Surrounded by sparkling turquoise water on one side, and majestic mountains and desert on the other, the city of Dahab, a small coastal town, with a population of around 15,000, extends along the Red Sea coast in the Sinai Peninsula. At first, you would think that Dahab isn’t the first destination that will pop in mind when you think about Egypt, Dahab is low-key. It lacks the astonishing aspect of Cairo’s grand pyramids or Aswan’s views of the Nile, and it can’t compete with the romance of Alexandria. But what Dahab lacks in historic magnificence, it more than makes up for with a stress-free bohemian vibe, breath-taking views, amazing climate, peaceful atmosphere, and the town’s warm and welcoming locals.
Dahab makes a strong first impression. When you walk along the town’s esplanade, which extends along the whole town’s shore, you can find seafood restaurants, and Indian, Korean, and Italian restaurants, which mirrors the diversity of the culture of its inhabitants who came to stay from all four corners of the world. Alongside these, it is filled with curio shops selling perfumes, rugs, and local Bedouins selling embroideries, and jewellery.
There are few luxury hotels, but you can find plenty of cosy, clean hotels such as the “Happy Life Village”, a four-star holiday village, about 12 minutes away from Dahab central, or “Hotel ibis Styles Dahab Lagoon”, situated near the town’s “Laguna Beach”, encircled with magnificent mountains, where the sea reflects a hundred shades of turquoise, depending on the amount and proximity of coral reefs; the beach is a popular spot for windsurfers.
Dahab is the perfect destination for water-loving people, it is a place where there is an abundance of swimming, snorkelling, and diving varieties. The most famous diving spot in Dahab is the Blue Hole, a 120-metre sinkhole, known by the nickname of ‘diver’s cemetery’ which is a mecca for the diving community. If you feel intimated by the Blue Hole, you can go to the Laguna Beach or Ras Abu Galum protectorate.
There are plenty of locally owned tour companies in Dahab, where you can take a four-wheel drive to Mount Sinai, Jordan’s Petra, or even Jerusalem.
A locally organised trip to the Ras Abu Galum National Park comes with a meal cooked in Bedouin-style on open fire. You can take the trip either in four-wheel drive vehicle trip or ride a camel from the Blue Hole. Taking the full day camel safari would offer a memorable experience, as you walk along the untouched shores, the beauty of nature and catch the desert vibes. The trip takes around one and half hour but once you reach your destination, you will never regret it.
Ras Abu Galum National Park, which lies between Dahab and Nuweiba in the East coast of South Sinai, is one of three national parks in Southeast Sinai, that covers 500 kilometres squared and 300 metres in depth.
It is considered to be a diving site of 30 metres to suit divers of all experience levels. Diving here starts with a sandy slope that descends from the shore with the reef wall starting on both sides, the place is really wild and mystic, as it is full of beautiful reefs.
Ras Abu Galum is a balanced eco-environment, with the tranquillity and beauty of its calm waters and mountain scenery. The magnificent marine life it enfolds, makes it a perfect place to get lost in. The national park is also inhabited by glamorous wildlife, as it houses various wild animals, such as foxes, and gazelles.
On the edge of the National Park of Ras Abu Galum is a Bedouin village, which offers a memorable, and unique style of accommodation, allowing you to watch the vibrant colours reflecting on the mountains in the afternoons, as the water itself turns into shades of violet. In terms of food, you can enjoy a Bedouin style romantic dinner under a star-full sky. At the end of the day, you can sleep under the stars in a sleeping bag, or in a tent.
If you want to have an unforgettable experience, a visit to Mount Sinai would be a must.
The trip takes around two hours on camels up the mountains, and then a further one-hour hike on foot. Moses may not have stood in this exact spot, but a view of a cloudless sky and sharp, rocky mountaintops that stretch to the horizon, watching the impressive sunrise over the vastness of the desert feels like the best way to end your stay in the Jewel of Sinai.
Getting to Dahab is easy, you only need to catch a bus from Cairo directly to your destination, and the bus travels through the Cairo-Sharm El Sheikh highway then goes into Dahab, or Taba – Nuweiba highway. For foreigners, it is even easier, as they only need to fly to Sharm El-Sheikh, and from there, take a bus to their destination.