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South Sinai region
Introduction to the "South Sinai" region
The South Sinai Governorate, is the region of Egypt that composes the less populated area of the country and that of course, cover the South part of the Sinai Peninsula. Indeed, this area is not very populated, compared to the urban suburbs of Cairo, this is a heaven of peace. Before it was touristically more exploded, the South Sinai region was the land in which bedouins (people that live in the desert areas) lived, and still do live nowadays. They were the first to inhabitate these lands
Tourism focused on chill – mystical experience. Diving courses in the Red Sea. Yoga & meditation courses. Very affordable for Americans and Europeans.
How to get to Dahab?
From Cairo, you can take a plane all the way to the Sinai, though the closest place you will be able to land will be Sharm el Sheikh. The journey will be really short, not taking you more than a simple hour of flight. Though, as I already mentioned in my last post about the recommended tour to Aswan and Luxor with the nile cruise, in Egypt there’s no internal low cost airlines, so even for very short trips you will pay minimum 50€ per way. Yes, guys, sadly, companies offering trips per 9.99€ like Ryanair does in between European countries, do not really exist in the Middle East. The company I recommend you to take your flight with is Egyptair. As its name says, it’s an Egyptian airline, it works good, and it offers flights in between many destinations of the country.
As I said in the Aswan & Luxor tour posts, you have two options whenever traveling inside of Egypt. Flight, that is undoubtedly faster and more comfortable, but at the same time more expensive. Or taking the bus, specially with the company GoBus, that also works decently in the country, which you’ll save money but you’ll take much longer to arrive. That was my case. I took the bus from Cairo all the way to Dahab, and it was 10h journey in a small bus with no space and no AC. Kill me. And also, bear in mind, the South Sinai region is filled with militar check points (Egypt is a militar dictatorship country). So it’s really annoying because the bus will do multiple stops at those multiple checkpoints placed all along the road, in which the militar will keep asking for documentation and reasons to visit the region and so. The ticket will only cost you about 12€, but the journey will be very inconvenient, taking long time and with many stops.
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Places to stay in Dahab
Well, firstly, I would like to start stating that I only stayed in one place during my whole month stay in Dahab, so I can not really make a lot of recommendations in this aspect, but I can asure you unless you go to a fancy hotel, Dahab accommodations are very affordable. If you like to stay for a while in the place, I recommend you to then rent an apartment. From 3.000 pounds, (150€) you can find something decent shared with someone else. If not, I recommend you to go to ‘Charlie House Camp’. It’s a camp, its rooms are very simple, there’s no even AC only a fan, could be noisy depending on where is your room placed and there’s no wifi and shared toilet. I know, it doesn’t sound like I want to sell this product to you, but I’m just being honest, because the night there costs only 5€/night for private room. So is almost for free, but it won’t be the most fancy or comfy accommodation you have tried. However, in its favor I can say the location is perfect, next to restos, close to the beach and supermarkets. If you do need wifi, just look for one of the endless beautiful easy going hippy vibes cafeterias Dahab has to offer, You’ll find yourself working surrounding by the doggies of the town, with the fresh breeze of the sea, some nice chill music on the background, and once your done I hope you are wearing your bikini to just jump to the water.
For apartments, check Marshaba, or Lighthouse area.
Things to do in Dahab:
1. Go for a diving lesson!
If you ever come to the Red Sea, please don’t miss the chance to take a lesson of scubadiving. Or at least, the least thing you can do is to snorkel. Why? Because the coral reefs of this sea are really outstanding. Their color. the variety of fish species.. scubadiving is an interesting water sport activity to engage with the nature and with a world that surround us everywhere and that we tend to ignore: the ocean life that is down there. Once you get submerged you get into a total different world.
Red Sea Tribe was the diving school I chose to take my first diving lesson with, I was very happy with the result. 40 mins lesson in the water, with a instructor that taught me all the basic to de-pressure my ears every 1-2 m we were immersing more deep in the water, how to breathe with the oxygen tank, and how to get rid of the water that sometimes entered in the breathing tube. After it, we immersed ourselves around 9m down the water, and watched the amazing undersea! I will definitely repeat and recommend anyone curious about the water life to give a try to this amazing experience!
Price is around 600 L.E. (30€).
2. Attend the night time live concerts in 'Every Day Café'
Everyday Cafe is a very vibrant bar in the town of Dahab in which daily live music shows take place, there’s lot of young people attending the events from all kind of backgrounds and it has a relaxed and beautiful vibe. You are expected to order at least a drink if you attend the shows which are actually free of charge.
3. Snorkel in Lighthouse area
The Lighthouse area is a part of Dahab, in which many locals including bedouin children original from the region reunite to swim, and in which some of the most beautiful coral reefs to observe are placed.
As I said before, whenever you find yourself into the Red Sea, a diving lesson to catch the breath taken views of the undersea is totally a must, but I completely can understand that not everyone is up to immerse him/herself into the deep with an oxygen tank. Some are afraid of suffocating, of losing control. Others simply won’t be up to pay the lesson or not interested to take the step towards such a new experience because they don’t really care about the sea nature. Whatever is the reason that may stop you from diving, at least try not to put any that stops you from snorkeling.
For doing that activity (snorkel), you just need to rent a mask and up to you to rent the diving fins, also called ‘flippers‘ (for your feet, to swim and feel more like a fish). All together it won’t cost you more than 50 pounds (2.5€) per day. So the cost in this region of Egypt for undertaking such a sea activity won’t be a lot. You will just need to get used to breathing only with your mouth, be careful not to touch any coral, be a good swimmer will help, and some guide that takes you and guides you through the undersea.
Attend a music festival in the Sinai Mountains
“Mountain Beats Festival”, was the name of the festival I had the chance to attend in the South Sinai while I was staying in Dahab and in the middle of the outbreak. It was filled with a lot of people, the decoration of the place was magical and the music unique. We enjoyed with our group of friends as crazy! It was 4 days festival, but you could buy tickets for a single day for as low price as 800 L.E. (40€), actually not that low, but it’s a festival. And it was really worth it. Also entering drinks was not allowed but we did enter them in a bag and whenever it got more full we just drank them as inside of the place drinks are really overrated.
4. Watch the Kitesurfers in 'Lagoona Beach'
This is a beach placed only 15 mins ride by car from Dahab, and it’s a must to go there, sit, and enjoy the kite surfers show. Well, if you feel attracted to this water sport, of course you can also give it a try. The entrance is totally completely free, and there’s a seller there that has amazing pudding rice that will make your stay in the beach even more enjoyable.
5. Visit St. Catherine mountains
You can read about my experience in St.Catherine mountains in my blog post of the South Sinai Guide part 2, but I already want to mention here that if you come to the South Sinai region is also a total must to go on and explore these mountains. Most of people decide to take the half day excursion to hike Moses Mountain in the night and arrive to the peak in the sunrise, though this is not the only option to explore that region.
Actually what my Serbian friend and I did, was a much better and deep experience into those holy mountains. We met a Bedouin guy, who grown up in St Catherine and knew everything about that natural environment, and so he took us to hike and climb different mountains and valleys every day, because we decided to stay at his bedouin eco lodge camp (placed in the middle of the mountains, with amazing view to the star sky) for a total of two nights.
So I will recommend you that very alternative experience instead of hiking Moses at night
6. Visit 3 pools beach & Wadi Gnai
3 pools beach is a free access beach (and I highlight the ‘free’ part because there’s many beaches in the South Sinai region for which you have to pay entrance access. This beach is placed around 15-20 mins by car, and it’s a perfect spot for snorkeling lovers as it offers different coral areas.
The beach is in the middle of nowhere though it has enough infrastructure to seat under the sun covers, some bars where you can order tea, drinks, food, and some typical diving shop where you can rent the mask for the snorkel.
To end up with...
I hope you enjoyed this text and found it with plenty of useful info! And If you did, which I hope that’s the case, do not hesitate to check and to follow me in my other social media accounts in which I also public loads of daily info about my trips and life abroad!