When my husband suggested a holiday in Dahab, my first question to him was – wait a minute is Dahab family-friendly? To me, Dahab has always had somewhat of a hippie vibe. Most Egyptians I know who visit it regularly are young and child-free! However, in the last few years, a lot of foreigners have moved to Dahab with their families. And that could be one of the reasons why it has become more kid-friendly recently. So here is our experience of a family holiday in Dahab, South Sinai.
How to get there
We drove from Cairo to Dahab and the trip took around 7 hours. If you take a bus it takes even longer – up to 10 hours! The nearest airport is Sharm El Sheikh international airport, so if you are flying in from abroad that could be a good option. You then need an hour by car or bus to reach the city of Dahab.
So when to visit Dahab? Well since it is located in Sinai, the weather in Dahab gets very hot during the summer. So my advice is to avoid the months of July and August. Even during winter, it is still warm enough to swim. We went in June, so temperatures were as high as 38 degrees during the day.
The best hotels in Dahab are quite family-friendly with swimming pools, playgrounds and the other amenities you would expect. Some offer all-inclusive packages which I find quite convenient if you are travelling with younger kids. We stayed at the Tropitel Dahab Oasis Hotel and since we had a car, we were able to move around as needed.
You can also stay in a hostel or rent an apartment close to downtown Dahab if you want something more affordable. But the catch is that you might have to use the public beaches. Personally, I did not find the public beaches appropriate for my preteen daughter with all the youth down there drinking and smoking. So, this is something you have to consider when you choose where to stay.
Things to do in Dahab
Snorkelling at Ras Abu Gallum
We arranged this excursion with our hotel but you can also check with other local guides. We took a van to a nearby beach and then a speedboat for another half an hour. There were around 15 people on the boat. On our way over, the waves were quite choppy and since we were going against them, it was a bumpy ride. The ride back was much more enjoyable since the sea was calmer then.
So, if you have any health conditions or young children, you might want to skip this. Also, make sure you ask the guide for lifejackets, because they are not part of the fee but are actually rented at an extra charge. By the time we arrived at Ras Abu Gallum, we were all soaking wet and I felt so smart for wrapping our mobile phones in plastic bags! You can rent snorkelling gear from a diving centre at Ras Abu Gallum and there is also a supermarket and shower facilities.
Kitesurfing at Blue Lagoon
Afterwards, we took another 15-minute van ride to Blue Lagoon which is a breath-taking sandy beach. There are several camps there and you can spend the day or stay overnight. Make sure you pack some food and drinks with you. We got some snacks from the supermarket and the cafe there served us some complimentary Bedouin tea with local herbs.
We bought local Bedouin handicrafts like bags, bracelets, necklaces and keychains. But what is special about this lagoon is kitesurfing – an activity I am sure teenagers travelling with you would find exciting! There are also a couple of centres which give lessons and rent out windsurfing and kitesurfing equipment much like snorkelling and diving centres do.
Diving at the Blue Hole
If you have experienced divers with you, then you must visit the famous dive site called Blue Hole on your way to or from Ras Abu Gallum. It is a massive submarine sinkhole with a recorded depth of over 100 metres.
Cycling in downtown Dahab
Wherever you choose to stay, you must visit downtown Dahab. You can grab a quick bite at the many restaurants, bakeries and cafes. The walkway is pedestrian only, so you can have a casual stroll or rent bicycles together as a family. That is where you can find shops selling Bedouin-inspired spices, handicrafts and clothes if you want souvenirs, or if you run out of any essentials.
Don’t be alarmed if you see a lot of dogs off lead here. Dahab is a very dog-friendly town and many local residents and tourists take their dogs with them to the beaches and cafes, especially downtown. There are some stray dogs too, but they are well looked after by the shop owners and quite sociable with visitors.
Other activities to do during your family holiday in Dahab
You can go on safaris in the desert on camels or quad bikes. There are also other excursions such as submarines or glass boats. You can also attend a Bedouin night and have a traditional supper and tea on charcoal.
What to pack for your family holiday in Dahab
If you are staying at a hotel then you would need:
- Aqua shoes
- After-sun lotion
- Snorkelling gear (optional)
- Insect repellent (especially during the summer)
If you stay at a hostel or apartment, in addition to the above you would also need:
- Blankets (in winter)
Lastly, if you stay at a camp or lodge you should pack:
- Toilet roll
- Tissue paper
- Wet wipes
- Sleeping bags (optional)
Can’t get enough of South Sinai?
So is Dahab worth visiting? We think so! Perhaps your next trip could be to the ever-popular destination Sharm El Sheikh. Or if you want another desert holiday then check out Nuweiba.