Things to do in Dahab
The most "traditional" thing to do in Dahab is not to do anything. It's one of the best places in the world to indulge this most exquisite passion and a lot of Dahab's reputation among travellers is based on that. Anyway, if "doing" something to you means "activity" or "sites" there's also a great variety of options:
- Kite surfing
- Scuba diving
- Desert excursions
- Desert Trekking
- Rock Climbing
- Yoga, Reiki, Chi Gong, etc.
- Horse back riding (& camel riding of course!)
- Quad bikes
- Learn Arabic
Wind-surfing and kite-surfing
Wind surfing: Dahab has about 270 days a year of wind. Experts with their own equipment can also surf from Masbat Bay, but must take great care not to hit the snorkellers and freedivers on Lighthouse Reef. Kite surfing can be done around the lagoona area, at Eel Garden or at other local spots. Recently, some kiters have started heading out to the Laguna at Ras Abu Galoum - stunning location and you will be just 1 or 2 kites rather than 10 or 20!
For wind forecast for Dahab see Wind Guru
There are several wind surfing schools around Laguna area offering all levels of courses:
Diving and Freediving
Diving and freediving are extremely popular in Dahab and need a bit more explanation. The reefs here are still in relatively good shape in town, and excellent shape in the Protected Areas like Ras Abu Galoum. Known dive sites include Abu Helal, Blue Hole, The Bells, Canyon, Coral Garden, Eel Garden, Lighthouse, Moray Garden, Islands, Three Pools, Gabr El Bint, Ras Abu Gallum.
You can dive the Blue Hole within safe recreational depths (that is without descending to the arch) - it is one of the top ten diving spots in the world. Bells / Blue Hole is extremely popular and beautiful. But be aware that it's crowded because lots of buses from Sharm come here. A normal dive in the Bells, a chimney which goes down to 30 metres perpendicular (very exciting experience!), needs you to possess advanced open water skills. Otherwise you are not allowed to go to 30 metres! Freediving is the new kid on the block in Dahab thanks to the very convenient Blue Hole site and an ever increasing range of world top freedivers training here.
There are more than 60 diving and freediving centres in Dahab, but some are not properly licensed by the Ministry of Tourism (subject to annual inspections and fees). This is an open list - simple alphabetical order, described in their own words. Before you book, check the CDWS web site to make sure you avoid blacklisted centres: [www]
- Bedouin Divers. Familiar dive center on the coast of the Red Sea in the Mashraba area of Dahab. Bedouin Divers is in the Bedouin Lodge Hotel, which can arrange Daily Diving, PADI Courses, Camel Dive Safaris and Boat Dives.
- Big Blue Dahab, . Is a fully equipped 5 Star Gold Palm Padi resort meters from the reef, a relaxed and welcoming environment ideal for both snorkeling and diving. Emphasis on safety and fun with an environmental awareness. Small dive groups with highly qualified instructors and divemasters to enjoy a full range of Padi courses and guided dives at affordable prices.
- Blue Realm, , e-mail: [email protected]. 8am-8pm. mobile +20 122 744 4873;. Great native-run diving center (English, Dutch, German, French and Arabic available: the owner's wife is actually Dutch). They charge for two dives €45 (plus extra for gear rental). Package discounts are available. A 5-day PADI Open Water course here is €260, incl. equipment
- BlueSkunk Freedivers. Offers a complete and progressive range of courses: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Deep. It is not the goal of the course to push towards a new personal best, as they emphasize technique development and depth adaptation before increasing depth. Safety first.
- Dahab Divers, , e-mail: , [email protected]. PADI 5 star Golden Palm Resort and Diving School at the Lighthouse in Masbat. Friendly staff, nice atmosphere, good equipment. The Technical Diving facilities in Dahab Divers is operated by Team Blue Immersion who offer both TDI, TecRec and GUE Programs up to Instructor Level. (www.blue-immersion.org and www.dahabdiverstechnical.com)
- Deep BlueDivers, +20 121134668, [www][www] is a fully equipped 5 Star Gold Palm Padi resort meters from the reef, The Red sea is where we do our business; which, obviously, is diving. We pride ourselves on being passionate, professional, and personalized in all our Red Sea scuba diving trips.. Emphasis on safety and fun with an environmental awareness. Small dive groups with highly qualified instructors and divemasters to enjoy a full range of Padi courses and guided dives at affordable prices.
- Desert Divers. Dive, climb, trek and freedive. The owner, Said, was Dahab's first Bedouin to learn to dive nearly 20 years ago. On the beach in the main bay (Masbat Bay, between the bridge and Lighthouse Reef). Excellent for diving and freediving (PADI 5 Star Gold Palm Resort, Home of the Camel Diving Safari and AIDA Freediving Centre). Given their Bedouin roots, they have also led the way in developing professional trekking and rock climbing. Their efforts to integrate adventure sports and tourism with the Bedouin community are very popular - they were recently awarded an EU grant for developing and promoting sustainable tourism in the Sinai.
- “Dive In Dahab". Was founded by Andreas (Andy) Tischer in 1999. In 2006 Hans Lange joined Dive In as a partner to Andy. Hans left the Dive In 2011 to built iDive Dahab.
- Dive The Gap. Is a gap year and career development scuba diving company that operates out of a PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Resort and National Geographic Centre. Dive The Gap is a UK Company that mainly operates in Dahab, and has a range of scuba diving programmes. Almost every PADI course is available from Open Water to Instructor and PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer with a full range of PADI specialities, diving safaris and recreational diving. Also packages are offered and a team located on site. Call 020 8133 4481 (+44 20 8133 4481) and you will be put through to the team in Egypt at no extra charge.
- Dive Pro Dahab. Is a company established by divers for divers to help them get the best out of their dive vacation. Located all over the red sea enables it to supply divers with services wherever they go.
- Divers Down Under (DDU). Attached to a 70-room hotel and hostel lodge, it offers a wide range of entry-level PADI courses in different languages, divemaster internships, speciality courses, as well as technical diving experiences (INTD and PADI-Dsat).
- Freedive Dahab, , e-mail: [email protected].Founded by Lotta Ericson (former World Record holder)and Linda Paganelli (Italian Champion). Freedive Dahab is an Instructor Training Center and SSI and AIDA school, providing all level courses and individual training. Freedive Dahab is also a freediving shop where you can buy or rent any piece of freediving equipment you can possibly need. Freedive Dahab also organizes National and World Record attempts and Competitions like the Triple Depth competition.
- H2O Divers Dahab. Professional, experienced and knowledgeable instructors that have been diving in Dahab for over 10 years. A friendly bunch of native English, French, German, Dutch and Arabic speakers that offer a full range of PADI courses. Right in the heart of Dahab's main bay – Masbat Bay. Three dive sites right on their door step: Lighthouse Reef, Mashraba and Bannerfish Bay. Bannerfish Bay’s easy entry is on their doorstep, with Lighthouse and Mashraba being a close two minute walk away.
- iDive Dahab, . Beautiful designed dive center at the Jowhara Hotel. iDive offers all range of courses of PADI, SSI and CMAS next to daily dive trips. Safaris and overnight trips are done as well. A Marine Research center is part of the iDive center which offers a great opportunity to get an inner look into marine sciences. iDive and its Open Ocean Center are initiating several activities to protect the sea. They are hosting frequently international universities who conduct field trips or having research projects here.
- Mirage Divers - Diving center, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Owned and run by a very professional Bedouins and they always do their best to offer a real social diving holidays which combine both safety and fun whilst experiencing a whole different culture in a truly unique atmosphere. Their groups are always small and there is a very high personal attention to all the divers.
- Nesima Diving Center, . French-run diving center generally judged to be the best in town. They charge a premium pricewise though, as two dives will cost you €47 (plus €20/day for gear rental). Package discounts available. A 5-day PADI Open Water course here is €302.
- Poseidon Divers, [www]. Get into technical diving or simply do fun dive or courses in a safe and professional way. It is the only PADI Career Development Centre in town as well as a PSA and TDI Instructor facility (the only one in Egypt), you will get no shortage of divers if you do your PADI DiveMaster or Instructor course here which is a definite plus for the quality of your course.
- Red Sea Relax PADI 5 Star National Geographic Instructor Development Resort, . British-run diving operation enjoying a prime beach side location in central Dahab, meters from the teeming reefs but also convenient for Dahab's center and modern amenities. On site accommodation is available with a choice of suite rooms, or a bed in the dormitory complex offered totally free for divers. PADI diving courses range from beginner through to professional Open Water Instructor, or for those already qualified daily diving takes place to any of the 20 local reefs. Boat excursions and Camel Dive Safaris are also arranged.
- Reef 2000 Diving Center. By Bedouin Moon Hotel, is a PADI 5* Gold Palm Resort and an IANTD technical facility. It offers a wide range of courses, from beginner- to technical diving courses.
- Sea Dancer Dive Center. Small professionally run outfit located on the sea front. Offers the full range of courses as well as guided dives. Staff are knowledgeable, experienced, enthusiastic and friendly, the equipment is a good standard and well maintained.
- Sea Pioneer Dive Club. Our Dive Centre is directly opposite the central Lighthouse diving area in Dahab. We are less than a minute's walk to the beach for confined and open water dives. In addition to intro dives, the PADI courses we conduct include Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Dive Master and many specialities. We can also arrange accommodation and airport transfers on request.
- World of freediving. International AIDA freediving School, World of Freediving is a freediving school located in Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt. They offer a wide range of freediving courses and training options for every level of ability,including AIDA Instructor Courses. All the courses are AIDA courses and the staff are all experienced AIDA trained instructors.
- Zen Sea. Offers fun dives, PADI courses and yoga diving.
Desert Excursions and Trekking
These need to be divided into 2 categories:
- Daily excursions to popular sites: These are organized by loads of small safari shops all along Dahab's Masbat Bay and inside hotels.
- 'King Safari Dahab'. On the beach front is an official licensed tour agency. They arrange a large variety of tours and personalised trips, such as camel safaris. They offer set and custom-made trips throughout Egypt, Jordan and Israel. Offering excursions to many destiantions ranging from one hour trips to one month treks.
- A friendly independent tour operator is 'Dahab Safari Tours' who are very popular with all kinds of tourists - individuals, couples, groups and families.
- Longer Desert Safaris and Treks: Although many of the small safari shops will offer these, if you really want to enjoy a deep desert experience you need to go directly to the Bedouin. For 2+ people (and ideally 3+ people to keep prices affordable), you can speak directly to your guide. A real Bedouin guide will take into account season and weather, your fitness and your ideas, and recommend a nice route. Most importantly, he will take you on a route he loves and knows well (not just a tourist trail). Please note that all safari businesses will have Bedouin guides and/or drivers on their desert trips. It is simply not possible to go into the desert without the knowledge and permission of these people of the desert. So, whichever company you chose, you will always have the opportunity to experience Bedouin culture in the desert.
- The Old Port: Walk by the ruins of an old Nabatean Port. It shows there was a community here dating back about 1600 years. Along the corniche at the beginning of Mashraba.
- The lagoona: at the south end of the Corniche, rent a bike to get here. Long sandy stretch for wind surfing, kite surfing or to admire the view. On the inside of the laguna, sandy shallow swimming great for small children. On the outside, deeper water (take care for strong current, don't head to far off shore). Take drinks and snacks with you as there are no cafes on the lagoona point. This is a great spot to spend a day away from the town centre.
- Three pools, the beach area of Wadi Gnai with lazy Bedouin cares. 20 min drive, lovely area for snorkeling, diving or just relaxing.
- Wadi Gnai, inland: This is a beautiful granite wadi (valley) with an oasis and several Bedouin gardens, 20 min drive. Great for day hike, dinner in the mountains and rock climbing.
- St Catherine mnastery and Mount Sinai: Very popular trip by day or overnight, organised by almost everyone (80-200LE). Alternatively, gather a group of people, charter a taxi. In winter, beat the crowds by climbing during the day and seeing the sunset instead. It gets cold at the summit, so bring a jacket! Bring flashlight, preferably worn on your head. There are some shops and teahouses along the way, so don't worry about the provisions.
- Ein Khudra: Bedouin palm-tree oasis. Can be busy in the day. To see it at its best, include in a longer desert safari and stay for dinner and overnight.
- Coloured Canyon: mainly day trip. If you would like to combine as part of a longer desert safari, be sure to have a full Egyptian Visa as it's often needed for the best route.
Some of the safari shops also do day / overday trips to Jordan and Israel. for these, try Bedouina at Mirage Village or Dahab Safari day tours along the beach-front. They also organise one-day trips to Cairo and Luxor.:
- Petra (Jordan). Is easily organised from Dahab
- Jerusalem (Israel) day-trips are also organised from Dahab.
The Sinai Desert has excellent rock climbing in the granite mountains and wadis. October–April only (i.e. not the hot summer months). The main area near to Dahab is Wadi Gnai:
- Vast amounts of perfect bouldering on granite boulders in shaded, sand-floored valleys
- Single and multi-pitch equipped sport routes for all levels of climbers in Waterfalls, Camel Canyon and Wadi Connection
- Top roping area especially for beginners and children in Middle Gnai
- Plus new routing possibilities for sport climbs in many easily accessible areas.
Desert Divers have led the way in developing rock climbing in the Sinai. They can arrange for permits to Wadi Gnai, equipment hire, drivers, guides and anything else you might need. They recently published the Sinai Rock Climbing Guide complete with topos and route descriptions. Their instructors are happy to share/offer advice to experienced climbers who can 'self-guide', or they can help you improve your climbing with beginner and Advanced technique courses.
St. Catherine also has incredible tradclimbing and bouldering. Base yourself in the village at Fox Camp or Sheikh Mousa Bedouin Camp with easy access (5 mns to 2 hours) to more than 60 routes. All long multipitch (7+ pitch), but wide range of grades. If you're a group, it is great fun to head deep into the desert by camel where you will find unclimbed lines almost everywhere you look! Absolutely no bolting allowed in St Catherine, and please respect the holy mountains of Mt Sinai and St Katherine by walking the traditional pilgrimage paths rather than climbing.
Sandboarding is said to be originated in Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs where they slid down dunes on pieces of wood. Yet, it only began to capture the center stage as one of the most exciting outdoor adventure sports within the past couple years. Today the sport has evolved in many countries with idyllic settings like Namibia, Peru in Latin America, Australia, the Western USA and Dubai in the UAE with ever-increasing followers throughout the world.
- Sandana Sandboarding, , e-mail:[email protected]. Full day and half day. Sandboarding trips are organized out of Dahab and Sharm El Sheikh, using professional equipment.
Yoga, Reiki, Chi Gong and more
Whether ashtanga, hatha or kundalini, yoga is increasingly popular in Dahab. Yoga on nearby Mount Sinai is a regular draw, as are full-moon retreats into the nearby wadis (desert), taking advantage of the silence and space of the Sinai desert. More and more people are coming to Dahab on holiday and yoga for Christmas has become a top travel destination.
The El Salam Camp and Yoga Shala holds daily classes throughout the year, as well as running regular retreats in high season. Classes are currently available in both English and Russian.
Coral Coast and Blue Beach Hotel offer daily yoga drop- in classes with various teachers of different yoga styles. Both yoga rooms are purpose built, with stunning view, situated on the roof, not accessible to public view and provide yoga-mats and props.
- Shisha try Egypts favorite pastime, smoking a shisha water pipe with flavored tobacco whilst watching the world go by.
- Kayaking a great way to explore the reef. Sea Kayaks are available for hire from Sheikh Salem House From 50 egp per hour, or try a guided night kayak - great for hot summer nights.
- Quad-bikes trips into the desert.
- Horse and camel riding
- Relax: Enjoying sun, sea and juices in the restaurants with plank beds, which you can use free of charge.