South Sinai Guvernement


Located on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, approximately 80 km (50 mi) northeast of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab (Egyptian Arabic: دهب, IPA: [ˈdæhæb], “gold”) is a charming town that can be divided into three major parts. The northern part of Dahab, called Masbat, includes the Bedouin village of Asalah and is relatively developed, with many campsites and hostels. South of Masbat is Mashraba, which is more tourist and has more hotels. In the southwest lies Medina, which includes the Laguna area, famous for its excellent shallow-water kite- and windsurfing. Backpackers interested in diving and snorkelling in the Red Sea are among the most frequent visitors to Dahab. The town is home to around 15,000 inhabitants.

Location of Dahab Town

Dahab lies on the south Sinai peninsula, so the famous Mount Sinai and St. Catherine’s monastery are not far away. You can also organise a camel or jeep safari into the desert. Evenings will likely be spent in one of the numerous seafood restaurants which line the shore, most of which are excellent value.

Dahab is a small Egyptian town on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, approximately 80 km (50 mi) northeast of Sharm el-Sheikh. Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab is one of Egypt’s most treasured diving destinations.


Following the Six-Day War, Sinai was occupied by Israel. Egypt restored the Sinai peninsula under the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1982. Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak, helped the arrival of many local and international tourism companies and hotel chains. Dahab became known as Di-Zahav after a place mentioned in the Bible as one of the stations for the Israelites during the Exodus from Egypt. Many other ancillary facilities have since made the town resorts popular with tourists. Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport serves Dahab. Masbat (within Dahab) is a popular diving destination, and many (50+) dive centres are located within Dahab. Most of Dahab’s diving spots are shore dives.


Dahab comprises three major parts. Masbat, which includes the Bedouin village Asalah, is in the north. South of Masbat is Mashraba, which is more tourist and has considerably more hotels. In the southwest is Medina, which includes the Laguna area, famous for its excellent shallow-water kite- and windsurfing.


The town of Dahab has around 15,000 inhabitants. The region of Asalah is quite civil and has many campsites and hostels. Most people who visited Dahab became backpackers interested in diving and snorkelling in the Red Sea.


Dahab attracts large numbers of tourists. At present, it is world-renowned for its windsurfing. Indeed, the reliable winds provide superb flat-water conditions inside Dahab’s sand spit. Further away from shore, wavy conditions coupled with strong winds are challenging for keen windsurfers. However, the kitesurfers have recently occupied the lagoon inside the sand spit, with two Russian-owned schools opening on the beach. SCUBA diving, free-diving and snorkelling are popular activities, with many reefs immediately adjacent to waterfront hotels. The nearby Blue Hole, nicknamed “The World’s Most Dangerous Diving Site”, and Canyon are internationally famous dive spots. The increasing destruction of coral by reckless divers and diving centres is a pressing issue. It is causing some worry, sparking the need to regulate dive centres thoroughly.

Land-based activities include rock climbing, camel riding, horse riding, mountain biking, jeep and quad bike trips. Mount Sinai is a two-hour drive, with Saint Catherine’s Monastery being a popular tourist destination.

Historically, most visitors to Dahab have been backpackers travelling independently and staying in hostels, motels or guesthouses in the Masbat area. In recent years, the development of hotels in the Medina area has facilitated the arrival of a broader range of tourists. Many visit Dahab specifically to partake in surfing, windsurfing, diving, kite surfing, sailing, and other activities.

Much of the reef coral just offshore is slowly disappearing, for inexperienced divers to take it out in large numbers. Another considerable problem is that in Masbat, local restaurants dump sand and rock into the sea to extend the shoreline, disrupting local coral reefs.

Name of Dahab

The word Dahab is Arabic for gold and possibly references the geographic locality; gold washed down from the desert mountains may have accumulated on the alluvial flood plain where the town stood. Some locals attribute the title to the colour of the sky just after sunset. The name may also reference the colour of the sands to the south of the city itself.

One local story concerning the town’s name stems from the floods that wash through the city every five or six years. More significant than average, seasonal storms in the mountains cause a great water rush to the sea, dragging tremendous amounts of sand. During this time, the town is cut in two by the flood, the bay is stirred up, and the sands turn a golden yellow. It typically lasts a few days and has caused damage and loss of life in the past as people were unaware of the sudden onset and the force the water moves. Today, locals are ready when they see the clouds over the mountains. Anyone lucky enough to witness it will remember it for a long time.

However, according to the Bedouins of the area, the name “Dahab” has a different origin. When the Bedouin people came there, they called it “Waqaat Thahaab” (وقت ذهب), which translates literally as “Time Goes”. This name originates from the fact that one could quickly lose track of time as the days begin to run together. The name was then shortened to “Thahaab” (ذهب) but was misunderstood by travellers who thought they were saying Dahab.

Local Bedouin children, sometimes encouraged by their families, come to beach cafes and restaurants to sell items such as woven bracelets to tourists.

Why Egypt’s Dahab is the perfect Red Sea resort town

Nestled in the imposing shadow of Egypt’s Sinai mountains lies Dahab, a mesmerising destination that has captured the hearts of many, prompting them to make it their permanent abode.

What was once a humble fishing village of the Bedouin community has now evolved into one of the most sought-after diving resorts in the Red Sea, drawing in adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and even local tourists.

Located just an hour’s drive from Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab offers many activities to keep visitors occupied while providing a calming and serene coastal environment to unwind and relax amidst the sea’s myriad blue hues.

This year-round paradise is centred around a vibrant boardwalk lined with budget-friendly accommodations, tour operators, souvenir shops, multicultural restaurants and cafes, each with its unique vibe.

At its core is a diverse and multicultural community comprising local Bedouins, mainland Egyptians, and expats from around the globe. All of them are drawn to Dahab’s natural beauty and proximity to all the attractions of Sinai.

Dahab Hotels

Dahab, previously a small sleepy fishing village, is now a charming divers paradise with a few intelligent hotels popping up alongside some chic seaside apartments. An easy one-hour taxi drive from Sharm El Sheikh airport, this is an ideal destination if you’re looking for somewhere with soul and charm on the Red Sea. The best places to stay in Dahab are chic, low-key (and low-budget) hotels and apartments. These facilities provide excellent bases for enjoying its various offerings. For those more interested in indulging in the sun, the luxury hotels mainly located just outside Dahab are a perfect option.

Natural and tourist attractions

The main attractions are diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, kitesurfing, sunbathing, and safaris/mountain climbing in neighbouring Sinai. There are nearly 20 dive sites in or near Dahab, including world-renowned reefs such as Canyon and Blue Hole, just a short jeep ride away. And several “house reefs” also offer excellent dives and snorkelling in the town centre. The best hotels in Dahab usually organise dive excursions to both these destinations.

Camel riding

The city has many of the most prominent attractions in Ras Abu Gallum, including a nature reserve and a diving area. Indeed, it is one of the world’s most famous dive spots. In addition, the Kanoun region is one of the best diving areas in Al-Asala, where about 75% of the city’s population lives. It is divided into three areas (Mubarak City, Zarnouk, Al-Asala), Coral Island, and the remains of a historical fortress built by the Crusaders.

Al-Mellil, a road parallel to the coast road, includes some small hotels, cafeterias, and houses. The city’s central neighbourhood starts with Al Fanar Street and then Masbat Bay. It consists of shops, diving clubs, cafes, camps and hotels. Also, it includes a large number of cafeterias and diving centres. Tel Mashraba, located in the old city of Dahab, contains the only impact there.

Wadi Qani is a site representing the city’s future urban expansion. It includes a wide range of hotels, service and residential complexes, and the areas of Lighthouse and the Garden Garden and Oasis. Dahab comprises two gulfs, the Laguna and Ghazala, characterised by the city’s only sandy beach. Its cistern and resorts along its shores integrate with the surrounding nature with log-and-palm kiosks for tourists.

Exploring the Colored Canyon by camel

The Sinai Peninsula boasts some of the most breathtaking desert landscapes in the world. For those visiting Dahab, a camel or jeep safari is a must to explore the surrounding desert and mountains, specifically the famous Colored Canyon.

The Canyon comprises narrow, winding passageways and towering sandstone walls shaped by thousands of years of erosion. What makes the Colored Canyon so unique is the vibrant array of colours on its walls, which seem to transform depending on the sun’s angle.

Walking through the Canyon, You will discover an incredible display of natural colours, including deep reds, oranges, bright yellows, and greens. The canyon walls also feature intricate patterns and shapes carved out over time by the forces of wind and water. Additionally, the Canyon is home to various unique desert flora, such as acacia trees and roses.

Snorkeling and Diving in Ras Abu Galum

Ras Abu Galum offers breathtaking dives and trips for all types of divers, from beginners to pros. The Ras Abu Galum National Park, located about 15km north of Dahab, can be reached via camel or boat. Visitors typically begin their trip by driving to the Blue Hole, followed by a 90-minute camel ride north to the Bedouin huts. The untouched natural environment of Ras Abu Galum is a welcome escape from mass tourism. It offers around six dive sites with pristine coral and many reef fish. Overnight stays are preferable for those wishing to make the most of their trip with 4 or 5 dives. It also includes a night dive, simple yet delicious Bedouin food, and stargazing in the evening.

Diving in Gabr El Bint

For those seeking boat dives, the Gabr El Bint site, roughly 20km south of Dahab, is a fantastic day trip. Accessible by boat or camel, it is less frequently dived than other sites in Dahab. Also, it offers two different dives, with additional drift dives on the way out or back. The South Dive, known as the “dark side,” features a steep wall that drops to 60m, with numerous chasms, caves, and overhangs. The North dive is more colourful and features a forest of gorgonians, with a great chance of seeing Trevallies, Turtles, big Wrasses, Dolphins, and even Whale Sharks.

Diving in Blue Hole

The Blue Hole, one of the most famous dive sites in the Sinai, is just 20 minutes from Dahab by car. The Blue Hole is a must-see for visitors, a Reef hole with walls dropping to over 100m. Typically, divers begin diving at the Bells, a deep cut in the Reef top 100m north of the Blue Hole. A descent through a chimney and drift along the wall offers sightings of Trevallies, Turtles, and Sharks, among other marine life. Tec divers can enter at the Blue Hole and descend to the Arch (60m) for an even more challenging dive.

Diving in Rick’s Reef

Rick’s Reef, located just 300m north of the Canyon, offers a shallow drift dive with beautiful coral gardens and reefs. The dive follows the shore south to the Canyon, with opportunities to view Anthias, coral Groupers, Pufferfish, and Parrotfish along the way. The dive ends with a short swim through a coral garden and a sandy lagoon marked by several coral pinnacles.

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