Sinai, Shisha, and Red Sea Diving
Sinai, Shisha, and Red Sea Diving Dahab Reviews
Diving and dirt bike riding Apr 26, 2011
This is not a very touristy spot, although to my opinion it will become similar to Sharm and other touristy places.
It's nice to dive. Lots of coral and therefor lots of fish. This place is also known for the blue hole, which is also nice to dive through.
Dirt biking or quad driving is a really nice thing to do because of the landscape that you will be in, as soon as you hit the dessert.
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Jul 06, 2007
My three day trip to Dahab was by far one of my favorite events in Egypt. Despite all the trouble I ran into. The first problem was that the board at the bus depot in Cairo said it was a 5 hour drive. Nope, it was a solid ten using the Cairo transportation system. When I got there, my first day I had terrible stomach pain, but hey that was once a week while living in Cairo and eating food in the streets. Even after a rough first 18 hours, Dahab was still well worth it.
Beware; the authorities will stop the bus at least 6 times to check everybody's passport. We had to break for an hour one time so that a Sudanese guy and a Jordanian traveling together could register with the authorities. At least I can say that the scenery in Sinai was amazing: The rocks, cliffs, mountains and desert; it was some intense terrain.
There is absolutely no need to look for a hotel ahead of time, you will be courted/ hassled as soon as you get off the bus. I haggled for 15 min in order to get a free ride from the bus depot to the city and the price per room was settled on about 10 US$ a night split two ways. I stayed at the Auski Camp. The rooms are plain they had AC and a good mattress. Beware: The showers are salt water in probably most of the budget hotels. Just swim in the Red Sea; a man there told me that this water is so clean that it’s better for your gums than Listerine. I don’t know if I believe that one but if you’re a real traveler you won’t need a room with a shower.
Looking back, the main strip in Dahab had some of the worst haggling in the country. The shop keeps tried hard and the restaurant owners tried harder to get your money. Make them work for you and you’ll be fine. Never settle for less than “the Egyptian price.”
There is one must see in Dahab. One of these shops on the main street is not like the other. Omar, master of shisha is definitely worth your time, even if you are not a hookah smoker. This man changed my whole perception of smoking shisha. If you are looking to buy your own hookah, be certain to stop by because he can explain everything there is to buying a top quality hookah and getting the absolute most out of smoking your shisha. That being said, his hookahs are typically higher priced than the crap ones you see at most other shops. They are genuine stainless steel pipes unlike the iron and copper ones sold elsewhere in the country; they are therefore much better for your lungs. He also sells genuine camel skin hoses and can advise you on where to find the best Egyptian tobacco (so you don’t get scammed). If there ever was an Egyptian shop keep that was both a business man and a good Muslim it’s Omar. His shop is located about 100 yards before the main strip turns into the restaurants at the beach front. Look for his sign above the shop.
The budget hotels even arrange transportation for you out to the snorkeling/diving spots. If you are an experienced diver and have a particular location in mind, let the owners know and they will most likely set it up. There is this strange sense that everybody in Dahab knows everybody else. Your needs are just a shout down the street away.
We drove out to the blue hole at about 11am. The hotel provided the Jeep. Off-roading in the back of this Jeep was actually a lot of fun and the scenery along the coastline was gorgeous.
The blue hole was a great diving location. It is a cylindrical hole surrounded by reef which made for a fantasy-like dive. The column of water and reef supposedly goes down 100feet but I stayed relatively high. The marine life was just like in national geographic; we saw lion fish, rays, clown fish. The color of the reef was a complete 180 degree turn from the environment above the water level which was the barren rocky mountains of Sinai and on the other shore was a bank in front of the Arabian Desert in the Kingdom of Saud. After the tide dropped, it was much harder to swim out over the reef and get in the middle of the hole.
Anecdote: I had the unique opportunity of seeing an expert free diving. She was a gorgeous girl who wore connected flippers that only allowed for a dolphin kick movement. To me she looked like a mermaid, but I’m just a young guy, so a siren more like. I saw her waiting around out in the open above the blue hole, when all of a sudden she dove straight down and disappeared into the abyss.
I wouldn’t bother bringing my own gear for diving or snorkeling because the stuff they have is good enough and it’s really cheap to rent. Again, it seemed like they were working together because somehow the hotel was the only one who got paid for this.
This was a wonderful weekend trip. The closest Airport was in Sharm El-Sheikh at the bottom of the Sinai Peninsula. I heard that European flights go directly into Sharm. Sharm is also a diving city but it is much more touristy and developed.
Part of the Studying in Cairo, Egpyt travel blog
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