Dahab enjoys large numbers of tourists. It is world-renowned for its windsurfing. Reliable winds provide superb flat-water conditions inside Dahab’s sand spit. Further away from shore, wavy conditions couple with strong winds to provide formidable conditions for keen windsurfers. SCUBA diving and snorkeling are also popular activities with many reefs immediately adjacent to waterfront hotels. The nearby Blue Hole and Canyon are internationally famous dive spots. Land based activities include camel, horse, jeep and quad bike trips. Mount Sinai is a two hours drive, with Saint Catherine’s Monastery being a popular tourist destination.
Historically, most visitors to Dahab have been backpackers traveling independently and staying in hostels in the Masbet area. In recent years, development of hotels in the Medina area has facilitated the arrival of a wider range of tourists, many of whom visit Dahab specifically to partake in the windsurfing, diving and other activities.
The word Dahab is Arabic for gold and is possibly a reference to the geographic locality; gold washed down from the desert mountains may have accumulated on the alluvial flood plain where the town was built. The name may also be a reference to the color of the sands to the south of the town itself. Some locals attribute the name to the color of the sky, just after sunset.
Canyon is Dahab’s most famous talked about site, and easily one of Sinai’s most interesting dives. The Canyon lies about 4 km north off, Dahab between village (Assalla) and to reach it. You snorkel of the beach, through a large coral lagoon 1 to 3 M deep, then left upon hitting the open sea. Coming into view is The Canyon, which looks like a big snake looking from the top begins with the tail at the drop off shallow up to 18m with the fish pool. Descend down to the rock and follow the fissure until you find the wide entrance. Passing through entrance, divers find themselves surrounded by the rich contours of The Canyon’s walls. Strict attention should be paid to depth, as the floor can reach a perilous 52m but we do it only to 30m as recreational diving and deeper with technical. After exiting The Canyon, check-out the nice drop off at the canyon table.
The Blue Hole
There are few dive sites in Sinai more spectacular – or more dangerous – than Blue Hole. This circular, 125m drop off looks exactly like its name. The dark hole rests in the shallows of a bright blue reef shelf, and the life clinging to the hole’s rim is unusually dense. Corals, fans, eels and dozens of fish species flourish here, and the space-like depths of the hole provides a magnificent backdrop. It is best, however, not to let the Blue Hole’s dark beauty lure you too far down: more than a few people have gone in and never come back, due to nitrogen narcosis.
Dahab’s closest popular dive site has an easy entry always sheltered from the wind and bad sea conditions. The lighthouse provides the terrestrial marker for this outstanding wall dive. Enter the water south of the lighthouse, and you won’t have to fight the current. One of the best confined water areas in Dahab with a sandy bottom and the same conditions as a swimming pool but much more marine life including turtles, octopus, flathead fish and many more.