The abandoned settlement part of Al Madam in the East parts of the Emirate of Sharjah has become a hidden touristic gem in the United Arab Emirates. I had the place on my bucket list since quite a bunch of visits to the country, but its slightly remote location prevented it for quite a while. In February 2022, when I planned to concentrate on the Northern and East part of the country, I finally made a visit. Here is my Pictured Story of Al Madam Ghost Town.
Al Madam Ghost Town – Location & Access
The Al Madam Ghost Town is located South of the city of Al Madam, close to a commercial area. It is located West of the Maleha-Madam Rd (E55) and South of the E44 road. If you are traveling by rental car, you likely cannot head on Eastbound from Al Madam, as you will cross the Omani border behind the city limits. You need to use GPS or a map to find it – it is rather “accepted” than “welcome” to visit the place, I feel.
There are no entry restrictions to reach the Al Madam Ghost town. It is also a rather popular destination for jeep tours. If you do the visit on your own, there are two options: there is a trail from the E44, which is approaching the ghost town from a Northern direction. I haven’t tried it, but I read that 4WD and sand driving skills may be required. I took the route from the E55, which is approaching the place from the East. You first cross a commercial area on a paved road. The last some hundreds of meters, you need to drive on sand. Most of the road is very compact and there is no issue to drive with a normal road car. You see that closer to the former settlement, the color of the sand gets lighter – it is a good opportunity to park a 2WD car beforehand in the compact sand.
Views of Al Madam Ghost Town
From the East of the abandoned place, i.e. the route I took to visit Al Madam Ghost Town, you first walk (or drive if you are more confident and/or have a better car) through a former gate into the village. Camel footprints and tire marks in the sand tell you that the place is not as lonely as it feels to be. However, apart from some public workers who were cleaning the parking spot from dust, I have been on my own walking through the buildings. In general, all architecture is in a surprisingly good shape and going through this former part of Al Madam does not feel risky at all. I have not informed about potential wildlife threats, though.
There is not too much more to see than the buildings itself. The place is too known and popular that looters might find anything – even the rare cables have been ripped out. The more it feels remarkable that the level of vandalism is very limited.
A hidden “Star” at the Edge of the Village
The “hidden star” of the ghost village is definitely the mosque, which is located at the edge of the ghost town in a slightly remote loctation. It feels like that they tried to prevent animal encounters in the building by building a fence with a gate around it. Somehow impressive to enter this sacred building.
I just spend some twenty to thirty minutes in the village, not even having water or similar with me. On the pictures I took on the way back, you see how widespread this place has been – the main road through the village was really huge. I am also amazed that despite the dry landscape, you found a comparably high level of vegetation in there.