Dahab is a hidden gem in Egypt. This former fishing village has a lot to offer: enjoy traditional Egyptian hospitality, get to know the real Bedouin lifestyle, and discover Dahab snorkeling places! Vibrant reefs, stunning marine life are guaranteed!
The Golden City
Dahab is considered to be one of Sinai’s most treasured diving, snorkeling destinations. Dahab means gold in Egyptian Arabic, which is reference to the geographic locality: gold washed down from the desert mountains accumulated on the alluvial flood plain where the town was built. Also refers to the color of the sand, and in our opinion, the underwater world is treasure itself too.
Dahab „Golden City” has not became a huge, artificial holiday destination, either a piece of paradise – you can enjoy the good “old times”. Take a walk in small “city centre”, meet the locals, discover the surrounding historical and natural spots! (St. Catherine’s Monastery, Moses Mountain, Coloured Canyon etc) Most visitors to Dahab have been backpackers who wanted to avoid mass tourism, but nowadays this small city meets everyone’s expectations: you find international hotel chains with 5 star resorts as well as lovely guesthouses, or B&B’s. Sport camps for freedivers or for windsurfers are also very common.
It’s approx. 80 kilometers northeast from Sharm el Sheikh, one hour by car from the Sharm el Sheikh International Airport.
Tip: always book your taxi in advance. There are several check-points on the roads to protect the tourists. Your driver shall report your name/passport details before you arrive or leave. Use reliable tour operators, or ask transfer from your hotel.
Best time to visit Dahab snorkeling places
Egypt is an all-year round destination. Air/water temperature rarely drops under 20-22 C o during cooler months. Perfect place to escape from grey, cold European winter. Average air temperature is around 35-38 C o in hottest summer months, 23-25 C o in winter. Temperature the most pleasant late spring and early autumn (30 C o during the day, 25 C o at night). Sea temperature reaches 28-29 C o in summer, drops gradually back to 22 C o by January. It’s around 26 C o late spring, 27 C o late September and in October.
Although Dahab snorkeling places can be visited all year round, best months for snorkeling are May-June, September-October- early November. Air is not so hot, sea is nice warm in these months. Sunshine guaranteed almost every day, number of rainy days ~10 per year. Technically there is zero chance for rain from June till September.
Dahab snorkeling places – more than Blue Hole
Dahab is most known of the Blue Hole. Well, Blue Hole is a must-see spot and most of the visitors (divers, freedivers, snorkelers) come here to see the iconic hole. But don’t think this is the only spot which worth a visit! Dahab snorkeling places are among the Red Sea’ top snorkel spots. Let’s see them one-by- one!
Canyon: outside Dahab, situated 1.5 kilometres south of Blue Hole. Although the Canyon itself is a diving spot, the reefs surrounding are perfect for snorkelers too. Canyon is an open underwater cave at 22-14 meters below surface. Wide enough for divers to swim through (strictly following marked entry-exit points) By good visibility, calm weather conditions even snorkelers might enjoy its unique view from the surface. Easy shore entrance through sandy lagoon. Snorkelers can follow the reef on the left. The reef is colorful, anemone, butterfly, unicorn, puffer fish can be found here as well as octopus, blue spotted rays.
Bells to Blue Hole: most visited spots among Dahab snorkeling places. Absolutely snorkeler’s bucket list items! Interesting, unique snorkel spots 12 km north of Dahab. Best to go into the water at Bells, and swim towards Blue Hole (currents run from north to south) Reef is truly amazing at Saddle (Blue Hole’s outer ring). For detailed information, read our Blue Hole post!
Ras Abu Galum: place to be (and snorkel 🙂 )! Peaceful spot for those who want to enjoy amazing sea, nature with fully relaxation. Ras Abu Galum is marine protected area by Bedouin village 15 kilometers north of Dahab. Villagers living simply here, are friendly, show their live gladly to the visitors. It is also possible to spend the night here in traditional Bedouin tents. Easiest way the get there is by boat. There are camel trips starting from Blue Hole to Abu Galum. It is also possible trekking on the camel path (approx. 1,5-2 hours from the hole, always bring enough water) Once you get there, you will find yourself next to a sandy lagoon in front of the visitor center. People usually do snorkeling here. We recommend you to walk approx. 500-800 meters along the coast, find a safe spot where to enter the water (don’t worry, locals or other snorkelers will help you to find safe entry points) The reef next to the ’boats’ lagoon’ is damaged, but a bit further it is lively, full of marine life) Abu Galum is usually protected from wind. No doubt, top among Dahab snorkeling places! Big schools of Red Sea fish, turtles, rays, octopus are common!
Eel Garden: ’City Snorkel Spot’ just few minutes walk from Dahab promenade. Eel Garden is home to Dahab’s largest colony of garden eels. Easy shore entrance through small canyon. Garden eels can be spotted on sandy bottom. These interesting creatures are swimming synchronized with each other and with waves. They vanish in a second if you approach them then appear from the sand again. Watching them is truly like watching National Geographic! Corals are nice here too, wide range of soft and hard corals such as different type of reef fish. Eagle rays are also common! Snorkelers may follow the reef on the right, it takes you to the next spot on Dahab snorkeling places map, to Lighthouse Reef!
Tip: For best light and color, come early morning/late afternoon. Spot can be snorkeled only by calm weather conditions! Currents can be dangerous on windy days, always check weather forecast!
Lighthouse Reef: Situated also in center of Dahab. One of the most popular site if it comes to Dahab snorkeling places due to easy beach access. Shallow wall of fringing reef plate perfect for snorkelers. Wide variety of corals and fish, often turtles can be spotted as well as blue spotted rays.
Islands: situated north of Lighthouse Reef. Can be reached with 30 minutes walk from Dahab center (or take taxi). Entry is marked by sign (The ISALNDS Dive Site, funny 🙂 ) Islands is a coral maze shows Red Sea coral at its best. Three giant pinnacles have grown together forming playground of valleys and lagoons. Huge variety of corals and fish, this site never disappoints snorkelers and divers!
Napoleon Reef: our favorite spot amongst Dahab snorkeling places! This great place can be found on the left side of the Lagoon, easy access from shore. Although you need to swim circa 400 meters to reach the reef itself. Great visibility, amazing marine life. We saw here huge grey stingrays, turtle, eagle ray, eels and almost all type of Red Sea fish. Vibrant, healthy corals, also rare to see soft corals. But be careful with fishing nets in the water, and pay attention to kite surfers! Lagoon nearby is kite surfers’ training spot and they might cross over in this area too.
Gabr el Bint: ranks among the most attractive ones of Dahab snorkeling places. As it can only be reached by camel or boat, less frequently dived, consequently corals are healthy, sea life is rich. Found roughly 20 km south of Dahab. Snorkelers may spend more time in shallow lagoon, which is full of colorful marine life. Many species of reef fish, hard, soft corals are visible. Visits by large pelagic species are more common here.
Golden Blocks, Three Pools, Moray Garden: I’d like to mention this snorkel spots together because they can be found very close to each other on the southern part of Dahab. The hotel by these spots called Happy Life Village, but there are local cafes also available. We have visited these places on a very windy day. We were told that the bay is protected from wind. Yes, the wind was not that strong as on the open reefs, but the waves were big enough to make visibility very bad. Our recommendation is to visit this area when the sea is calm. Regarding the snorkeling experience, I must say the snorkeling here was not so enjoyable. The corals in the shallow water are not so nice, and the amount is fish is also less than on other places. I would recommend to visit Golden Blocks, Three Pools, Moray garden for beginner snorkelers. Novice snorkelers, or those who are more keen about marine life would be disappointed.
Snorkel Around The World summary: we have spent 8 days in Dahab and managed to discover almost all the best Dahab snorkeling places. Weather can be windy at some days, when snorkeling is not recommended due to high waves, strong currents. I would say, best is to spend 12-14 days here. Within two weeks you can discover all the places on comfortable way, and enjoy the city too. Corals are lively, marine life is amazing. City is safe, locals are friendly. Feel free to contact us in case of further questions! Happy snorkeling!
Still feeling confused where to go snorkeling in Egypt? Read our „Where to go guide” which helps you to decide!