Dahab means ‘gold’ in Arabic. In Sinai it means golden sands, turquoise sea and off-beat cafe life. It is a focus of tourism development, with swaying palms, fine sand and wonderful snorkeling opportunities. Dahab has excellent hotel accommodations, but also affords less expensive housing in the village, or camping. About 5 miles from town is the famous Blue Hole, for diving. Towards the Israeli border is the Island of Coral, where the Crusaders built a fort. The remains can still be seen.
This pearl of the gulf actually consists of two villages, the Bedouin village of Assalah is the southern half, with the business and administrative center of Dahab to the north. There are also clusters of holiday villages that cater to affluent visitors.
Assalah is the most developed part of Dahab, 2,5 miles up the coat from downtown. Historically, It is a sprawling conglomeration of palm trees, shops, campgrounds, hotels, bars and restaurants that lie along the shore of Ghazala Bay. Assalah has a distictly bohemian feel. Less laid back, but still relaxed, is the area just south along El-Qura Bay. Here, upscale luxury holiday villages and dive centers attract a very different clientele.
Dahab was originally a Bedouin fishing village that today is world-renowned for its windsurfing, because of the reliable winds that provide outstanding flat water conditions. However, there are many reefs immediately adjacent to the waterfront hotels, so scuba diving and snorkeling are also very popular sports, especially considering the nearby Blue Hole.
One of the main attractions of Dahab are the unique on-the-ground restaurants, a mixture of Hippie and Bedouin styles developed over several decades. Large cushions and low tables are placed next to the sea, and decorated with colorful cloths. Most of these restaurants have fish stalls in front.
Dahab’s lagoon is a nice spot to watch, and also a great place for children to swim. The lagoon is formed by a long tongue of beach. On the outside, the ocean begins, allowing good swimming for adults. Still, the lagoon is little visited, a reflection of Dahab being well-equipped with beaches.
The Blue Hole, a few km north of Dahab, is probably Egypt’s most infamous diving spot. The hole is a shaft that starts just a metre below the surface of the sea. The dark zone on the photo above is the place.
It goes 80 metres straight down, and the main trip for experienced divers is to dive down to a depth of 60 metres, then pass through a tunnel to the outer edge of the reef before returning to the surface.
Blue Hole is not only for divers, it is chillingly fascinating for snorkelers too. The corals are colourful, fish abundant, and you can tickle your nerves by swimming along the edge of this hole which has no visible bottom.
Ra’s Abu Galum
Ra’s Abu Galum is a nice camel ride north of the Blue Hole. It is a genuine Bedouin village, with ramshackle huts on a sandy bank next to the ocean. There might be a few hundred people living here.