I can’t even describe how much fun I’ve had with the expressions on my friends and family’s faces when I told them I’m going on a 2-week trip to Egypt for my birthday, alone.
Our birthdays have become an event that we are supposed to celebrate with family and friends, regardless of whether this is what we want or not. To me, my birthday is a very special event, a day to celebrate myself and life, and to do something that makes me happy. Traveling + scuba diving is definitely a winning combination for me, and if none of my friends could come with me, then so be it.
Traveling solo has proven to open numerous doors of fantastic possibilities and experiences, which travelling with someone doesn’t provide. Being solo on the road is not a venture, it’s an adventure.
Getting To Dahab
The easiest way to get to Dahab is by plane to Sharm el Sheikh airport – just 1 hour drive away. There are direct flights from Europe (with Brussels and Milan having good deals lately) as well as from major cities in Egypt. The local airline Nile Air offers some very reasonable prices from Cairo, although good deals could be found with Egypt Air as well.
Other options are the busses or a Car Pooling. Now, keep in mind that Egypt is huge and driving from one point to the other may easily take over 10 hours. In my case, a night bus from Cairo to Dahab took 13.5 hours (normally it’s supposed to take 10), which definitely wasn’t fun, and I wouldn’t recommend it.
There are countless check-points, we had to show our luggage twice and our passports were checked like 4932637 times. There was definitely not much sleeping and, on top of it all, it was my birthday (but that’s some bad planning on my end).
Still, the busses are much cheaper compared to flights, ranging between 150 and 300le. Preferred companies are GoBus (the one I used with ticket cost 170le) and BlueBus.
For the most adventurous ones, there’s the car share as many people travel frequently between Cairo and Dahab. You can find them on Facebook here.
Where To Stay In Dahab
Dahab is small, but stretched along the coast, so I’d recommend you get a place somewhere in the centre. I booked myself into Alaska Camp & Hotel Dahab – a really cool budget place right in the heart of Dahab. It was recommended to me by H2O Divers Dahab whom I was diving with, and I was super happy with the location, facilities, and especially with the lovely people working there.
The room was basic, but clean and spacious, and provided me with everything I needed – a bed, a fan, a hot shower and a balcony with a nice view. There’s also a really cool chill out area with loads of colourful cushions and hammocks – my weak spot.
The best thing though were the people working there. Jackie, who welcomed me so warmly and was always ready to answer my gazillion questions, Sabry, who took me for a birthday drink, and Ramy, who made me laugh till I cried.
I ended up celebrating my birthday with 4 new friends (with the crazy awesome girls Ruth and Chandra inviting me) and had a pretty great time. In reality the celebration continued for 2 weeks, having started the night before.
Scuba Diving in Dahab
I have just one word to describe the scuba diving in Dahab – phenomenal!
I’m a relatively new diver and I’ve previously dived only in Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Koh Tao in Thailand and the Gili Islands in Indonesia, which I thought were pretty amazing. Now however, compared to Dahab and the Red Sea, they don’t seem so impressive anymore.
I was incredibly lucky to end up (in my opinion) in the best dive centre in Dahab – H2O Divers Dahab. All thanks to Facebook again and the group Egypt Travel for Girls. There I met Alex, who was super kind and helpful, and gave me countless useful tips for my solo trip. Eventually it turned out she also works in the dive shop, which was an obvious sign to me, so I arranged my diving with her right away.
At that time I didn’t even know that the deepest scuba dive world record of 332,35 meters was achieved in this very same dive centre by the Egyptian Ahmed Gabr (I’m such a rookie). There it is in the Guinness World Records.
The truth is that I got so much more than a professional service, great set up and several fantastic dives. I also got a bunch of really great people, who took me in as a member of their awesome tribe the moment I arrived. We shared some amazing days of scuba diving, followed by great evenings of chatting about scuba diving over several beers at Churchill’s Bar.
Those same people are also greatly responsible for my decision to actually move to Dahab, so guys – Thank you!
I started making my first steps in the underwater videography and here’s a short video from my first dive in The Canyon:
Dive Sites In Dahab
There are numerous gorgeous dive sites in Dahab, the most popular being The Blue Hole, The Bell, The Canyon, Eel Garden, Lighthouse Reef and The Islands.
I did The Lighthouse, The Canyon, The Islands, Abu Thala and Rick’s Reef. Each one of them was absolutely fantastic, offering a completely new and beautiful experience. It’s impossible to pick a favourite.
I didn’t dive the Blue Hole this time, although it’s on most divers’ bucket lists, as I wanted to see more of this beautiful coral reef. As I’m going back soon though, I’ll definitely do it and tick it off my list. More detailed posts about the dive sites along with pictures will follow (I’m really liking the idea of underwater photography and videography and hopefully my shots will get better 🙂 ).
Dahab is a very special little place and words are sometimes not enough to describe it. It’s the vibe, it’s this special feeling of being completely relaxed and happy, and free, while being surrounded by likeminded people. Fun loving and life loving people, who share the same passion and love for the sea.
It’s a place which captivates you with it’s raw unpolished beauty, it’s bluest blue skies, it’s incredible mountain, as if photoshopped from The Red Planet, it’s crystal clear waters abundant with over 1000 kinds of marine life, nice weather, great people, amazing food … in one word – everything.
Maybe this cool video will give you a better idea:
To sum it up, people, Dahab is a heaven on earth and probably one of the safest places in Egypt. The scuba diving there is a dream come true and chances are you will too fall in love with it just as much as I did.
Remember when I mentioned solo travel opens doors of fantastic possibilities and experiences? This stands true once again as I found the place I’ll soon be calling home. Alhamdulillah.
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Happy travels and many happy bubbles 🙂