A laid-back fishing village with a thriving scuba scene, Dahab is one of the Sinai’s gems. The key attractions here fall within two areas: the Sinai Desert, which backs the town, and the Red Sea, which fronts it. One day in Dahab is enough time to sample the joys of both. Here’s how.
Spend the morning in the Red Sea, known for its crystal waters and excellent visibility. Take a ride in a glass-bottom boat or a submersible. Or, get up close to the wealth of coral and marine life on a snorkeling or scuba diving tour. (Beginners can try out the sport on a discovery dive.) Signature locations include the Blue Hole, a submarine sinkhole that’s 328 feet (100 meters) deep; the Canyon, a sculptural underwater gorge; and Three Pools, a shallow site that’s perfect for snorkeling. Expect to see clown fish, lionfish, parrotfish, and more.
In the afternoon, explore the Sinai Desert. Make like a Bedouin aboard a camel, ride a horse to an oasis, or kick up the dust on an all-terrain vehicle adventure. Or, join a veteran Bedouin driver for a 4WD safari farther afield. Don’t expect many dunes near Dahab. The magic here is in the “wadi,” rugged slot canyons carved out of the rock over long stretches of geological time. Colored Canyon—with walls molded into painterly swirls of red, gold, blue, and purple—is a classic choice. Visit shortly before sunset, when the colors take on a warm glow.
Get to know the long-term inhabitants of this ancient wilderness: the Bedouin. Join a tour that takes you to a traditional encampment in the desert. Climb a hill to watch the sunset, or sip sugary Bedouin tea while sitting on carpets around a fire. (You might choose to try a shisha water pipe, filled with fruit tobacco.) Then feast on Bedouin barbecue and flatbreads. Appreciate the absence of light pollution, as a million stars appear before your eyes and, if you’re lucky, a full moon rises over the desert.