Three days in Dahab mean you can sample the Red Sea’s wonders, feast on seafood, and tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Catherine’s Monastery. But you can also enjoy an authentically close encounter with the desert on an overnight safari—or head farther afield, to Petra, Israel, or Cairo and/or Luxor. Here’s how.
Start your Dahab adventure with a visit to the UNESCO-listed St. Catherine’s Monastery. This fortresslike structure stands proud against the stark landscapes of Mt. Sinai, where many believe Moses received the Ten Commandments. Return to Dahab in time for an afternoon exploring the Red Sea. Crystal waters coupled with bright corals and aquarium fish make this perfect snorkeling territory, while Dahab is a mecca for scuba divers and free divers alike. Blue Hole, Canyon, and Three Pools are popular snorkeling spots, a couple of which can be reached on camelback. Wrap up your day with a seafood feast lounging on low cushions at a waterside restaurant.
Besides the Red Sea, Dahab’s other star attraction is the Sinai Desert, and three days gives you long enough to discover it on an overnight adventure. There are few things as magical as sitting around a campfire in the desert as the moon rises, illuminating dunes and rocky outcrops, as you savor a Bedouin feast. Whether you’re traveling by camel, 4WD, or the ever-popular Toyota Hilux, you’ll not regret spending two whole days exploring wadi (slot canyons), hunting for fossils, and racing down dunes. One popular safari destination is Serabit el-Khadim, the Sinai’s only significant ancient Egyptian site; other tours take in the dazzling Colored Canyon. Alternatively, if you only have limited time in the region, consider Israel, under two hours’ drive from Dahab: Some tours pack the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Galilee into just two days.
If you opted for an overnight desert safari adventure, sip your morning coffee amid the silence of the desert, ride a camel across the dunes, or try your hand at delights from ATV riding to sand boarding. If your last day in Dahab is also your final day in Egypt, consider checking off some of the most important ancient Egyptian ruins. Choose between Cairo, home of the Giza pyramids, the Sphinx, and Egypt’s most important museums, and Luxor, with the Valley of the Kings, the Colossi of Memnon, and a wealth of temples. Alternatively, check off one more UNESCO World Heritage Site with a trip across the Red Sea to Jordan and Petra, the rose-red city that looks as though it was built by giants. Spend your final night in a rooftop bar, looking out over the sparkling lights and perhaps indulging in the local favorite, shisha.