Serious Windsurfer or Diver? Dahab is Awaiting You!
For many windsurfers and divers, Dahab is one of the ultimate hot spots you can hope to travel to; it’s one of a must-see holiday destinations that brings in thousands of divers, windsurfers, kite surfers and the like on an annual basis. Many are drawn to the area’s laid-back atmosphere, where the dress code for women is more relaxed due to the international resort facilities. Many are drawn to the land activities like camel riding, horse back riding, mountain biking, jeep and quad bike trips. But Dahab’s crystal blue waters teeming with ocean life and coral with it’s ideal winds and sunshine take the prize for the most splendid attraction Dahab has to offer.
The recent decade has seen the development of more hotels in the south west Medina area, paving the way for the arrival of a wider range of tourists, many of whom make their way to Dahab specifically to partake in the surfing, windsurfing, diving, kite surfing, and sailing.
It’s no wonder beautiful Dahab was named “Gold” in Arabic. One look at the coastal town’s stunning golden sandy beaches and you’ll understand why this beautiful region attracts large numbers of tourists year-round. Equally fitting is the explanation that the the Bedouin people called it “waqaat thahaab” which translates literally to “Time Goes”. It’s said that this name was inspired by the relaxed nature of the region, the fact that when you were there, time became less regimented and the days would start to melt together. The name was then shortened to simply “Thahaab” but misheard by travelers who thought they were saying Dahab. Either way, Dahab is a golden paradise, where time slows down.
Dahab is world famous for its diving and windsurfing-friendly climate. The area’s reliable winds and excellent flat-water conditions inside Dahab’s sand spit, which is a sandy build up in the water creating a land formation that keeps rougher conditions at bay, are just the right conditions for these outdoor activities. Heading out and away from the Dahab shore, wavy conditions paired with steady and powerful winds make for excellent windsurfing conditions. In more recent years, the little lagoon inside of the sand spit has become quite a popular kite surfing destination, boasting 2 Russian-owned kite surfing schools on the beach. SCUBA diving is also a popular Dahab activity, drawing divers from all over the world to take advantage of the area’s impressive underwater environment and all it has to showcase – colourful schools of fish and other sea creatures, and amazing coral gardens.
Tourists travel to Dahab to enjoy the area’s free-diving and snorkeling opportunities as well, which are popular activities given the many impressive reefs found very close to Dahab’s numerous waterfront hotels. The nearby Blue Hole is perhaps one of the most well known and risky dive spots you can encounter. It’s been dubbed “The World’s Most Dangerous Diving Site,” but the foreboding moniker, numerous warnings, and even death count of the divers who have met their maker diving this notorious site does little to deter eager divers. Instead, it has become like a Mount Everest of the diving world; it’s exciting, it’s challenging, and it’s something many divers hope to strike off their bucket list – provided that bucket doesn’t get prematurely kicked in the process.
Many divers from all over the world come to brave the 80 meter wide Blue Hole off the coast of Dahab, despite the fact that it’s so dangerous. There is no official tally – some say they keep the records intentionally blurry – but it is believed that at least 150 SCUBA divers lost their lives to the Blue Hole in the last 10 years. If this destination is on your must-do list, just make sure you do your research before you go. The notorious Blue Hole, which is also known in diver circles as “the Diver’s Cemetery” requires you to be well informed, well prepared, and experienced. At 56 meters or 184 feet, there is an arch that divers are able to pass through, leading them to open water. This arch is the part of the Blue Hole dive that many are interested in experiencing. Never underestimate the danger when diving the Blue Hole, or anywhere for that matter. One of the issues that many to their fate is that the dive is that it really doesn’t seem very dangerous. Unlike many other extreme and high risk diving sites, it is very easy to get to. It’s merely a dive from off the shore, right off the beach, the water is calm, and it makes it seem as though the warnings and danger has been blown out of proportion.
- Always dive within your limits
- Do not dive deeper then you are trained to
- Listen to the dive briefing and stick to the rules and the plan
- Remember that you can always cancel the dive at any time without giving a reason. If something doesn’t seem right or if you don’t feel secure, cancel the dive
There are plenty of different dives you can do in Dahab, you don’t have to risk your neck attempting the grand poobah of the Dahab in order to have a great time. Take the time to research your options carefully and decide which dives you want to do and what depths you are able to go to. There’s the Dahab Canyon, an essential for all cave diving enthusiasts.
The Canyon is a fascinating diving phenomenon. Reaching up to 10 meters high and being almost all but closed over at the top, its jagged features open their way up from the depths of the water to emerge in a large coral structure. The Canyon dive site is another easy shore entry and exit point through the shallow, sandy lagoon. This leads out to enchanting coral gardens where butterfly fish, unicorn fish, octopus, puffer fish and Red Sea anthias, which can only be completely explored in a series of several visits. The Canyon itself is situated about five minutes north-east from the exit of the shallow lagoon, and he entry to the Canyon is done through the largest point at about 20 meters. Recently the decision has been made to close off the Canyon’s Fish Bowl, which was not an easy decision to make – but after many surveys, much research and mappings it has been concluded that deterioration of the site has taken place and the closure of the Fish Bowl will hopefully allow the it to recover and to become inhabited again by the marine creatures that once flourished there.
The Dahab resort region isn’t just a SCUBA diver’s paradise, it’s also long been regarded as being one of the most extraordinary windsurfing holiday destinations in Egypt, and a true “must visit” holiday destination for avid windsurfers from all around the globe. Dahab is an easy ninety minute transfer from Sharm airport, which happens to be one of the best serviced airports in Egypt. This convenience, along with many flights from a good number of regional UK and European airports, make Dahab windsurfing vacation dreams that much closer to becoming a reality.
One of the great things about windsurfing in Dahab, is the fact that all types of windsurfers can take enjoyment in the crystal clear waters, regardless of ability, or whether they are traveling alone or in a group. Dahab is the perfect place to introduce newcomers to the sport – especially children – and for more experienced windsurfers to hone their skills and meet others with similar interests. Dahab actually has some of the most incredible conditions available for instructing kids to windsurf. The early morning softer winds, and specially created children’s equipment along with expert instructors experienced in teaching kids ensure that budding windsurfing tykes will be on the waters getting the ultimate windsurfing lessons and will windsurfing in no time. As the winds increase throughout the day, kids can naturally become introduced to windsurfing in ever increasing wind strength at a slow and steady pace.
Dahab has an excellent range of hotels available along the water, all with on-site windsurf centres. These hotels have the advantage of offering guests all the amenities you would expect in a large resort but with a small resort level of privacy and personalization. The relaxed atmosphere surrounding the Dahab windsurf lagoon is second to none, and this comfort is reflected in the Dahab area’s many professional windsurf centres.
A windsurfing vacation in Dahab is as unique as it is varied – the region boasts three 3 different sailing spots in one remarkable location.
The lagoon is the shallow water bay, protected by the sand spit which makes it ideal for anyone who is just picking up the sport. The winds blow strong here but the water is reliably flat, making it the perfect spot for beginners.
Beyond the protection of the lagoon, you will reach another ideal shallow water area, which is a great place for more advanced windsurfers who are seeking something a bit more challenging. The winds beyond the lagoon blow constantly, and they are somewhat stronger than inside the lagoon.
Baby Bay is the third spot, situated behind the Napoleon Reef, and it’s the perfect place for wave novices who are trying out something new. The swell here will reach up to four metres high with no breaking wave, and originates from the perfect direction for exciting jumping conditions. Due to the fact that the wind is off-shore, it’s recommended for your safety that you only sail here with an instructor from the windsurf centre, or with a radio given to you by the instructors working at the windsurf centre, just to be on the safe side.
When looking for a place to stay, check out Hotel Jowhara which can be found on the high street. Hotel Jowhara (meaning ‘the Jewel of Dahab’) is an ideal tranquil getaway, priding itself for its oasis-like qualities and remote atmosphere (even though you aren’t actually that remote!)
The Star of Dahab invites you to its modern development with its simple, upmarket and new rooms including a fridge, TV and balcony. It’s conveniently located very close to the sea, as many of the hotels are, and has easy access to some of the great areas surrounding it. The Star of Dahab is affiliated with Big Blue Dive School which you will find located on the hotel grounds, so you’ll be rubbing elbows with divers from all over the world.
Jasmine is another unique accommodation with guest rooms situated along the seashore at the bottom end of the cornice. Even though you’ll discover that the beach access is limited throughout Dahab, Jasmine has a delightful two story Arisha, which is an enchanting Bedouin, cushioned garden, where guests are able to relax, rest, enjoy the sun or the shade, partake in snacks or meals and lounge in the perfect sanctuary. They offer a pancake breakfast that is rumored to be unbeatable.
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