Diving Dahab

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Dahab, Egypt

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Country: Egypt  Area: Egypt

Water Temp: 21 - 28°C (70 - 82°F)

Visibility: 15 - 50m (49 - 164 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 40m (16 - 131 ft)

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Dahab is quickly establishing itself as the go-to destination for laid back travelers. The town has its roots as a Bedouin outpost, which was transformed over the years into a backpacker’s paradise. Located between the desert and the sea, the activities here extend well beyond diving – though a visit is surely incomplete without some snorkelling or a (cautious) diving trip into the Blue Hole! 

As a destination, Dahab is a quieter and more laid back alternative to the opulence of some of the other Red Sea destinations. Activities generally cater towards a younger crowd, with things like sandboarding, kitesurfing and rock climbing taking off recently. Mount Sinai will always be one of the region’s greatest attractions. Days are sleepy and slow here, with activity picking up into the night.

Dahab is most popular with divers because of its relatively healthy coral reefs and the area is plentiful with reef fish and turtles. Dahab’s underwater world makes up for the lack of large pelagic species by providing some great diving with spectacular topography! The rugged mountain landscape that is above the water continues below creating dramatic canyons, caves and valleys with the most famous being “The Canyon” and “The Blue Hole”.

Coral Reef in Dahab, Credit

Marine Conservation

There are a number of researchers, business owners and conservationists currently conducting conservation work out of Dahab. Many working in the region have learned lessons from the marine degradation that has been experienced in more developed Red Sea coastal towns, and are working to mitigate a similar fate in Dahab.

Current initiatives revolve around three pillars, as set out by the Dahab Charta in 2012. They are:

• Awareness: creation of awareness with locals and visitors, engagement of local businesses in sustainability projects

• Research: encouragement and coordination of researchers, monitoring and evaluation of reef conditions

• Sustainability: protection, environmentally-sustainable development, collaboration with the community

Dahab Panorama, Credit

Climate

The climate in Dahab is very hot and dry. The winters are warm with cool evenings and the summers are very very hot, both seasons have very little rain, even in the winter months. Therefore this area of the Red Sea can be dived year round.

The water temperatures do vary by quite a lot from early 20C in the winter to almost a toasty 30C in the summer so with this in mind the best time to dive with the most pleasant conditions (including warm water)  is from May to September.

 
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Shore Diving

Diving in Dahab is mostly done from the shore, but this isn’t a problem as the reefs tend to be very close to the shore line meaning you can often just take a jeep to the site and walk in. This allows you to easily get in four dives a day or just pop down for a quick early morning dive and still have the whole day to spend with friends or family.

Dahab caters for experienced divers with its super deep sites but also provides a good place to learn to dive. Its gentle currents, easy to reach, close by reefs packed with marine life and pleasant year-round climate is a good mix for beginners. 

Garden Eels, Credit

The Blue Hole is Dahab’s most famous dive site and the area is visited by divers worldwide wishing to dive into its depths. It is a 70m wide hole descending down to 80m deep and at its bottom there is an arch leading out into the open ocean. This dive can be enjoyed by divers of all experiences as its possible to just go as deep as you are qualified.

The reef walls around the hole are great to explore, also watching the free divers amazing breath holding abilities is enough to occupy most recreational divers. That said, this site is a top technical diving destination visited by many tec divers and free divers wishing to dive to the bottom and out through the arch..

Please note! The problem with this that divers with not enough experience also want attempt this and only realise the difficulty of the task too late! These actions cause on between 10 and 25 deaths a year on this site alone! So do not try and deep-dive this site unless you have the proper training, equipment and experience!

Clam in Dahab, Credit

Other popular sights accessed by shore from Dahab include The Canyon, the Eel Garden, The Islands, Abu Helal, the Lighthouse and much more. Barracuda are common across these sites, while specific sites are favoured by eels, snapper, potato grouper, rays and trigger fish. The landscapes at each site is unique making diving a variety of environments easy at Dahab.

Boat Diving

Boat dives from Dahab take divers out to Gabr El Bint in the south, Thistlegorm wreck, Ras Mohammed National Park and the Straights of Tiran.  

Gabr El Bint was formerly a location only accessed by camel safari and today still remains an exclusive sight for those willing to make the journey.

Dahab Coral Wall, Credit

Thistlegorm happens to be one of the world’s most famous wreck dives. A day trip here often includes two dives at the wreck, and one dive at one of Ras Mohammed’s 8 sites on route. For those who would like to spend more time however in Ras Mohammed, day trips here are also possible. Highlights include Shark and Yolanda reefs, which offer up some of the planet’s bestdrift dives.

The Tiran Islands are located towards Jordan, at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. Here there is also some great drift diving on the reefs of Thomas, Jackson, Woodhouse and Gordon.

Liveaboard Diving

There are a number of liveaboards that explore the Red  Sea and stop at a number of sights near Dahab. Most of these tours depart from Sharm el Sheik, though there is one that departs from Dahab (MY Aeolus).

Coral Garden, The Canyon, Dahab, Credit

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How to Get there

The most popular way of getting to Dahab is by bus. The central station is located in Dahab City, not too far from the coast. Regular service connects the city to Sharm el Sheik (1 hour), Cairo (10 hours), Hurghada (2.5 hours) and Luxor (8 hours). Other destinations are also available. Private minibus transfers can also be organized between Sharm el Sheik.

It is also possible to connect to Awaba in Jordan by ferry.

Valonia Ventricosa (Bubble algae), Credit

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Where to Eat & Drink

Nearly all restaurants in Dahab are located ocean-side, along the main promenade. There has been an ever-expanding variety of styles of restaurants opening up along the strip. Currently, visitors can find anything from classic Egyptian fare through to great sushi and Indian. The former is however the most prominent. Some popular options include Ali Baba and Jay’s Restaurant.

If looking for restaurants that are a little less tourist-focused, try moving away from the shore. Seabride Restaurant is a local favourite for seafood, and is discretely tucked away in town.

Table Coral, Credit

There is quite a vibrant nightlife in Dahab which generally caters towards a younger backpacker crowd. Tota Dance Bar is certainly one of the most popular destinations, given its regularly themed nights and its excellent top floor patio. Yalla Bar is located on the waterfront and has a slightly more laid back vibe – though it still attracts a busy crowd at happy hour. In town, you will also find a sports bar, a few great coffee shops and a few more sophisticated clubs.

Delightful Dahab, Credit

 

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Other activities

In addition to being a great base for exploring the ocean, Dahab is also a popular base for exploring the desert. Day trips on quad bikes and camels are popular – though it is the midnight climb to the peak of Mount Sinai that really captures the hearts of travelers. Rock climbing and sandboarding are also popular with those looking for a bit of excitement. A number of local operators organize these activities daily.

Life in town is however far more laid back. Most spend their days alternating between lazing on the shoreline and relaxing in the countless Oceanside cafes. Sheesha is unsurprisingly extremely popular nearly everywhere.

Dahab, Credit

For those craving more ocean activities, there is also a number of places that offer kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Shopping-wise, there are a number of stalls that sell classic Egyptian souvenirs and other tourist tat.

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Tips

When getting off the bus in Dahab, taxi drivers can be a bit aggressive. They are also notorious for taking advantage of tourists. Be sure to figure out the current price of a taxi from the bus station to town ahead of time.

Be cautious about diving in the Blue Hole. This site is among the most dangerous in the planet, claiming dozens of lives annually. This is often a result of divers diving beyond their expertise. Take all dives here very seriously.

There are two hyperbaric chambers in Dahab. Diver security & saftey has generally been a great area of concern in recent years, and outfitters are becoming more regulated and controlled.

Chromodoris Quadricolor, Credit

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Rating 8/10

Padi Open Water

Dahab21 Sep 2018 - 23 Sep 2018

Padi Open Water Certification

Rating 8/10

Last 2 dives of my Sharm trip

Dahab5 Nov 2013 - 12 Nov 2013

I recently done a weeks diving in Sharm El Sheikh to complete my advanced open water course and get some photography practice in using artificial light/strobes for the very 1st time.

We were diving with Ocean College Dive Center for the week and as we were a decent size group from a scuba school based in the UK we were able to say where we'd like to go. Me being a nivice to the Red Sea just went along with the rest quite happy to just be underwater.

Well the last day we chose as a group to take an hour and half to 2 hour bus journey from Sharm to Dahab and dive the Canyon and Blue Hole for our last 2 dives of the trip. It was well worth the trip out there with great sightings of scorpion fish and lots of lionfish as you can see from the photo's. It was also pretty cool watching freedivers practice in the blue hole. Pretty impressive stuff.

Well worth the visit expecially if you like getting some shore diving in as well as the boat dives.

dahab 5 dahab 1 dahab 2 dahab 3 dahab 4
Showing 3 of 8 comments. Show all
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Brian Espin

Looks like a Scorpion fish to me, but agree - good shot!

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Sean Chinn

Thanks Brian

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Sean Chinn

By the way did anyone spot the scorpion fish on the 2nd picture along?

Rating 10/10

Whale Shark in Dahab

Dahab1 Sep 2012 - 30 Sep 2012 with Sea Dancer Dive Center

This summer has been great for shark sittings around Dahab, Hammerheads, Oceanics and most recently Whale sharks have all been seen.

Whale Shark1 Seahorse sun Shark Blue Hole Coral Polyps
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Steven Williams

Wow great photos! I would love to see a Whale Shark!

Wreck Diving Maldives

Adelina De la Luz

Lots to see, the red sea is somewhere i really want to dive.

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