There is a little gem in Egypt that is baptized as the mecca of freediving, and this place is a small Bedouin village called Dahab. So, why does everyone goes or dreams of going to Dahab in order to train? Is it the Blue Hole, the community, or the way of life? One way or another, if you are planning to visit Dahab, make sure you read this first so you know your way around! Diana Garcia Benito explains.
Dahab is located on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, the closest airport is at 80km, Sharm El Sheikh. The airport is well connected with flights scheduled to 48 destinations in 17 countries, in particular with Europe, thus, traveling becomes much more affordable and easy. In only one hour drive from the airport, you will arrive at Dahab and it is not complicated to book a shuttle or a taxi. Dahab is a fishing village with a very particular landscape. The contrast of colors of its landscape, where the Red Sea is connected with the desert and mountains. A living piece of art!
Weather & Safety
With tons of activities on-site, freediving, scuba diving, snorkeling, kite and windsurfing, hiking, rock climbing, and much more, Dahab is a cozy destination for relaxation and enjoyment. The climate is dry, with only minimal rainfall during the winter. In summer, the outside temperature is 40-27°C and the water temperature is 30-28°C. Winter has soft weather, with daytime high temperatures averaging around 23°C and low temperatures 14°C, the water temperature can drop until 21oC. If you have in your mind some concerns about safety, do not worry, Egypt is safe and you will experience great hospitality and kindness from the locals.
Freediving At Dahab
But why is the mecca of diving? Is the perfect place with easy access to calm, deep, and full of life waters. Deep waters close to shore and no boat needed? Yes, Dahab offers what any freediver can dream of, good visibility, no currents, no boat traffic, no big thermocline, good water temperature, a stunning under and above landscape, and of course, depth.
The big plus of this destination is the freediving and diving community. Due to the ideal features of being a place where people come to train and grow as freedivers, a nice and warm tribe is living in Dahab. Not only the fantastic freediving schools where you can book sessions, courses, rent equipment, attend workshops, get guidance and assistance to world-class freediver’s masterclasses and learn from the very best in the freediving industry but also the number of freedivers spending from short to long periods of time there. The feeling of being comfortable and surrounded by like-minded people, sharing their passion, and enjoying an underwater lifestyle. You won’t believe such interesting conversations you can have with people there. The lifestyle in Dahab is simple, from relatively cheap bedouin houses to rent, local markets full of vegetables and fruits that can help to have a healthy and nutritious diet, to a big range of restaurants available in town. Life can be very delightful and calm in Dahab.
Getting around Dahab is very uncomplicated, normal daily life activities can be done just by walking around, everything you need is within walking distance in the village. Renting a bicycle or a motorbike is also possible. Local taxi drivers are available at any corner or street in Dahab, this option is ideal for going to the dive spots outside the village l, bedouins taxi drivers use a pickup truck where all the freediving equipment can fit plus few people inside the car, making your training sessions easier to share with your diving buddies.
Whatever your training plan might be, Dahab is the optimal choice in terms of budget and dive sites suitable for depth. Dry training is also an important part, find peaceful places for your stretches, meditation, and workouts, some yoga studios are in town, in addition to beautiful balconies with crazy views towards the desert, the red sea, or the Jordan mountains. Get inspired by the natural beauty.
As a freediver, you can grow safely in the hands of experienced and professional freedivers that offer a huge range of training plans, coaching sessions, and with different approaches, using specific accessories and props for the development of techniques and body awareness. Let’s check the amazing dive spots!
The Blue Hole
Blue Hole is a unique dive site, a submarine sinkhole. It takes 20 minutes by car from Dahab. There are several restaurants and places to eat and chill before and after your dives, right in front of it, with super friendly staff and delicious food! With two easy access from land to the water and after 6 meters you will find the coral wall that drops up to 96+ meters deep on the inside and 120 meters deep outside the marvelous Coral reef. No current or boat traffic exists, only divers, freedivers, and snorkelers. There is an underwater arch positioned on the left side of the outside coral wall, around 45m deep is already visible, a truly magical experience when you see it underwater. At the Blue Hole, the marine life is colorful and active. You will be the witness of a wonderful spectacle during your dives, in addition, no big thermocline is present so the dives are smoother than in other parts of the world. The sensation while you freedive here is unique and wonderful. A must for any freediver, a marvelous lifetime experience.
Bells is located few meters after Blue Hole (walking distance). A tunnel has an entrance that takes you into a mysterious underwater world with a 27 meters deep crack where you can swim through. Again just dropping yourself into the water and swim a few meters, there is a break in the coral wall that creates a mystical underwater tunnel with the surrounding walls full of life and color. A fun dive that has to be in your memory forever. It is a splendid dive site to create stunning underwater pictures and videos. The contrast with the deep drop of the coral wall plus its colors and fishes with the mixture of blues and greens of the sea, a spectacle for your eyes and senses.
Canyon’s dive site, an impressive crack at the bottom of the sea, is around 20m deep. But then, you can go through it! All the way to 54m deep! Only for already experienced freedivers, a fantastic underwater playground with a touch of mystic vibes. Yet another landscape that literally will take your breath away.
The Lighthouse Bay
Restaurants, cafes, shops, minimarkets, and hotels make the area cozy and alive. Light House is a dive site at the bay of Dahab city. Is a zone protected from the waves and currents by a wall of corals. Next to the shore, you can find an area with sand, rocks, and corals, the underwater platform continues and drops deep, making an easy spot for freediving. At the bay, you can find depths from 18-50+ meters and all you need to do is swim a bit from shore! Be the spectator of colorful corals, fishes, turtles, sponges, and much more. Immerse yourself at the so alive Red Sea.
Around 6 years ago a beautiful project was born, the Underwater Museum in Dahab. Two Dahabian businesses, I Dive Tribe and Bedouin Divers, joined forces and were the brain of putting sculptures underwater to promote coral growth and help marine life, and to divert the divers away from the real coral reef to avoid too much traffic and damage. There are seven sculptures, a donkey, a throne, a massive elephant, an Egyptian god, and a few others. Nowadays these sculptures are super fun dive spots plus, they are the new houses and nurseries for corals and animals.
Along the coast not far away from the center of Dahab, are few diving spots for recreational fun dives full of color and fascinating underwater landscapes. Islands, Eel garden (yes, there is an underwater eel village), Umm El Sid, The Caves, just to name a few!
A National Park at the southern extreme of the Sinai Peninsula, 12 km from Sharm El Sheikh, with the Gulf of Suez on the west and Gulf of Aqaba to the east. Ras Mohammed is a magical place, house to more than 220 species of corals, 1000+ species of fish, 40 species of starfish, 25 species of sea urchins, 100+ species of mollusk, and 150 species of crustaceans, plus sea turtles, such as the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). You can explore a curious wreck, Yolanda, a 74m long cargo ship, that was transporting bathroom supplies and a BMW to the port of Aqaba when she struck the reef in 1980.
As a recommendation, staying for a couple of nights camping in the desert at wonderful Bedouin tents is a must to enjoy and have fun dives. No electricity, good local food, fresh water showers, dry toilets, a super peaceful ambiance, where the result is a paradisiacal experience. It is obvious that an underwater camera can’t be forgotten for this trip.
Dahab has a friendly vibe with the perfect scenario for freedivers. A place where you can maximize your time and your training and on the other hand, relax, going for fun dives, explore the desert life and make stunning memories for the rest of your life.