Dahab Travel Guide
The city of Dahab is a popular tourist destination in south Sinai. It is considered to be the second most famous city in Sinai, after the world wide popular city of Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab means gold, and the city was named that because of its golden sand beaches.
In the past, Dahab was only a small fishing town until the Egyptian government gave it more importance in the late 1990s and built a number of resorts and hotels there. The Egyptian government added a lot of services and facilities in different sections of the city to increase the number of the tourists who visit Dahab and it has certainly paid off. Dahab is famous for its golden sand beaches, from which it took its name. This is besides its fascinating diving spots, as diving is the most popular activity to do in Dahab. The city is alsofamous for being the cheapest diving resort in Sinai in comparison to other resorts like Sharm El Sheikh and Ras Suder.
Where Is Dahab?
Dahab covers an area of more than 1,130 square kilometers and is located on Aqaba bay in the southeast of Sinai. Dahab is 81 kilometers north of Sharm El Sheikh, 135 kilometers away from the Israeli city of Eilat, and 465 kilometers away from the Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel. Dahab has two major bays: Al Qura and Ghazala.
Finding Accommodation In Dahab
One of the best things about Dahab is that you can find quite inexpensive, comfortable and clean hotels that range from only 15 to 40 US dollars per night, and you can find expensive international luxurious hotels and resorts as well. Dahab is suitable for tourists from all countries and all social classes because of its great deals on accommodation and many marine activities.
What’s In Dahab?
Dahab consists of (from the north to the south): Ras Abu Galuom, which is a protected area and an amazing spot for diving, the Blue Hole which is the most famous diving location in Dahab and in all of Sinai, then there is the Asia area which hosts more than 75% of the city’s population in three small towns: Mubarak, Al Zarnook, and Al Asia, which is the most famous section of Dahab. It includes a lot of small camps, beaches, and Beduin houses and cafes.
Another very interesting part of Dahab is Al Masbat, the most famous commercial and touristic section of Dahab. This area starts at Al Fanar Street that then there is Al Masbat Bay which is full of many stores that sell all kind of Egyptian souvenirs, different diving centers, cafes, camps, and hotels. This area is famous for its Bedouin style cafes that are directly on the beach and they serve all kinds of international and Egyptian food, beverages and alcohol, not to mention famous Egyptian shisha.
Then there is also the Laguna area where a number of hotels and diving centers are located. The area contains one of the most attractive beaches in Dahab.
I was lucky enough to visit the area of Masbat roughly 15 years ago as my nephew once lived there. He rented one of these cafes and he invited us to visit him. The place looked totally different than any other resort I have been to all around Egypt. Everything in the area is simple. Tourists from all over the world gather, sing, and dance in an unusual and very friendly atmosphere you rarely find anywhere. I was lucky as well to visit Dahab three years ago and it has developed tremendously. A lot of new hotels and resorts were opened and a lot of services and facilities were added to the city.
There is also the main city of Dahab where most of the large luxury hotels and governmental structures are located. Tourists who come to Dahab usually stay in that area, while cheaper hotels and camps are located in the Masbat area.
Activities in Dahab
There are a lot of interesting activities to do in Dahab like camel riding and beach buggy safari where you can ride into the desert and look at the amazing landscape. Dahab is also famous for its therapeutic centers where people from all over the world come to be cured of different diseases, especially arthritis.
Dahab has two especially exciting activity that it specializes in more than any other city in Sinai: windsurfing and sailing. This is because of the high speed of wind in Dahab due to the fact that the city is surrounded by mountains from all directions. Another famous activity in Dahab is skydiving. Tourists come from all over the world to try skydiving and there are many skydiving schools and services around Dahab.
Antiquities of Dahab
What a lot of tourists as well as Egyptians do not know is that Dahab is also the site of a number of important antiquities and monuments. There is the Dahab port located on the Aqaba Bay which the Nabataeans used in the second century B.C. to serve as a focal point in the trade between the east and the west. The port used to consist of a rectangular shape with a gate and two defensive towers. Inside this gate, a number of rooms were built and served as storages places and there was also an administrative section. A lot of coins and copper items were found in this ancient port.
Tal El Mashraba, or “the drinking hill” in Arabic, is another monument found in Dahab near the ancient port. It was discovered that camels used to come and drink fresh water from the beach itself and this was why this area was called that. A mine was also discovered in this area.
Famous Beaches in Dahab
The Blue Hole
The most popular and astonishing beach in Dahab is definitely the Blue Hole. This place is really mind-blowing as it consists of a huge blue hole in the sea. This hole was the result of a falling star that smashed into the earth in ancient times and caused this huge blue hole that is 100 meters deep with a radius of 50 meters. Professional divers come to the blue hole from all countries of the world because of the challenging adventure of exploring it and the unique sea life the place offers. However, diving in this area requires a huge amount of diving experience.
The Lighthouse diving area took its name from the fact that it is located near Dahab’s lighthouse. The dive site in this area is fascinating as there is reef around, with pinnacles and reefs providing a good variety of life. We found a large octopus, morays, red sea fish, crocodile fish and the usual assortment of fishes. The depth here ranges from 35 to 50 meters.
The Lighthouse is a very famous site for teaching diving for all levels from beginners level to technical professional diving. The place is also suitable for some night dives as you can see some creatures at night that you can never view in the morning. The Lighthouse area is also the perfect place for windsurfing and sailing
There is also the Ras Abu Galoum Protected Area with its unique sea life and a different bird watching experience is a favorite of many tourists.
One Day Trips Leaving From Dahab
Many one day trips can be organized from Dahab to some interesting places in Sinai. A one day trip can be organized to visit the famous Saint Catharine monastery and climb Mount Sinai to watch the sunrise, the distinctive colored canyons area, the city of Sharm El Sheikh and natural protected area of Ras Mohamed. You can also book a one-day camel safari or a comfortable 4X4 safari leaving from Dahab. It’s also possible to do a one day trip to any Egyptian city like Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan by plane or even by bus to visit the famous monuments in these places leaving from Dahab. One day trips to the famous Petra in Jordan are also able to be booked leaving from Dahab.