Considered to be the second most famous city in Sinai, after Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab is located in Aqaba bay, about 81 kilometres from Sharm El Sheikh. It spans around 1 130 kilometres and the name means ‘Gold’ – referring to the golden sandy beaches. Dahab is a scuba diver’s paradise, attracting divers from all around the world. But it has so much more to offer.
Kitesurfing is very popular in Dahab which has an average of 300 windy days per year. There are two protected lagoons with flat water that is perfect for beginners with a number of spots, like Baby Bay and Napoleon Reef, for experienced and freestyle kitesurfers nearby.
What is a visit to the desert without taking a camel ride, or a horse if you have to? There are a variety of trips on offer from two-hour sunset trips to the Blue Lagoon or Wadi el Bida oasis with spectacular views of the city, to half-day safaris that go deeper into the Sinai Desert and full-day trips exploring the canyons.
Dahab has plenty to offer to feed the soul. A large number of yoga classes is offered in the area with special full moon and multi-day retreats available. St. Catherine’s Monastery is said to be the oldest working monastery in the world. Built in the 5th century the monastery is an important pilgrimage site- believed to be the place where God spoke to Moses from a burning bush.
No trip to Dahab is complete without a visit to the famous Blue Hole. The hole is believed to have been formed by a meteor that fell to earth. It offers an incredible diving experience due to its vast depth (about 100 meters), width (about 50 meters) and underwater tunnels. The site has beautiful coral and an abundance of fish life that makes it an unforgettable experience even if you just snorkel. Other impressive diving and snorkelling spots can be found at Abu Galum, Three Pools, Light House, The Canyon, and of course the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm (although the last one is more for divers than snorkelers).
For even more adventure hikes up Mount Sinai is offered. The hikes occur through the night so that hikers can view the sun rise over the Sinai peaks and Gulf of Aqaba in the distance. The mountain is 2 285 meters tall and a hike up means that you will be following in the footsteps of many pilgrims inspired to visit the place where Moses received the 10 commandments. The mountain has two trails. The easier Camel Trail and the Steps of Repentance- 3 750 steps carved into the mountain in the 6th century.
Although Dahab is sunny nearly 365 days a year, it gets very hot between June and August. Winter is between November and February, but even then the weather is mild. It is suggested that Spring and Autumn are the best times to visit Dahab.
Dahab offers plenty of activities and even more opportunities to experience the culture. It used to be frequented by hippies in the past, and they have left their impression which can be felt in the laid- back atmosphere. With activities and accommodation ranging from high end- luxury to budget, it is easy to find something that suits your taste and pocket.
*A version of this article first appeared at www.zafigo.com