Panoramic view of Dahab Bay, Egypt


Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dahab (دهب) is a small town situated on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, located approximately 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab is still considered to be one of the Sinai's most treasured diving destinations. Following the Six Day War, the town was occupied by Israel and known in Hebrew as Di-Zahav, a place mentioned in the Exodus from Egypt. The Sinai Peninsula was restored to Egyptian rule in 1982. The arrival of international hotel chains and the establishment of other ancillary facilities has now made this a popular destination with tourists. The nearest international airport is located at Sharm el-Sheikh.

Tourist highlights include:

- Dahab is world-renowned for its windsurfing. Reliable winds provide superb flat-water conditions inside Dahab's sand spit. There is also an area behind the spit known to windsurfers as 'Speedy' which has more flat water and strong interrupted winds, making it a perfect area for windsurfing at speed. A very small bay within 'Speedy', known as 'Baby Bay', is used for freestyle windsurfing (doing tricks). To the east, wavy conditions couple with strong winds to provide formidable conditions for keen windsurfers.

- SCUBA diving and snorkelling are very good, with many reefs immediately adjacent to waterfront hotels. The nearby Blue Hole and Canyon are internationally famous dive spots.
- The seafood restaurants along the waterfront of the down-town tourist area, known as Masbet, are good, with red snapper, calamari and lobster being highlights. The Bedouin-style seafood is based on baking in earthenware.
- There are camel, horse, jeep and quad bike safaris. These are either parallel to the shoreline, up one of the several valleys or around the township.
- A two-hour drive is sufficient to reach Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine's Monastery; ascents to view sunrise and sunset are popular.
- Historically, most visitors to Dahab have been backpackers travelling independently and staying in hostels in the Masbet area. In recent years, development of hotels in the Medina area has facilitated the arrival of a wider range of tourists, many of whom visit Dahab specifically to partake in the windsurfing, diving and other activities.

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

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