Back in 1980, at the site of Dahab, there was a small fishing village, and now there are hotels, shops and rich houses. To all this, the city of Dahab owes its unique natural conditions, which also determined the specialization of the resort. About everything in order.
Features of the resort Dahab
Two natural factors determined the fate of the resort Dahab. The first is that there is almost always a wind. Complete calm is an unimaginable situation for Dahab, and this happens 1-2 days a year. Strong wind, convenient for yachting, windsurfing and kiteboarding, blows in this area about 300 days a year.
The second factor is the proximity of the opposite shore of the Arabian Peninsula, it is only 25 kilometers from here. There are no large waves, and the sea is always calm.
Dahab is a resort for water sports, it's his specialty. From this fact, all the other features that should be taken into account when choosing a tourist voucher flow smoothly.
The city of Dahab is located on the Sinai Peninsula, 80 kilometers from the city of Sharm El Sheikh (see photo ). 80 kilometers is a straight line on the map, and a winding road here has 90 kilometers in length. Tourists travel from the airport by bus a little over an hour.
The main contingent of vacationers are windsurfers, divers, sailing enthusiasts and kiteboarders from all over Europe. Russians are few here, and, accordingly, not many people from hotel staff speak Russian.
The whole life of the resort Dahab "turns" around lovers of water sports. The system "all inclusive" here has not received distribution. At the time of publication of this article in July 2015, of the 32 resort hotels only 5 provided services on the AI system.
The most popular accommodation formats in hotels here are BB (breakfast only) or HB (breakfast + dinner). This is logical, because yachts and windsurfers do not need lunch, they spend all day at sea. Pay attention to our small photo galleries, there are almost no people on photos from hotels.
Out of 32 hotels in Dahab, only 2 "fives" and 6 "fours". Most of all here hotels are 3 stars, and even there are hotels of 1 or 2 stars, which is uncharacteristic for Egypt. This is also logical, as lovers of water sports perceive the hotel as a place for sleep and nothing more.
However, Dahab has a second specialization, this is one of the best places for diving in Egypt. Some call it even the best in the country, because there are some very famous places for diving. The most famous is the "Blue Hole", recognized as the most dangerous place for diving in the country. About diving, we'll talk in detail later.
Coral reefs are located in Dahab very close to the shore, and divers dive right from the beach. Divers do not need to hire a boat, which greatly saves the budgets of travelers.
Many "free divers" come to Dahab, that is, people diving unaccompanied at their own peril and risk. For them, this is the most convenient resort in Egypt.
For organized dives in the city there are more than 50 diving centers. More of them can only be counted in the cities of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh. Now the scuba diving industry in Dahab is at the peak of its development, but it is predicted fast sunset. The reason is simple - coral reefs are dying out.
A lot of corals are torn by the divers themselves, hoping to take them away as Egyptian souvenirs . A lot of corals are torn down and dried by locals, then sold to tourists also as souvenirs. The activity of yachts, boats and kitesurfers does not contribute to the calm life of marine animals and corals.
The history of the development of Egyptian resorts is always the same. First they attract tourists with the virgin nature of coral reefs, then the tourists themselves begin to spoil and destroy these reefs.
Some resorts imposed strict environmental restrictions on human activities, and it seems that El Gouna , El-Kusair and Marsa Alam will escape this fate. We wish them good luck, but we can say about Dahab that he has already embarked on a destructive path and will not turn him off, but it's a pity.
Is it worth it to go to a beach tourist?
This is a very interesting question, to which we can not unambiguously answer. On the one hand, the answer is "no" is obvious. There is almost no "all inclusive" system, so beloved by Russian tourists.
And even if you settle in one of the five hotels, where AI exists, then there is not much point in this. There are no snack bars, and the usual bars on the beach offer just a couple of drinks, and not always among them there is alcohol .
Lunch is cooked here, but in a very simplified version, most of the guests spend the whole day at sea, and they do not need dinner. You will have to dine at a local restaurant, and this is an additional waste.
Drinks will have to be bought separately, except for a liter bottle of water, which is issued in many hotels for free.
Animation and entertainment programs in Dahab are almost non-existent, as they are not necessary for most of the guests. The tourist infrastructure is not developed, there are no water parks or attractions. The maximum of children's entertainment looks like this .
There are no historical sights in Dahab, and where are they from, if 35 years ago there lived only fishermen and Bedouins? The closest historical place is Mount Sinai , on which the Prophet Moses received tablets with divine commandments, and the monastery of St. Catherine next to this mountain.
Some sources write that the very area of this resort is an important historical site, as it is mentioned in the Bible as one of the places where the Jews stopped on their way to Canaan after the exodus from Egypt. But, there is no exact proof for this, it is only an assumption.
The only thing that Dahab can boast of is its richer vegetation and nature, compared to other cities in the Sinai peninsula. The proximity of the mountains gives this place a softer climate, hence more green.
Dahab practices camel riding and desert safaris in jeeps and quad bikes (see photo with prices page 1 and page 2 ), which is quite standard entertainment in all Egypt resorts . Of unusual pastime, you can note sandboarding (see photo ). At this potential attractions for beach holidays in Dahab end.
And, of course, prices. With the same "star" of hotels, prices for holidays in Dahab are always 30-50% higher than in Hurghada or Sharm. The reason is simple, the demand for numbers from the side of water sports lovers is always great. They have nowhere to go, they need a wind. And beach tourists start to compete with them, creating additional demand, and, as a consequence, increasing price tags for hotel rooms.
In Egypt, the mass of other resorts with beaches is not worse, but adapted for recreation with an eye to the beach and the sea. Remember, at least, Taboo or Makadi Bay .
Let's look at the situation from the other side
What is the most annoying beach tourists in Egypt? Deficiency of sunbeds at the pool and on the beach, lack of space in the pool and crowds of tourists in the sea, lack of space in restaurants and bars, when all tables are occupied. And, of course, the local Arabs, who behave too intrusively, especially with the ladies.
The photo on the right was made in Dahab in the winter. Of course, this is not the peak of the season, but all the same. Look at how many busy sun loungers beside the heated pool. Of course, this is sarcasm.
Fans of yachts, diving and windsurfing are not interested in the pool. They dive into it only in the morning before going to sea, and then "for a tick". Occupy sunbeds by the pool or on the beach, these people are also not inclined, they do not need it.
If we took photos in the hotel of Hurghada or Sharma, even in winter all the beds would be occupied. To get a place, one would have to borrow it in the morning before breakfast. Agree, this is a very doubtful pleasure, which spoils rest for many.
In the small photo gallery on the left you will see the situation on the beach, everything is also free there. You may notice that the sun loungers seem new, but it is not. They just do not have much use, and they look great.
Some beach tourists go to Dahab just for this reason. Here everything is free, and at some moments you can even find yourself in a personal pool or a personal bar. You can put yourself in a row a dozen chaise lounges and get a "king-size plank", while the hotel staff do not mind such an act.
As for importunate Arabs, they are also there, as in other resorts. It's just that they are less intrusive here. Although, often they are very tired with suggestions to buy stimulants of vegetable origin, calling them the Russian word "grass". This is the end of their knowledge of Russian.
As it turned out, these guys know the word "grass" in almost all languages of the world, including, for example, Finnish or Estonian. A striking case, like the greed for money, leads people to education. The only pity is that they know only one word so well.
History of Dahab and its Areas
The word "dahab" is translated from Arabic as "golden." There are several versions of the origin of this name. The first says that there were gold mines. This version is very doubtful, since archaeologists have not found any mines or traces of them.
The second version says that once in 5-6 years, a landslide with water descended from the mountains, destroying everything in its path. This landslide brought sand of golden yellow color.
This second version is more believable, because the beaches in Dahab are sandy, and the sand really has a golden hue (photo on the right). However, tourists should not rejoice, corals in this sand are still encountered, and wearing of special shoes (see photo ) is strongly recommended to all holidaymakers.
There is a version that this sand was once gold-bearing, and here gold was washed. In any case, now gold is not mined here, and until the 20th century (when the construction of hotels began in Dahab), only the fishermen's village reached us.
The city of Dahab is divided into three parts. The northernmost part is called Misbat, and here is the village of Bedouins.
To the south is the Mashraba area with hotels, shops and restaurants. This is the center of the city, but there is no central shopping area here, for those who like shopping Dahab is not suitable.
In the south is the Medina area. In general, the medina is the Arab center of the city, surrounded by a fortified wall. But the area of the city is simply called, there is no wall or an old Arab city in sight. This area adjoins the lagoon, which was chosen by windsurfers and kiteboarders.
What to do in Dahab
Yachting is a sport. At the word "yacht" Russians immediately come to mind large, luxurious ships, on which rich people travel. In this sport yachting is more common small single-seat vessels.
In Dahab, you can rent single yachts "laser" (pictured right) and "optimist". Prices are acceptable. See the photo of the price list page 1 , page 2 and page 3 .
If you are engaged in sailing, you can skip this paragraph. The rest we want to warn that it is not recommended to skate on such vessels without preparation. Special training is required. They are not so easy to control as it seems at first sight. You can simply be carried to sea, and you can not go back.
In the clubs of Dahab, you can be trained. There are many Russians who have moved to Egypt for permanent residence, and there will be no problems with the language barrier during the training. Learning to manage a simple yacht will take several days. To be honest, then for study and skill refining you will need all the vacation. But believe me, it's worth the time and money - to dissect the waves on a real yacht and all over the body feel how you tame the wind.
The second important point is the wind. In the photo on the left you see a review of the situation by months. The central circle shows the number of days with a weak wind. The main direction of the wind is indicated by arrows.
Before going to sea, it is recommended to study the map of the lagoon and the adjacent sea space (see photo ). Yachters need to be careful not to accidentally get into the bathing areas of hotels or places reserved for kiteboarders.
For those who want to practice yachting, there is an opportunity to save money. Firstly, it is advantageous to book a yacht rental or training course in advance, while you can fully expect a discount. Secondly, in Moscow there are several travel agencies specializing in this sport, and a tour with a rental payment will immediately cost less.
Windsurfing is sailing on a board with a sail. This is a simple form of water sports, and many tourists master it even without an instructor. Although, one hour of instruction is desirable to order to learn how to collect the board (see photo ) and understand how to put it correctly (see photo ).
Prices for rent and training are much more affordable than in yachting. Click to view prices - page 1 and page 2 .
In the lagoon in the Medina area there is a small depth, which makes this place extremely convenient for learning windsurfing. The absence of waves further simplifies the process of developing the sailing board.
The main thing is, do not overclock fast, since the windsurf can be much faster than it might seem. The modern speed record on the sailing board has already jumped the bar 90 kilometers per hour. Fall from the board at this speed - scary.
The photo on the right shows the process of training a beginner windsurfer in Dahab near the shore.
Windsurfing is available in any resort in Egypt and Turkey, but the quality of the equipment is often "limp". In Dahab everything is perfect, everything is new and clean. Do not be surprised, this is the "Mecca" of windsurfing in Egypt. To prove this statement, see the small photo gallery below.
Think, decide whether to give your kiteboarding time and money, or better to switch to something else, such as diving.
Diving is scuba diving. Snorkeling - diving to the depth with a tube. Freediving is a diving without the use of technical means only on the delay of breathing.
The proximity of coral reefs makes it possible to dive right from the beach, which saves money and time. This is the main advantage of the Dahab resort.
If you decide to dive in an organized way, then more than 50 diving centers are at your disposal, you only need to present a certificate, or you can get training and get it right here. Click here to see prices .
In Dahab there is a diving area, which is called the most dangerous in Egypt, it is called "The Blue Hole" ("The Blue Hole"). According to official statistics more than 40 divers have not emerged from here alive. The larger the number of these statistics, the more people who want to get here.
Fans adrenaline flock to Dahab as moths to the light. There is even a suspicion that this figure is artificially inflated for advertising and PR purposes. The fact is that there is no complete list of these poor people, and only a few cases are officially known. For example, if we talk about climbing Mount Everest , which is also a very dangerous event, then the names of all the dead climbers are known there.
Such places are also called "vertical caves". The depth of this funnel in the sea is about 130 meters.
It is difficult to navigate due to optical effects and poor lighting, there are several undercurrents that divers are required to take into account.
A small mistake, and there comes a nitrogen poisoning, inadequate behavior of a swimmer, and imminent death.
If you talk to the staff of diving centers in Dahab, many will say that the figure of 40 people, on the contrary, is understated several times. The Egyptian CWDS (Chamber of Diving and Water Sports) even issued a decree allowing tourists to dive into the Blue Hole only when accompanied by a certified guide. A special police patrol follows this.
Of course, there are 25 interesting places for diving (see map ), which are not so dangerous and interesting for their rich underwater world.
Events in the resort Dahab 2006
It is no secret that in Egypt there are periodic terrorist attacks against foreign tourists. Local radicals consider foreigners the main obstacle for building a real Islamic state in Egypt.
The resort of Dahab also experienced unpleasant events. On April 24, 2006, during the national holiday of Egypt Sham el-Nessim, there were three explosions.
The first of them thundered near the restaurant "Nelson", the second near the cafe "Aladdin", and the third in the market of Ghazal.
28 people were killed and 80 wounded. Most of the victims were Egyptians. One Russian perished in this attack.
If you are in these places, honor their memory with at least a small silence. We hope that such events in Dahab will not happen again, and this resort will please you with good weather, clean and warm sea and water sports.
To find out more about Egyptian resorts, read our other articles about this country ( links below ).