Dahab: Are ready for a diving adventure in the Red Sea?
Are you in need of some sunshine and crystal clear blue waters after a long winter?
Well we have the solution for you; The Red Sea, where you can dive all year round no matter what the weather!
With visitors travelling there from all over the globe, the Red Sea continues to be a top choice destination offering the best value in relation to quality and price. Browse through our Red Sea section here and choose from a list of the best Dive Centers in the area, all tried and tested by TribloO!
The dives in the Red Sea are known to be remarkable, however, areas such as Hurghada for example, can be somewhat crowded, thus providing an unmissable opportunity for discovering new areas within the the Golf of Aquaba, and in particular Dahab.
Mise à l’eau, devant le trou bleu de Dahab.
The main appeal when it comes to diving at Dahab, is without a doubt the fact that you never need a boat to enjoy the dives. All the dives sites are accessible by land! You can dive in total relaxation at whatever time you want due to the fact that it’s simply much easier to rent a jeep than it is a dive boat!
Beautiful night dives are only steps away from the hotel and colorful coral reefs and steep drop offs are home to an array of marine life at memorable reefs such as The Canyon, The Blue Hole, Lighthouse as well as many other must-see popular dive sites.
At The Blue Hole, a beautiful cookie cutter reef carving
I discovered this destination more than twenty years ago and have been returning there ever since. Bewitched by the “golden city”, Dahab is a stylish city full of history with a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful, varied landscapes. In Dahab boat travel is replaced by camels!
Trying to describe the diving here with words just does not do it justice. Spoilt for choice, the only way to truly experience the underwater beauty of Dahab is by discovering it for yourself.
For my part, I have decided to share with you, an experience that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to do elsewhere: a Diving Safari in the desert!
This is an experience that I wholeheartedly recommend and one which is offered by several dive centers in Dahab
A Diving Safari in the Sinai Desert
Our jeep, crammed full with diving equipment, starts its journey headed south. We left the golden sands of Dahab (meaning the golden city in Arabic) early this morning.
To our right, are the yellow walls of Sinai. On our left, beyond the precipice, rests the deep blue of the Red Sea, elegantly laced with coral, and in the distance, across the Gulf of Aqaba, lie the red mountains of Saudi Arabia.
Here we are, at the center of the tectonic forces that created the Red Sea, dividing African and Asian plates. Within the rocks, sandstone, granite and limestone, there still lies traces of this historic slow cataclysm.
It is only 8am but the heat is already strengthening as the minutes tick by. The trailer, covered with multicolored carpet for sun protection, is unhooked and orders in Arabic start flying around.
It’s certainly easy to recognize and differentiate the white folk on the trip, they’re the ones covered head to toe in sunscreen!
We are told we need to get down off the jeep and cross a ravine and on several occasions the jeep almost topples over whilst passing through.
Finally, we reach sea level. We continue driving over the fossilised coral plains until soon, we come to a halt, reaching a point that seems to be a dead end even for vehicles.
We are stopped in front of a huge pile of crystalized rocks: it seems there must have been water at some point in this part of the desert. The guides confirms to us that a violent flood once swept away a jeep rental shop in the heart of Dahab, and there is nothing left of it to show.« Diving on the plains of the Old Testament »
As we ponder as to what is to happen next, as if out of nowhere, dromedaries, also known as one humped Arabian camels, appear before us alongside men wrapped in white.
These white clothed men were born and raised in the midst of the furnace of this region. The are Bedouins, the dominant population of the Sinai, who claim to be the descendants of the Hejaz tribes, and consider themselves to be amongst the purest of the Arab race.
Although at one point they became Muslims, the Bedouins have still preserved certain pagan superstitions and rites within their laws dating back to what they call the ‘dark times’
Tea is one familiar tradition for the Bedouin people and as a fire of thorns is lit on the earth beneath, a blackened teapot is placed on top and left to boil.
Flour patties are tossed from hand to hand before being thrown upon the blazing embers to cook. The tea is incredibly sweet and hot enough to melt even the fillings in your mouth. This almost makes the ambient heat seem bearable.
The unpleasant stench of camel odor wafts through the air as they wait to be loaded up with new cargo. Camels, they certainly are strange animals! Shaved and full of calluses and dust, rooting around for any old leftovers they can find.
The jeep is swiftly unloaded, down come the bottles, compressor, VHF radio, bags and various other bits and pieces in a seemingly perfect disorder. The Bedouins have managed to store enough supplies for a 3 day excursion.
These supplies will be carried by the tireless camels. Glancing closer, they look so overloaded it almost seems as if they won’t be able to get up after they’ve been packed up.
The camels defy the odds and their heavy load, and rise up ready to head off into the horizon, further south for four hours of méharée.
As we head off for our diving adventure on our ‘noble vessels of the desert’ my mind wanders to the pharaohs who were once here on a similar journey but in search of copper and turquoise treasures.
It was also here that the Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses.
It was now our time to part open the Red Sea…….« Unexplored Depths »
Decorative porcelain coral, clouds of orange anthias, sergeant majors in their comfortable striped pyjamas, feisty clown fish, every corner of these magical waters are filled with life and color.
Here we can just allow ourselves to be guided by nature, nothing more, nothing less.
The reefs surrounding us are so intact it almost feels as if we are the first to have ever dived here and I understood in that moment why the guides smiled so much! Down at 20m giant gorgonians are decorated with dragonfish posing as sea lanterns. A spotted grouper marauders close by in perfect trim searching for his next meal. A triggerfish defiantly defends his fire coral not prepared to back down.
With effortless movements the dive lasts over an hour, although it’s hard to resist the call of the blue and gazing down past 30m you begin to imagine what other mysteries await in the depths below. I only wish I had the chance to explore beyond the canyon entrance, barely visible behind a curtain or purple coral.
Back on the surface the tents are promptly erected, providing our only shelter against the fierce sun. The Bedouins prepared a delicious meal of fresh fish caught only moments before.
The Bedouin fisherman had patiently lured in our lunch after hours in the water dangling his fishing line over the drop off with the goal of coaxing in a curious and tasty visitor.
The dromedaries watch us in the shadows as we eat, drink and enjoy ourselves and the compressors work away filling up our aluminium tanks in preparation for the next adventure.
The sun began to set beyond the black mountains, tinting the sky like purple ink. The first stars appear and the desert odors reveal themselves in replacement of the light.
The scent of the rabla wafts by, the green leaves that give the hot tea its delicious minty smell and taste. It is in this moment that our burning skin recalls on the days aventure, our thoughts wander and our souls are set free.
The dry Saudi Arabian wind is set to blow all night. We take a moment to gaze up, trying to decrypt the beautiful planetarium that is now our ceiling. Our bedroom is the Sinai and our mattress and blanket are the milky way and the desert pebbles.
A majestic night ready to trigger a starry insomnia.
We cast our wishes up to the night sky and the stars begin to fade……after three days we run out of time and we start our journey back to Dahab. Did we discover the secrets of the Red Sea? Oh yes, there is no doubt about it.
Filming the first episode of the “Divers Diaries”
A dromedary who loved the water but not the cameras!
The filming of ‘The Divers Diaries’ adventures was about to begin (a series of 35 documentaries about the most beautiful dive sites in the world) and we needed to shoot the ‘pilot’ to convince the TV channels to pick up the show. The question came up as to where we should start shooting, and without hesitation I choose Dahab knowing full well it would achieve the positive reaction we wanted.
The early stage of filming was a nightmare. Balancing on top of a dromedary loaded down with scuba tanks (as is customary during diving safaris) I had the tricky task of approaching the camera slowly and purposefully during the long film sequence.
After several failed attempts I gave it one last go which ended up with my dromedary bolting at the sight of the camera and launching himself into the Red Sea, almost fully immersed.
Knowing that we were nerve-wreckingly close the the edge of the drop off, I envisioned myself having to use one of the scuba tanks beneath my legs as we went down.
The the tank scenario was becoming more of a reality as the minutes went by due to the fact that the camel simply refused to get out of the water and I was unable to work out how to force him into reserve.
With the help of the Bedouins who shouted out orders in Arabic (at me or the animal I had no idea) we were finally able to safely reach dry land again.
Then we had to start all over again. Twice, three times, ten times!!
As was to be expected, the plan, the camel and I ended up in the water once again. In the end, miraculously, I was finally successful in achieving this ‘noble desert conquest’ although I did end up looking quite ridiculous with my Bedouin scarf unravelled and hanging off me like a dishcloth.
4 Not to be missed dive sites in Dahab
The Bells (Road access)
The deep abyss …
The Bells dive site is a deep crevice that divides the reef, north of the Blue Hole, and entry is a big jump in! A small archway at around 25m leads through to the deep blue after passing a huge bouquet of pink soft coral.
Enjoy the magnificent drift a little deeper down at 30m whilst looking out for the occasional whale or hammerhead sharks cruising by! The end of the dive brings you out to open sea where the Blue Hole awaits, although this is a whole other adventure of its own.
The Blue Hole (Road access)
Passing through the arch of the Blue Hole of Dahab.
There are some dive sites that you can only imagine in your dreams and The Blue Hole is one of those dreams, except it’s real! Located 8km north of Dahab in Egypt, this deep blue abyss carved out of the coral boasts a depth of over 100m.
At 55m, an illuminated arch, almost 30m long coaxes divers out to open sea and to a magnificent and vertiginous descent more than 700m deep! In only a few years, The Blue Hole has become a true ‘Tec Divers Mecca’
Canyon (Road access – Located five minutes Northeast of the lagoon exit)
The canyon, at its widest point.
Observed from the summit, The Canyon looks like a grooved oyster shell left slightly ajar. It is a huge crevice that can testify to the tectonic movements of the region and provides divers with the opportunity to explore the inside of the reef.
The dive starts off at below 12m in The Fish Bowl and ends up at around 30m. There are also other exits deeper down.
The Island (Access by road and then to the palm)
A coral dream
A colorful maze of coral gardens with numerous schools of fish, barracudas, turtles and spectacular coral landscapes. A really nice dive, flooded with sunlight. Great for beginners with a maximum depth of only 16m.
To finish off this little adventure, we want to share with you the images of freediver William Trubridge crossing the arch at the Blue Hole, doing the breaststroke. We neither encourage nor recommend that you attempt the same!
Have a great day and see you soon in Dahab!