Dahab is one of the cheapest places in the world to do your diving courses and the Red Sea offers certified divers the chance to experience some fantastic dive sites. You can find a dive centre easily by walking down the main street or asking in your hotel.
The town is full of divers and windsurfers as these are the most popular activities in the area. The weather can be a little up and down in the winter months so the divers are happy when there’s no wind and the windsurfers happy when there is. The weather can sometimes affect visibility but most of the year the water is very clear.
The Red Sea is home to an amazing array of sea life. There are approximately 1100 species of fish (40 of them being endemic), 150 different types of crustaceans, 40 types of starfish, 25 species of urchins and over 100 different molluscs. The colourful corals are plentiful with over 200 different types, 125 of them being soft coral. That’s a lot of stuff to add to your list!
There are about 20 dive sites in Dahab, the most popular being the Blue Hole. Due to the massive amounts of tourists visiting every year, a lot of them being snorkelers just walking all over the reef, then most of the corals have been destroyed. Head left along the road a few minutes walk to a place called The Bells and start there for better diving and snorkelling, you’ll finish up at the Blue Hole and can exit from there. Tech diving and free diving are very popular here so don’t be surprised if you see people with four tanks way below you or you come face to face with someone with no tank at all!
The Canyon is a great deep dive as a huge crack in the sea floor descends to a sandy area at exactly 30 metres. Divers with their deep certification can go a little further into the canyon and the light displays here are amazing. Bannerfish Bay is great for beginners or people who love macro photography as all sorts of critters make their home here and seahorses are a plenty. Coral Gardens or Moray Gardens for lovely coral and reef fish or for a special adventure head to Ras Abu Gallum which is 90 mins by camel! Don’t worry, the camel carries your tank and equipment. It’s best to do this dive as an overnight trip which is more enjoyable.
Snorkelling from Dahab centre is best at the Lighthouse (go left when you enter) or walk 20 minutes further for some more great reefs. Catch a taxi to the Canyon or Blue Hole, or book to go with a dive centre, who will usually take snorkelers too.
You will love every minute of diving and snorkelling in the Red Sea. Be sure to take a camera with you and capture all those amazing underwater creatures.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Sitting pretty right on the Red Sea and in the middle of the desert in Egypt is the quaint little backpacker’s town of Dahab. Known for its cheap diving and superb dive sites, people also come here to climb one of the most famous mountains in the world: Mount Sinai. It’s one of those places you’ll fall in love with and most likely find yourself wanting to stay longer than planned.
If you arrive in Cairo then a short flight to Sharm El Sheikh and a one hour bus or taxi ride to Dahab is the easiest option. There are buses from Cairo but it’s a 10 hour trip (overnight is better) but don’t think you can sleep the hours away as they play movies at top volume all night. The international airport in Sharm has direct flights to many places in Europe.
Accommodation in Dahab used to be mainly backpacker resorts but now some bigger luxury resorts have popped up along the waterfront, making this a destination for any budget. You can find a simple room with shared bathroom for as little as $6 a night for two people, a beach front room with bathroom for about $30 and a five star resort for only $100, making this a cheap romantic luxury getaway or great budget holiday option.
Most people come to Dahab for diving or windsurfing but there are many other things to do. Take a jeep safari to the Coloured Canyon and see the magnificent coloured rocks that look like paintings. Camel safaris to Ras Abu Gallum are a great adventure. Go on an overnight trip with a local Bedouin and stay in one of the camps there, the snorkelling is lovely and it’s more than likely you’ll be one of the only people there. There are Bedouin camps in the mountains close to Dahab, ask a local taxi to take you to one and enjoy some hot tea and the most beautiful stars you’ll ever see. You might see up to 10 shooting stars in a couple of hours! You can go horse riding or quad biking, or take a boat cruise along the Red Sea and have a few drinks while watching the sun set.
Trips to Mount Sinai are easily organised from any hotel or tour operator. The climb is a tough one and it’s best to do it for sunrise but the tour is so popular and there are so many people on the mountain that you might be fighting for a spot to enjoy the view. It can get extremely cold so be sure to take warm clothes and a blanket or you will freeze.
The food in Dahab is cheap and delicious. Try the street food Koshari or Felafels for the cheaper option or a beachside restaurant for fabulous seafood feasts. Fresh pitas dipped in hummus or baba ganoush is a tasty snack. Have a beer at one of funky bars along the waterfront or party the night away in one of the clubs. There are touts all along the main street and they can be rather annoying but most of them are friendly and just want your business so be polite and say ‘La Shokran’ meaning no thank you and keep walking.
It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the sun and sea and work on your tan.
(by Kelly Luckman)