The Abu Dabbab Bay is a special snorkeling spot on the Egyptian coast. People say this bay is the prettiest one along the entire coast, one of the best sandy beaches in the Marsa Alam region. The Abu Dabbab Dugong bay is famous about the unique marine life, it is known as being one of the few places in the world where you can snorkel with dugongs (sea cows) and giant sea turtles as well.
Abu Dabbab Bay – General info about the location
The beautiful Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay is located about 30 km North of Marsa Alam. This is a U-shaped bay, one of the largest sandy bottom bays with seagrass in the region. The bay is protected from the open sea on its northern and southern side by reefs. The area is fairly sheltered and its depth descends slowly as you swim towards the sea, but typically averages 15 meters. There is a steep drop off by the open sea (depth 30-40 meters).
The visibility can be poor inside of the bay because of the sand (4-10 meters), but better on the left and the right side, where you can snorkel along the reef.
You will find always something interesting in the middle of the bay, in the shallow water as well, so this place is perfect for children and for novice snorkelers.
Two good hotels can be found near at the Abu Dabbab Dugong bay: The Hilton Marsa Nubian Resort and The El Malikia Resort (Former Sol Y Mar Abu Dabbab).
Both hotels have good feedbacks, so it is your choice where would you like to stay if you plan to visit Abu Dabbab Dugong bay. The Hilton Marsa Nubian is an excellent Hilton hotel, it has a bit higher standards, but The El Malikia Resort has a better location, it is easier to get into the water from The El Malikia. (Read reviews about these good hotels, check them on the Tripadvisor!)
If you will stay another hotel in Marsa Alam, it is no problem, the Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay is open for everybody. In these case there is an entrance fee for the beach ( around 10 EUR / 12 USD ) You can use the chairs and umbrellas, buy snacks and drinks in the beach bar and a clean toilet is also available. About Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay excursions, ask information from your tour operator, by local dive centers or at your hotel reception!
Note: The Marsa Alam region: Marsa Alam is the perfect choice in Egypt, if you are looking for a quite place for your holiday. The hotels are far away from the city and also from each other, so this destination is not for party people, this region is for sea lovers. Marsa Alam is not a general tourist city, either a remote location, where you will be under the spell of the beautiful marine life and can enjoy the famous Egyptian hospitality.
Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay – Unique marine life
Dugong (sea cow)
The most famous resident animals, without a doubt, the dugongs here. People say, in the Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay there are two residents dugongs, Dennis and Dougal!
Of course, they are not always in the bay, but if you are dogged and lucky, go often into the water you will have a big chance to see them.
If you are on the beach and keep your eye on other snorkelers, you will notice when they detect a dugong, because everybody will be excited 🙂 Be careful, go slowly into the water, do not rush! The noise could intimidate the dugong and it can disappear quickly into the depths.
The dugongs can weigh up to 500 kg, grow up to 2.5-3 meters long and swim at 10 km/ hour! If they feel threatened, they are capable to swim at 20 km/hour as well!
They are sometimes tolerant of the snorkelers, but they do not seem to enjoy crowds. Watch them always from a safe distance!
To see the dugong feeding on the grassy seabed is also a unique experience! This interesting creature makes a huge cloud of fine sand particles and sometimes emerges to take breaths at the surface.
Unfortunately, this wonderful animal is classified as a “vulnerable to extinction” and it has sadly earned a place on the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species.
They are already disappeared from the Maldives, Mauritius, and Taiwan. There is still a significant population around the Australian coastline, they exist in only very small numbers in the Red Sea.
Giant Sea Turtle
Other residents of the Abu Dabbab Bay are the Giant Green Sea Turtles. You could swim very close them, normally they are not shy. They seem fairly oblivious to the presence of snorkelers.
If you see a giant turtle, you could often also spot an accompanying remora fish feeding of the parasites on the turtle’s shell.
The Abu Dabbab Bay is the perfect place for Turtle Selfies! If you are lucky, you will make memorable photos of these huge animals. Do not be surprised, if you go too close with your camera, you can simply receive a push from their flippers!
Other rare and interesting animals
There are not just dugongs and sea turtles in the Abu Dabbab Bay. You could see other rare animals, like guitar rays and the completely harmless guitar shark!
Titan triggerfish, green pufferfish, triangular trunkfish, trevallies and giant barracudas are also daily visitors in this area. If you have good eyes, you could find superb macro objects like ghost Pipefish, Thorny Seahorse, and Hairy Pygmy Pipehorse.
The Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay is the perfect place for underwater photographers, it does not matter you are a keen hobby photographer or already a pro, you will always find subjects here!
Along the reefs, you could spot sea scorpions and stonefish as well as large stingrays. Even a giant whale shark was recently spotted.
All this exceptional and unique marine life, the perfect conditions makes The Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay a must see and must snorkel spot for everybody visiting the Marsa Alam region!