Diving in Dahab Egypt: 6 dive sites not to miss
June 21, 2015
The Red Sea is for sure the best place for scuba diving. Visibility is amazing, marine life rich and divers. If you are looking for a friendly place to stay, consider Dahab, about one hour drive from Sharm el Sheik airport. Dahab means “Gold”. The Bedouin gave this village this name for its golden sands. Nowadays Dahab still breaths Bedouinlife. But the beaches are not golden anymore: the real gold lies under water, it’s blue gold.
Diving in Dahab has a certain routine: you take a short drive along the coast to a Bedouin cafe. This is your relaxing place where you drink your minttea and change for your dive. An easy walk into the water and your adventure starts! Back from your first dive the cafe serves a delicious lunch and after a nice rest you get ready for a second dive. Diving was never more relaxing. Dahab has many dive sites, but some you can’t afford to miss!
My favorite dive site in Dahab! The Canyon offers an easy entry and exit point through a shallow, sandy lagoon. This leads out to beautiful coral gardens inhabited by butterflyfishes, unicornfishes, octopus, pufferfish and Red Sea anthias. Trust me, one visit is not enough to explore this site.
The main opening to the canyon lies at about 17 metres. The canyon itself is a long split in the reef, forming an open tunnel that leads onto the near vertical reef face below 50 metres. The entry to the Canyon is done through it largest point at about 20 metres. What I love most is the light effect caused by the sun rays. It’s spectacular!
Blue Hole and the Bells
The truth is, the Blue Hole isn’t the most spectacular dive site when we are talking about marine life. But still, it’s such a famous and notorious site that you just want to dive there! The Blue Hole is a very large hole about 150 metres in diameter and dropping to 105 metres. A tunnel at 52 metres connects the Blue Hole to the sea. The tunnel is long, over 26 metres. It is the ‘challenge’ of The Arch that leads to so many deaths. The arch drops down to 54 metres, then divers swim through the 35 metres of archway and finally ascend on the other side. The Arch is not for every diver, so be wise when diving here.
I suggest you’ll do a driftdive from the Bells to the Blue Hole. The Bells is a partially open tube, reminiscent of a church bell tower – hence the name – which exits at 28 till 30 metres onto the vertical face of the reef. From there, the normal dive is south along a wall, with overhangs, sheltering gorgonians and soft corals, towards a “saddle”, marking the entrance to the Blue Hole, where the corals and fish life are amazing.
Lighthouse and Eel Garden
The Lighthouse is a nice place to be: above and under water. It is a lovely reef from the surface to 10 metres or more. A man-made underwater playground is nearby. The Lighthouse offers a number of different dives depending on the route chosen. Just enjoy the abundance: marine life and vividly colourful corals. The Lighthouse is made up of a large rocky wall that wraps around the point whilst heading north to the Eel Garden wich is perfect for your second dive of the day.
Mashraba and The Islands
Oke, this combination is cheating a bit, but really these two totally different sites are possible to dive in one day. I did!
For Mashraba you start under Dahabs central bridge and as soon as you walk into the water you enter a green world. You decend into a bed of seagrass full of fish. With some luck you will see turtles and seahorses.
After lunch it’s a short drive to the next dive site. The Islands is an amazing place to enjoy coral. During an earthquake 10 years ago huge sections of the reef collapsed, exposing holes and cracks that are rapidly filling up with renewed coral growth. Here you can see every Red Sea fish you can think of!
Actually the caves are not really caves but caverns. They have eroded back underneath the shoreline underwater. This site gives you a good idea of what it feels like to be in a cave underwater without the risks. Rays of sunlight sparkling into the caves give this dive some kind of magic. And don’t forget to look: there is a beautiful red anemone on the southern side of the reef.
Ras Abu Galum
Saving the best for last: a camel safari and diving combined!
Ras Abu Galum is one of the more remote sites and that makes diving there a true adventure. From the Blue Hole you take a camel for the last 5 kilometres to the beautiful and remote marine and wildlife reserve of Ras Abu Galum. You can do two daydives and one nightdive followed by a delicious meal prepared by the Bedouin. Next day before leaving by camel you enjoy another two dives and after that, trust me, you don’t want to leave this place. It’s pure magic.
Do you want to know more about diving in Dahab? Read also Diving in Dahab: 6 dive sites not to miss part two!