaeological centre. Winds kept roaring throughout the early part of the day but miraculously it all subsided by evening. Happily, we, the bloggers team from India, set out for the much awaited Mleiha desert safari experience. Interestingly desert Safari from Mleiha Archaeological center has something more to offer. The packages are more than the regular dune bashing and belly dancing that are part of desert safari packages from Dubai.

Mleiha Desert Safari

Mleiha Archaeological Centre is located on the Al Kalba road. The entire region around it is teeming with history. Excavations made in the 1980s yielded artifacts that date back to the early Stone Age. The center props up in the middle of the desert with no other landmarks around but for some mounds and small mountains. This archaeological center is new, opened in Feb 2016 and has a brilliant museum housing the finds of these excavations.

Desert Safari from Mleiha, UAE

We traveled in a Land Cruiser with our seat belts on to the desert after a good tour of the museum. This was checked very strictly. Our Pakistani driver told us there was a rare case of vehicle turning over. However none of the passengers was hurt. It is then I noticed cage like enclosure we were in. The entire vehicle has metal rods running all around the interiors which will nullify all effects of turning over in case of an accident. The ride was bumpy as expected. Swaying in our seats we managed to look through the windows and click few pictures.

Mleiha Desert Safari Land Cruiser

Land Cruiser Interiors

At Mleiha they offer educational experiences combined with fun. There are activities suiting all ages making it a worthwhile family tour and ideal day trip from Sharjah. Activities include star gazing, planet watching, archaeological tour which has rare fossil exhibits, Fatboy bike guided tours and other desert adventures. Scroll down for the various costs. We did the Fossil and Camel Rock option.

Fossils and Camel Rock at Mleiha

Just a glimpse of the rocky little mountains around gives a feeling of being in some outer world. For the first time I got to see real fossils. Having seen so many of these in displays in museums I always wondered how fossils look in their original form. This desert was under sea many centuries back probably when earth was still developing a final form. The sea receded leaving behind several marine creatures, the remains of which are now study materials for archaeologists. I photographed several of them; some of the shapes distinctly resemble sea shells. Excavations are still on and we are rightly not allowed to pick up anything to bring back as souvenirs.

Mleiha Desert Safari Fossils

Fossils in Mleiha desert

Mleiha Desert Safari Camel Rock

Camel Rock at Mleiha desert in UAE

Don’t miss the sight of Camel Rock if you are there. It is a huge rock formation which resembles a camel’s face from some angle. Sadly, I missed capturing it from that angle.

The weather had calmed comparatively, yet it was windy and with sand particles flying all around. We hurriedly took pictures and scrambled back to the comfort of Land Cruiser. The sunset was hardly impressive to our bad luck. Clouds played a major role in spoiling the show, hiding the sun long before it actually went down the horizon.

Mleiha Desert Safari with friends

Mleiha Desert Safari with blogger friends

Price of Activities at Mleiha

  • 90-minute archeological tour – Dh150, takes visitors around the various historical sites of Mleiha; the night-time off-road tour explores natural landscapes and all tours include the museum tour
  • Separate Museum Tour – Dh25.
  • Stargazing and planet-watching with expert guidance – Dh45 onwards
  • Fatboy bike guided tours – Dh70.

Travel Tips for Mleiha Desert Safari

  • Be prepared with a wrap just in case weather changes.
  • If you have motion sickness take your medication well in time, the ride in Mleiha desert safari is very rugged and bumpy.
  • Check out the various experience options, some combinations are a good deal.

Mleiha Desert Safari Sharjah UAE

Thanks to Air Arabia and Sharjah Tourism Board , I was in Sharjah in February 2017. The experiences and opinions completely mine.

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50 Responses to “Mleiha Desert Safari Experience, Visit from Sharjah, UAE

  • Glad to know about this archaeological site.

  • It must have been such an exciting experience with lots of adrenaline involved. I have tried a desert safari while I was in Peru and loved it, but we did it with small open buggies, not 4×4. The archaeological site sounds great for an educational visit.

  • You know, it never occurred to me that the desert would be cold until I saw the photo of you all in your jackets! The fossils look super cool. What an amazing opportunity for you and the other bloggers!

  • My husband and I would love this adventure since we have a Jeep and 4×4 all the time! The sand hill, fossils rock and camel rock would be wonderful to photograph. Good tip to be prepared for any change in weather.

  • This is such an interesting article. Have always fancied this type of trip and your excellent photographs hVe definitely inspired me!

  • I have been seeing a lot of desert trips. Especially in UAE. I would love to go out and ride the sand dunes like in the pictures

  • This looks like it was so much fun! Admittedly I’m not overly fond of desert trips, but this one looks like it’s totally worth it, and the sand dunes look so beautiful.

  • The safari reminds me of SATC 2 where they all go to Abu Dhabi and go on safari!
    Good to know that the weather calmed down over the day!
    I haven’t been on one yet and I really hope to go on one soon!

  • I keep hearing that a safari tour is one of the main things to do if visiting the UAE. Would love to visit the dunes and see the fossils – I think they are as cool now as I did in school!

  • I must add this to my list of places to visit when I am next in Dubai. I would love to see the fossils and camel rock l

  • Desert safaris are never dull are they? I did a desert safari in Dubai a few years back.. though it was a bumpy ride but was one of the best drives ever! Your travel tip of taking medications earlier is in place! I remember a couple vomiting after the safari!

  • The desert safari experience looks cool. I have done that too. However, I missed on the Fossils and Camel Rock at Mleiha.

  • The desert safari looks like a unique experience. Always have loved the wild beauty that the desert landscapes have. Experiences a desert safari on the sand dunes of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan and had found it exhilarating. This one promises to be a great experience too.

  • This seems like such an amazing experience. I’ve never been to a desert before, I do look forward to it.

  • Nice narration. The desert safaris in Rajasthan seem similar to this one..

  • I always wondered what makes the safari in sharjah different from rest of the deserts. Now I know. Those fossils and the camel rock are really impressive. And I am also impressed by the fact that the car is so well equipped to handle mishaps…if at all they happen

  • How did you feel visiting and experiencing the desert safari? Did you get any kind of motion sickness? I haven’t tried this one yet but it’s one of my bucket lists. It’s super cool!

  • Now this is something interesting. Like you mentioned to me earlier, I have not done this one earlier. Something new to try out whenever I get there. Bet it was a thrilling ride though! 😉

  • I never thought a tour in a desert can be VERY educational. It must a fun experience. I feel like I’d be totally acquainted to the place, it would be easier to remember. I would love to experience this tour but I’m a bit worried about the motion sickness it could cause me. Can I prepare myself for it?

  • Thanks for sharing this as living in Dubai I was unaware of it. Finding Fossils of marine creatures is really interesting. Star gazing I would like to prefer. I will make plans for this in winters.

  • Whoa, I didn’t know Sharjah has so many natural wonders. Fossils are most attractive to me. I was in Dubai last month. Unfortunately I missed seeing Sharjah due to lack of money and time. It is an expensive place.

  • I would have never thought you would find such beautiful and interesting finds in the middle of the desert. Great article which is no tempting me to visit!

  • Tatum Skipper
    7 months ago

    This was the one thing I wasn’t able to do when I visited Dubai! Ugh, it looks like so much fun though. Seeing fossils on the trip, however, would be the icing on the cake!!

  • This desert safari sounds so much fun and exciting. And when people go to UAE, most of them skip Sharjah and stick to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I’d love to go here when I’m in UAE.

  • The landscape is stunning! I love deserts, but this seems like an exceptional experience. As long as your car doesn’t flip over:) Would love to check out the fossils too.

  • It must be so nice to go on a dessert safari. The further away from any town the better I would guess, but also a bit frightening maybe. Especially with the sun on the sand it is magical.

  • I had no clue about this place…all I knew was Hatta desert. And oh…the fossils are so explicit…never seen a fossil like this in the desert. I would love to go on a desert safari when I am in UAE next…havent been on one till date!

  • This is what I’m talking about! I always see Dubai posts for the UAE and it’s not really my style. However, I would love to explore this desert. I’m obsessed with desert landscapes and rock formations so this looks perfect for me!

  • Now this is a part of the world I know nothing about. Your pictures are wonderful and took me through your journey. I would love to go there one day.

  • What an interesting thing to do. I would love driving up that dune but think my motion sickness would be going crazy!

  • I have not heard of this place but it looks really cool. Its great to learn about these places and from the pictures it definitely looks like its worth a visit.

  • The landscape is amazing, we’ve been to the UAE a couple of times but this region looks fascinating.

  • Megan Jerrard
    6 months ago

    This is awesome – I did a desert safari in Dubai, but it was a pretty standard safari experience, and there were no fossils around – my husband is fascinated by archaeology so would love this combination – too bad you’re not allowed to pick up anything to bring back as souvenirs. Can totally understand that though!

  • I’ve been recently in Dubai but unfortunately we didn’t have much time to plan a safari. So reading your post made me feel a little of regret. But anyway probably I will try a next time maybe in a savage place like yours.

  • Wow. This is such an amazing experience. I’m always a big fan of rock formations. When my family visiy Sharjah next year, this archeologixal tour is really a must try.

  • Camel Rock is quite stunning and your trip in general sounds amazing! Desert safaris are quite different and fascinating. The one in Chile that I visited had no fossils, but it’s own unique life. Have yet to visit this region of the world!!

  • We had an awesome time dune bashing in the UAE. We even spotted some of the wildlife like ibex that are out in the desert.

  • Nice post. Who knew there was so much to see and do in a desert! Good tips and pictures. Sea shell fossils in the desert – what an interesting world we live in.

  • Claire Summers
    6 months ago

    This looks like such a fascinating place to visit. The historian in my gets really excited by Fossils. I’d love to take a trip there one day. Lovely images.

  • I’ve never heard of Mleiha but it sounds like a really cool site! Good tip about the bumpy roads for those with car sickness. Thanks for listing the prices for the guides too, that’s really helpful!

  • Seems like a wonderful desert safari experience! I’m surprised to hear about the fossils in the desert, but it make sense if there was an ancient body of water once there. Would love to go on a similar trip one day, the sand dunes look so fun!

  • Amazing experience… Loved those fossils. The desert must be hiding so many secrets beneath the sand! I havn’t even done a desert safari in Rajasthan. So this also makes me sad!!

  • The car ride definitely looks like it wouldn’t be too relaxing, but based on your photos sounds like it was worth it! The UAE must be a fascinating place to visit.

  • The desert is such a mystery. This looks like a fun trip and an experience that you’ll always remember.

  • This look like a lot of fun. We love a bit of adventure. We did a 4WD from Dubai before and although it was a lot of fun in the sand dunes it didn’t have the archaeology part of it. Next time in Dubai we will look into doing this one.

  • It sounds like a fascinating journey. I love the fact that the Desert Safari with the Mleiha Archaeological Center goes into history and geography as well as adventure. Glad you didn’t tip over!

  • ohhhhhhh fossils 🙂 and 4×4 sand driving. now thatch my sort of adventure! thanks for the share and very good read, i enjoyed it from start to finish 🙂

  • I’d never heard of a desert safari — such interesting rock formations and beautiful things to see and do!

  • Pretty great. A desert safari would be right up my alley…or dune, I should say.

  • I’m glad the weather cleared up for you so you could enjoy your trip! Camel rock looks really cool!

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