Dahab, Egypt: where the mountains meet the sea
Last year while trying to decide where to go for a short vacation – someplace exotic but not too far away – we decided on the allure of the Red Sea.
All of the travel agencies I went to for information proposed Sharm-el-Sheik or Hurgada but I’ve always preferred more low-key, less built up destinations.
After some research, we finally decided on the tranquil seaside town of Dahab.
A Bedouin once described Dahab as “a place where mountains kiss the water of a calm blue lagoon and the wind blows through your soul”.
Located just 80km from Sharm-el-Sheik, Dahab has a stretch of golden sandy beaches (in fact Dahab means “gold” in Arabic) that run along the crystal blue water of the Gulf of Aqaba. With the rugged Sinai mountains crashing down behind you and the shadow of Saudi Arabia across the gulf, Dahab feels like a green oasis in the barren desert.
Renown for kite and wind surfing, trekking in the colorful canyons and its location to some of the world’s best diving sites (the coral reef in Ras Muhammad National Park), Dahab has something to do for the whole family.
My girls were 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 at the time so they had a blast just digging in the sand, splashing in the water and playing at the kids’ club at our hotel.
Having young children, we obviously were more limited with our activities and excursions but that didn’t stop us from snorkeling, going on glass bottom boats and riding on camels.
We also had one of the most incredible experiences in Egypt, something that I hope my girls will remember and that brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. The Bedouin dinner in the Sinai mountains was truly unforgettable. We went by jeep into the mountains until we reached a wadi (or small valley) and Bedouin camp. There we were served tea and a delicious dinner of grilled kotka, grilled chicken and rice outside while sitting on rugs around a campfire.
With a group of young Egyptian men and a couple from Cairo on their honeymoon, we sat and gazed at the most incredible star studded sky while listening to the calm of the desert, the fire crackling and the Bedouins singing and playing the rebab. It was pure magic.