Dahab

What to Do in Dahab: Diving and More - Your Ultimate Trip Guide

Dahab, despite being a relatively small vacation destination, offers plenty of exciting activities for travelers. Most of these activities are related to the sea, providing unbeatable conditions for various sports, especially diving in Dahab and its surroundings. Wind-dependent surfing modalities such as kitesurfing and windsurfing are also popular in the area.

However, there’s more to Dahab than just water sports. Inland, there are numerous options for active and cultural tourism, with sophisticated hotels and resorts that represent the new face of Dahab. Egipto Exclusivo specializes in organizing tailor-made trips to Dahab that cater to your every need, ensuring your trip is unforgettable. Contact us now to explore all the possibilities!

Table of contents

Where is Dahab and What is Its Climate Like?

Dahab is situated on the southeastern part of the Sinai Peninsula, on the Red Sea coast that enters the Gulf of Aqaba. As such, it shares its coastline with other important destinations in the area, and it is equidistant from Sharm El Sheikh (80 km to the south) and Nuweiba (70 km to the north). The coast of the Arabian Peninsula, at the height of the tourist settlement of Magna, in Saudi Arabia, is also less than 20 km away from Dahab.

When it comes to climate, Dahab is known for its warmth, but it is less intense than in other parts of Egypt. Maximum temperatures typically reach around 35ºC during the summer months and 20ºC in the winter months, making it an ideal tourist destination during the western “low season.” In terms of minimum temperatures, summer nights are typically very warm, averaging at around 25ºC, while in winter they rarely drop below 10ºC.

Furthermore, Dahab experiences very little rainfall throughout the year, and days are almost always sunny, ensuring clear blue skies. Nevertheless, it is important to take precautions to protect your skin, head, and eyes with strong creams, hats, and sunglasses, respectively.

Playa Dahab

What is Dahab like: Society and Landscape?

Dahab is a tourist destination that is different from what is usually found in Egypt and, in particular, from what the Red Sea coast usually offers. Both socially and landscape-wise, it has a marked personality of its own.

Dahab Red Sea
Dahab Red Sea

Dahab on a Social Level

Dahab used to be a destination mainly for backpackers, surfers, and young people. The majority of accommodations were surf camps and simple guesthouses, and the dining options were mostly international cuisine without any pretense of sophistication. Travelers came here primarily for the diving in Dahab or the wind-dependent sports like kitesurfing and windsurfing.

However, things have changed in recent years with the construction of significant resorts that have raised the standards of quality and services to meet the expectations of travelers. Despite this change, the alternative and youthful character that once gave Dahab an almost hippie vibe has not disappeared. 

This combination of styles and improvement in services has led to some classifying Dahab as a “hipster” destination – a casual and cultural atmosphere for tourists who are well-informed and demand more.

Regarding the local population and long-term residents, multiculturalism prevails. The Arab Egyptian population is complemented by the colorful and picturesque notes of the desert Bedouins, who are gradually shifting from a nomadic lifestyle to focus more on tourism. Sudanese immigrants and Western foreigners, many of them young, also contribute to the diversity of the population. Some of these foreigners choose to spend a significant part of the year in Dahab due to the many activities available and the lower cost of living.

The Stunning Landscape of Dahab

The landscape of Dahab is unique among other Red Sea vacation spots, particularly those on the African coast, such as Hurghada or Marsa Alam. While these areas feature flat terrain with occasional wadis along the coast, Dahab’s landscape boasts a more dramatic contrast between land and sea.

The Red Sea waters that lap against Dahab’s coast are crystal clear, and the coral reefs that are close to the shore provide an incredible variety of color shades, ranging from light blue to dark navy to turquoise green. 

The beaches in Dahab are a mixture of white and reddish sand, with a fine texture blended with small stones of the same color. It’s as if the desert has come to cool off with the sea water, creating a beautiful and unique landscape. And all of this on shores with gentle slopes and generally weak waves, with undulating water in the morning and choppy in the afternoon.

In addition, the rocky, golden mountains of Dahab add to the breathtaking scenery, taking on dazzling reddish hues at dawn, a common occurrence in the Sinai Mountain Range. The rugged and steep profile allows visitors to imagine the rocky valleys of the interior and the capricious granite formations that appear almost magically.

All of these natural features can be found in and around Dahab, along kilometers of coastline. However, they reach their full splendor in Ras Abu Gallum, a protected marine and terrestrial park that offers organized excursions, as we will see below.

What to do in Dahab

There is no doubt that there are two main things to do in Dahab: diving and water sports related to wind (windsurfing and kitesurfing). However, they are not the only options, as we will show you below. And many of them involve active tourism, which has been able to exploit the numerous possibilities offered by the landscape of Dahab and its surroundings.

Diving in Dahab
Diving in Dahab

Diving in Dahab

Many experienced divers believe that diving in Dahab is even better than in other popular destinations for this activity. Despite the potential risks of some challenging dive sites, the rich marine life that Dahab’s waters hold makes it worth it for many.

Divers can witness a wide range of fascinating creatures, from clownfish and angel fish to unicorn fish and triggerfish. The variety of corals is also impressive, with beautiful specimens of brain coral, fire coral, and soft corals, among others. 

Here is a list of the main diving spots in Dahab:

  • Blue Hole or Agujero Azul: Of all the diving spots in Dahab, this is undoubtedly the most famous, known worldwide for its beauty, but also for its difficulty and danger, as evidenced by its nickname “divers’ cemetery.” Its name may also be accompanied by “The Bells,” as one of its chimney-shaped entrances produces a sound effect reminiscent of bells. It is located about 8 km north of Dahab and is a coral dolina that connects to the open sea at a depth of about 50 meters. It concentrates a large part of the marine species diversity in this area, highlighting giant gorgonians, anemone fish, and a wide variety of sponges.
  • The Canyon: About 7 km north of Dahab
  • Ras Abu Helal: About 4 km north of Dahab
  • Eel Garden: About 1.5 km north of Dahab
  • Lighthouse: Popular for its proximity and low difficulty, ideal for beginners
  • Moray Garden: About 6 km south of Dahab
  • Golden Blocks: Located next to the previous spot
  • Three Pools: About 6.5 km south of Dahab
  • The Caves: About 9 km south of Dahab

However, those who want to take fewer risks can settle for snorkeling, another great thing to do in Dahab. Snorkeling with a tube and shallow diving can also reveal numerous species of fish and naturally colorful coral reefs. Initiation courses are common in Dahab, and the necessary equipment is very affordable and easy to obtain.

On the other hand, diving enthusiasts in Dahab can take a longer excursion to reach one of the most popular places in the country for this activity: Ras Muhammad National Park, located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, about 120 km from Dahab and on the outskirts of Sharm El Sheik. For more information on this experience, please refer to the page dedicated to Sharm El Sheik.

Actividades acuaticas Dahab

Water Activities: Kitesurfing and Windsurfing in Dahab

Dahab is a popular destination for sunny beach holidays, and it offers a wide variety of water sports, particularly kitesurfing and windsurfing. The good wind statistics throughout the year, especially in late summer and early fall, make it an ideal place to enjoy these activities. Instructors and equipment rental shops are strategically located near the small port and beaches.

Dahab has areas for sailing upwind and downwind, making these activities suitable for all levels, including children. Apart from diving and snorkeling, kitesurfing and windsurfing are the other two most popular water activities in Dahab.

Climbing in Dahab

Dahab is a fantastic destination for those who love climbing, with its characteristic granite rock mountains offering high-quality climbing opportunities that are not found in many other tourist destinations along the Red Sea. One of the unique attractions of climbing in Dahab is the possibility of practicing the sport on shaded walls while enjoying a warm climate during the winter, which is why many foreign climbers flock here at that time of year and often opt for multi-day packages.

Bouldering is also a popular climbing variant in Dahab, which involves climbing on small rocks that are several meters high without using protective gear. This activity is gaining popularity and yet to be fully exploited, with some recently discovered corners such as Bir Wadi Qnai offering new opportunities for boulderers.

Desert and Mountain Excursions

Dahab offers some of the best trekking opportunities in Egypt. While the country’s terrain is not particularly rugged, the Sinai Mountain Range boasts the highest elevations in Egypt. Hiking routes in this natural environment attract many enthusiasts seeking unique walking itineraries that differ from those offered by other mountain ranges around the world. Instead of snow, green valleys, or flowing rivers, trekkers can explore oases, natural springs, canyons carved into the rock, and other exciting surprises.

One of the main attractions of these experiences is the opportunity to explore the region with Bedouin guides, who can offer the best possible assistance vehicle: the camel. These treks can also include Bedouin dinners or “technical stops” in traditional tents, allowing visitors to learn more about the culture of these nomadic people who have been living in the desert for centuries.

 

Hikers visiting Dahab have several preferred places to explore:

  • Jebel Makhroum: This mountain is known as the “Mountain with a Hole” because of the surprising hole in it. Its dune environment also makes it an attractive place to visit.
  • Ras Abu Galum: This maritime-terrestrial national park, located about 30 km north of Dahab, offers not only stunning underwater beauty but also unique terrestrial landscapes. Jebel Fuga is a particularly interesting place with its “column forest,” which seems to be shaped by nature’s whim.
  • Mount Sinai: This mountain is about fifty kilometers away in a straight line from Dahab, and a trek here can be physically demanding, requiring several days of planning. However, for many, the effort is worth it because of the natural beauty of the mountain and its symbolic significance. Mount Sinai is a sacred place for Judaism and Christianity, so it is not only popular with hikers but also with pilgrims. Watching the sunrise here is a great attraction, and many people camp in scattered tents or sleep outdoors for this purpose. Despite its altitude (2,285 meters above sea level), the route does not entail any special difficulty, but Bedouin companions with their camels are available for hire.
  • Monte Catalina: Located very close to Mount Sinai, this mountain represents the highest peak in the country, standing at 2,629 meters above sea level. It has a strong symbolic and religious significance, as according to Christianity, angels transported the mortal remains of the martyr Saint Catherine of Alexandria to this place sometime after her death in the 4th century. Its landscape and views are very similar to those of Mount Sinai, but the sense of solitude here allows for reflection and connection with nature. More information about the Santa Catalina Oasis can be found on the dedicated page.
Quad y 4x4 Dahab

4x4 Desert Safari

Dahab is a popular tourist destination in the Red Sea region, offering a variety of exciting activities for visitors. One of the classic options is an off-road vehicle safari through the desert. Several companies provide this service using jeeps with experienced drivers, which is the most comfortable way to explore the remote areas of the desert. Alternatively, you can opt for an individual vehicle like a quad, where you get to be the main driver on the route. However, this option is usually of low difficulty, and it’s recommended for inexperienced drivers.

Cultural Excursions Near Dahab

Day trips to cultural sites are other interesting proposals to do in Dahab. They are aimed at those who want to momentarily park their active tourism plans and enjoy local history and art. Of course, it is possible to travel to many interesting places from Sharm El Sheikh airport. But if you prefer to take routes to closer places by road, the options are also varied. Starting from Dahab, these are the most popular:

  • Monastery of Saint Catherine: Located about 130 km from Dahab (less than 2 hours by car), next to Mount Sinai, this historical-artistic monument is the most outstanding site in the entire Sinai Peninsula. Originally founded as a small Christian chapel by Saint Helena in the 4th century, it was later expanded by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. It’s also the resting place of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The monastery features a spectacular basilica and a famous library, although visits to the library are typically not authorized. Another notable site is the Burning Bush, which miraculously caught fire as a divine revelation to Moses. Additionally, the complex has a mosque, likely built by Bedouin workers during the Middle Ages. Its fortress-like appearance makes it an unmistakable landmark.
  • Serabit el-Khadim: This is the main archaeological site of Ancient Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula, located about 300 km from Dahab, with a journey time of approximately 4 hours. It was a mining complex dedicated to the extraction of turquoise and featured a temple where the goddess of this activity, Baalat, was worshipped. Some remains of this temple are still visible today.

Practical Information for Visitors to Dahab

If you’re planning a trip to Dahab, it’s important to know not only what to do in the area, as we’ve explained above, but also practical information to help you organize your stay. Here are some useful tips:

How to Get to Dahab

Dahab is easily accessible thanks to the significant tourist development on the Sinai coast, with several options for getting here.

  • Plane: Two airports are available to arrive in Dahab by plane:
    • Sharm El Sheikh International Airport: It’s the closest and the most connected airport, just 90 km from Dahab. It receives direct flights from various Egyptian cities, such as Cairo, Alexandria, and Hurghada, and international cities, such as Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Brussels, or Istanbul, among others. Check the complete list on the Sharm El Sheikh airport page.
    • Taba International Airport: Although it’s smaller and receives fewer flights, it’s worth considering as an alternative, located about 140 km from Dahab. It has direct connections with some cities such as Cairo, Brussels, or London, though foreign cities mostly offer charter or seasonal flights.
  • Bus: Dahab is a popular destination, and major bus companies have added it to their routes. It’s easy to find a ticket to come here from other nearby cities such as Sharm El Sheikh or even distant points like Cairo.
  • Car: Private vehicles are also an option to get to Dahab, either from other places in Egypt where a circuit ends or from neighboring Israel or Jordan. However, the distances are long. In addition to the aforementioned Sharm El Sheikh (about 100 km from the city center) and Taba (140 km), these are other cities that can serve as a reference:
    • Cairo: 540 km, 6 hours of travel
    • Port Said: 560 km, 6 and a half hours of travel
    • Alexandria: 700 km, 8 hours of travel
  • Boat: Although Dahab is a coastal tourist destination, it does not have a large port, but rather a small sports infrastructure that offers service to boats that make excursions to Dahab’s diving spots. Therefore, getting here is not a very common option, although if you are interested, you can contact us to manage the rental of a private boat that can be used to get here. On the contrary, it is easier to reach the nearby port of Nuweiba, about 70 km north of the city, which has a direct ferry line to Aqaba (Jordan).

Note that there is no railway network in the Sinai Peninsula, so the train is not an option to get to Dahab. However, the Egyptian government is considering building a line between Port Said and Nuweiba for logistical purposes.

Getting Around Dahab

As a small tourist destination, Dahab doesn’t have a public transportation network. Visitors will not find urban buses or trams, but that’s not a problem because there are other convenient ways to get around.

Taxis are the most common mode of transportation in Dahab, especially for reaching the diving spots. A round-trip service to the Blue Hole or Agujero Azul usually costs around 120 LE. However, be aware that the vehicles used can vary in design and quality of service. For any type of travel, it’s recommended to book a private taxi in Dahab with a trusted agency like Egipto Exclusivo.

Bicycles are also a popular mode of transportation in Dahab. The town is small, flat, and has a youthful vibe, making it easy and enjoyable to ride around. Many establishments offer bike rentals for recreational use or transportation during your stay in Dahab.

For those who prefer motorcycles, renting one is also an option. However, renting a car is much more challenging as the car rental offices are usually located in larger nearby destinations, such as Sharm El Sheikh.

Tourist Information Centers in Dahab

Unlike other cities in Egypt, Dahab does not have a dedicated tourist office to provide information to visitors. However, you can seek assistance at your accommodation’s front desk or reach out to companies that offer specific services like trekking or diving monitors in Dahab.

If you choose to plan your trip with Egipto Exclusivo, we will provide you with all the necessary information and support you need throughout your stay in Dahab. Our professional guides and drivers can answer any questions you may have, and if you need to book any services in advance, we can take care of that too. Contact us now to start planning your vacation in Dahab!

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