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Things to do in Dahab: My favorite place on Earth (photo essay)

September 12, 2011

Egypt, Photos, Special Features, Special Tips

Ahhh, Dahab…my beautiful beautiful Dahab. To me, it is one of those places you can’t quite explain how you fell in love with it, yet you also do know why–and very, very well. As with every great love, you can’t explain why you love it so much despite its (perhaps many) flaws. Basically, your feelings combine to form a complex paradox. And so, I deeply enjoy sharing my love for this magical little coastal town in the Sinai (Egypt) with the world. Today, I present you things to do in Dahab, Egypt!

Dive the Blue Hole

Top attractions in Dahab Blue Hole

Dahab's Blue Hole - photo courtesy of Tripadvisor.com

Yes, it is crowded. Yes, if it’s not protected, it will disappear. So if you go, make sure you emphasize to your guides the importance of protecting it. And, once you dive into the blue, enjoy. Dahab’s Blue Hole is a gorgeous, magical place. I went diving there for one of my required open water dives for my Advanced PADI certification with Penguin Divers and my experience was sublime. Our guide Hamdy knew the site better than he knew himself, that I was sure of. In a place so crowded, we only saw a couple of snorkelers during our descent and one snorkeler once at surface. Which means? It is still possible to only see the 4 other divers in your group and no one else when diving this beauty. We also saw a lot of fish and beautiful coral, deep at 30 m, so make sure you hire a very knowledgeable guide when diving this site. This will guarantee as great of an experience as mine. While some might say it is overrated, the Blue Hole is still a must in my book when visiting Dahab!

Camel safari, snorkeling and Bedouin lunch at Ras Abu Gallum reserve

Things to do in Dahab Ras Abu Gallum

Ras Abu Gallum reserve, Dahab - photo (c) divediscovery.com

Things to do in Dahab - camel ride

me Camel riding toward Ras Abu Gallum - Dahab

I had to show 2 photos here because the Ras Abu Gallum trip is out of this world. The perfect mix between desert adventure, gorgeous underwater world, and good food is this tour. I took a day trip: A camel safari that involved many things I always dreamed of doing: Snorkeling in blue coral heavens, riding a camel for more than 15 mins, mingling with the locals (Bedouins) and sharing a meal cooked by them in front of us. And while not all dreams are how you imagined them (the 1.5 hour camel ride EACH WAY was both painful and kind of scary!), it is one of those things you are so glad you did anyway! I always smile big when I remember this trip =) as I said, a day trip includes a 1.5 hour camel ride (remember: Each way!) through a precarious narrow dirt path by the mountainous coast,  as Ras Abu Gallum can’t be reach by car. Btw, you may opt to hike instead (which I will do next time I visit!). Once there, it is a protected oasis, sprinkled with Bedouin huts in which you may stay overnight if you wish. We opted to snorkel and the corals were gorgeous. half through the day, you enjoy Bedouin lunch cooked by you and a sumptuous feat indeed! We also got delicious, sweet Bedouin tea. The best part? Ras Abu Gallum was so desolated when we visited! Definitely added to our experience and another tour you can’t miss while in Dahab.

ATV tour around Dahab

Things to do in Dahab - ATV tour

photo courtesy of user Villa Soro, TravelPod

Omg, this must have been one of the funnest things I did one of the 4-5 times I visited Dahab! Once again, I arranged my ATV tour through Penguin Village and always, always bargained my price like a true local! Don’t forget to do this; it is indeed part of the culture. SO! We drove from Mashraba, where Penguin is located, all the way to the oasis in Dahab (or so that’s how it is called). Racing “is not allowed,” but we could get a dose of it on the way back *wink* Great GREAT trip! If you love adventure, this is a must when visiting Dahab! To book, while you can visit Lonely Planet website for a list of off-road activities and tours in Dahab and Viator, I highly recommend you book locally (in Egypt). Why? A) Much cheaper B) Your bargaining skills determine how much cheaper! *wink*

Horseback riding

Things to do in Dahab - horseback riding

Horseback riding in Dahab's lagoon - photo courtesy of Tripadvisor.com

A great alternative to go around Dahab if you think a Jeep tour would be boring, don’t like ATV’s and/or you find riding a camel too scary (or too painful). Routes vary: You could opt to go through the desert, around Dahab, or beyond. Most hostels and hotels sprinkled throughout Mashraba and the glitzy ones around the windsurfing beach on the other side of town offer many alternatives – all you have to do is ask!

Snorkeling around Mashraba, the Lighthouse, and other sites

Things to do in Dahab - snorkeling

photo by Jean-Michel BAUD on Flickr (All rights reserved)

The most cost-effective activity in Dahab! Simply hire or bring your own snorkeling gear and head to the water where marked. Dahab is surrounded by reefs, so it is opt to you where to go! The most popular spot is the Lighthouse for both divers and snorkelers, though much of the reef has been damaged by tourists stepping on it when entering through non-marked areas. Please, make sure you go in where a “easy entry” sign is on or ask the locals which are good spots to venture out independently. Take care of the reefs!

So there you have them, some travel inspiration for things to do in Dahab! There are several other activities in this charming little town, so I will have more posts like this in the future. Cheers and have a great week!

Have you visited Dahab? What’s your favorite thing to do there?

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19 Responses to “Things to do in Dahab: My favorite place on Earth (photo essay)”

  1. Maria Says:

    Stunning! Thanks for introducing me to this gorgeous place – had no idea it existed.

    Reply

  2. Nomadic Samuel Says:

    Simply gorgeous – I have to go there!

    Reply

  3. Mark Wiens Says:

    I wanted to visit Dabab so bad, but my time in Egypt ran out before I ever had a chance. I chose to visit the Siwa Oasis instead, so I’ll have to return to Egypt and visit Dahab in the future – especially since you say it’s one of your favorite places on earth!

    Reply

    • Maria Laborde Says:

      Siwa is amazing – but Dahab is something else. There are cheap flights with low-cost carriers from London direct to Sharm el Sheikh, then from there it is a short drive north to Dahab. U gotta go! :)

      Reply

  4. Hazelsmum Says:

    I’ll never forget the wonderful camel trip we did into the Sinai desert back in 1990. sleeping under the stars in a canyon, the sky framed by jagged peaks, the silence broken only by the plod of our camels’ feet in the sand. two days riding gave us time to learn how to sit more comfortably, loose trousers for men is an absolute must!!
    Dahab has changed from a few shacks on the beach since then, but it sounds like it has kept some of that magic still.

    Reply

  5. Traveling Ted Says:

    The blue hole looks very inviting. Great tips.

    Reply

  6. David N. Says:

    Agreed. We had an incredible time! Good article.

    Reply

  7. Sarah S. Says:

    Oh my lovely, lovely dahab. I will be back in only 2 days for 5!!! weeks. can’t believe. i am so excited about!

    a few other things you absolutely have to do in dahab:

    - dive in the canyon!
    - go to a two day trip to ras mohammed (to dive at yolanda and shark observatory, to sleep under the stars (and to see the milkyway as you never had before), eat chicken soup around the fire)
    - spend at least one night in the most fantastic and familiar hotel in Dahab (Sunsplash Divers)

    just loving it

    Reply

  8. Fiona Says:

    I loved your descriptions and photos of Dahab. I’ve been there 3 times and, like you, loved it from the minute I arrived. There is no way to describe what a wonderful place it is. Unfortunately, I don’t dive but I have snorkeled in quite a few of the sites you have mentioned (still to do the Blue Hole though)!
    There are many other places I have still to visit but I will return to Dahab one day.

    I would also recommend star gazing in the desert as the sky is amazing without the light pollution we have here, climbing Mount Sinai to watch the sun rise – it’s exhausting but the views are worth it and going to Rush on a Friday night. There aren’t many outdoor nightclubs in Scotland, especially with their own pool!

    Thanks for posting your photos and comments.

    Fiona

    Reply

    • Maria Laborde Says:

      Oooo, Rush wasn’t there when I visited! Another item for my travel bucket list for sure + yet another excuse to go back to Dahab :D can’t wait! Thanks for commenting :)

      Reply

  9. Marjo Says:

    Rush wasn’t there??? When were you there then, in the previous century? I come in Dahab 2-3 times every year since about 10 years, and don’t recall any time that the Rush has NOT been there. You must have missed it, but it’s a great place on Friday nights :)

    Reply

    • Maria Laborde Says:

      Wow, I’m disappointed in myself!! XD Perhaps I went and didn’t know that was the name, haha! Is it behind a narrow alley from the main corniche or..?

      Reply

  10. Shivya Says:

    It’s so beautiful! I can see why you fell in love with it. Hell, even I’m in love with it. Not seen such blue waters in a long time now.

    Reply

  11. Inga Says:

    Dahab was just once, but now it is my love for life. Snorkeling Ras Abu Gallo, narrow trail, rode a camel, ATV driving, dancing club, warm southerly winds, when the pub session … I love this place

    Reply

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