Dahab: A paradise between the Red Sea and the Sinai desert

Dahab is one of those places where after spending a few days, you want to stay for many more. People feel sorry to leave Dahab to their home. I discovered last year looking for a place to go diving.

Dahab is a small town on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. The Red Sea is a long, narrow sea, but if you look at the map you will see that this part is even closer. In fact from Dahab perfectly see the mountains of the coast of Saudi Arabia. Being so close the sea is generally calm, although often strong winds that create some waves and currents.

Red Sea and the Sinai desert

The Sinai Peninsula is a desert area, Rocky Mountains and almost no vegetation. Sharm el Sheikh is the main town in the area, right on the southern tip of the peninsula, famous for snorkeling areas and very popular with British tourists and other countries mainly in northern Europe as a destination for sun and beach. Dahab has a hippie style and although there are also some resorts in the suburbs, most visitors are backpackers or tourists who want to get away from mass tourism. Dahab is an hour drive from Sharm el Sheikh, going north on the east coast. Most hotels and Dahab dive centers offer the option to pick you up at the airport for a very reasonable price, which is quite convenient as public transport does not offer good connections.

 

Tourism has fallen sharply since the revolutions in Egypt 2011 and this has led to many hotels and businesses to close or fail to reach open. The first impression is quite shocking and it is hard to imagine that this will be the paradise you had described. After sleeping a while to get close to the promenade at a decent hour, you start to see the people of truth.

 

People living in the Sinai Peninsula are Bedouins, meaning “desert people” and have their customs and traditions and according to them, just like the rest of the Egyptians. The traditional dress is a long white tunic with a headscarf also white. Although today many typical dress in western clothes, you can still see several Bedouin traditional clothes. It is difficult to see Bedouin women in the street as they make life at home, only girls are selling bracelets to tourists. Although initially can be quite pushy for you to buy them bracelets, with a little grace you can get them to forget their business goals and play or start a conversation with them and they teach you some Arabic or explain a few things about their customs. The Bedouins are friendly people, and although they can be heavy trying to go tend to his or her restaurant really quite convincing yourself with grace.

 

In Dahab, as in many areas of the Red Sea diving is spectacular, clear waters, many colorful tropical fish, coral reefs and large almost always very good visibility. Furthermore, Dahab is well known among divers because less than 10 kilometers north of the town, is the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a huge hole in the sea of ‚Äč‚Äčover 100 meters deep, located right on the coast. A large wall of coral, which is becoming thicker until about 30 meters wide, forms a cylinder that separates the Blue Hole of the open sea. At about 65 feet deep there is what is known as the “bow”, which is like a tunnel connecting the Blue Hole with the rest of the sea and where you can go diving.

 

Because of its depth is a very dangerous dive and only experienced technical divers can do it. Although we can not see the famous arch, swim, snorkel or dive at shallow depths in the Blue Hole is an awesome experience. If you put yourself right in the middle endless deep blue sea and if you swim through the side you can see all the marine life on the coral reef. The Blue Hole also attracts many “free divers” (apnea) because it has a lot of depth to lower vertically.

 

Most dive centers and restaurants are concentrated in Dahab Bay town center. The beach promenade is full of bars and restaurants next to each other. There from the simplest to eat pizzas or sandwiches bars for about 5 or 6 euros, most with loungers beside the water ideal for sunbathing between dives, even a little more sophisticated restaurants offering Bedouin and international food. In these restaurants you eat well, you can dine fish or good fresh seafood by one 12 or 15 euros.