My love of freediving began when I completed a beginner course in Eilat. Since then, I’ve been lucky to freedive all over the world. And in between, I practice regularly at a flooded quarry near where I live in the UK (if you want to see what that looks like, check out this short video my husband made). But for a long time, there has been one destination I really wanted to get to……I was desperate to go freediving in Dahab!
Dahab has always been viewed as one of the best places in the world to freedive. Its popularity has only increased since the Netflix documentary The Deepest Breath was released. I’m actually not a big fan of the film and think it gives a one-dimensional and dangerous image of freediving.
My experience in Dahab couldn’t have been more different! Dahab is a brilliant place that gets under your skin, and it really is the mecca for freedivers. It’s super easy to get to – with most arriving at Sharm el Sheik airport and taking the 1-hour taxi ride from there (any hotel you stay with will be able to organise your transfer).
In this Freediving in Dahab guide, I wanted to share everything I learned from my time in the area. From the best freediving schools along with top tips to make the most of your stay.
What is Dahab like, and did it live up to my freediving expectations?
Dahab is a picturesque town on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Although it’s popular with tourists (mostly divers and freedivers), it has maintained some of its original Bedouin village charm. The town is surrounded by epic nature, the locals are friendly, and there’s a ton of delicious Egyptian cuisine to discover.
The freediving in the area did not disappoint! Dahab is obviously most known for the infamous Blue Hole. A sinkhole 130 meters deep that offers a challenging and awe-inspiring dive. I say infamous because the Blue Hole has been responsible for taking dozens of lives!
But there is so much more to see in the area as a freediver. There are some thriving coral reefs in the region and a good variety of marine life to spot. From turtles, rays, dolphins, sharks and octopuses.
What are the main freediving sites in Dahab?
1. The Blue Hole: The most famous freediving site in Dahab. A submarine sinkhole is around 130 meters deep. The arch, a tunnel at a depth of 56 meters that leads to the open sea, is a well-known feature of this site but also incredibly dangerous to attempt to cross.
2. The Canyon: Another spectacular site is The Canyon. It’s a deep, narrow crack in the sea floor that descends to about 54 meters. Freedivers can explore the canyon’s narrow passageways and enjoy the stunning light effects created by the sun filtering through the water.
3. Lighthouse Reef: Located in the heart of Dahab, Lighthouse Reef is an ideal spot for beginners and those looking to practice skills in shallower waters. The site gradually slopes from the shore, offering easy access and a range of depths to suit various skill levels and plenty of marine life to keep you occupied.
4. Eel Garden: Named after the colony of garden eels found here, Eel Garden is another accessible site from the shore. It’s known for its sandy bottom and the eel colony, which creates a unique underwater landscape. The site is suitable for freedivers of all levels.
5. The Bells: This is an exciting dive site north of the Blue Hole. It features a narrow chimney dropping vertically from the reef top to around 26 meters, opening out onto a beautiful wall reef. The site is known for its stunning coral formations and abundant marine life.
6. Ras Abu Galum: This is a more remote site, accessible via camel or boat. It’s part of a protected area and offers pristine reefs and a plethora of marine life. The freediving here is exceptional, with clear waters and a wealth of marine life.
Which is the best freediving school in Dahab?
Training centres and schools in Dahab cater to all levels, from novices seeking to learn the basics of breath-holding and equalisation to advanced divers aiming to push their limits in-depth and time. There are now a lot of competing schools (with more being opened all the time).
If you are looking for the best, there really are two schools in the region that stand out. Both offer a high-level of instructing, good safety standards and quality gear hire:
#1 Freedive Dahab
I choose to do my lessons with Freedive Dahab. They’ve been established since 2003 and boast being the first freediving school in the area. They cater to all levels and offer a mix of one-off dives, courses and training programs. As well as events and competitions.
I found their communication was great, the equipment I hired was all in good condition and my overall experience and what I learnt from my training was top-class. I really can’t find fault with Freedive Dahab which is why they get my full recommendation.
# 2 Dahab Freedivers
Dahab Freedivers, sat within the Red Sea Relax Hotel, offers a prime location seconds away from the beach. This Freediving Center boasts immediate access to both deep waters suitable for shore-based activities and a dedicated training area at the popular Lighthouse dive site in Dahab. The centre serves as a melting pot for freedivers of all levels – from beginners to advanced professionals – and fosters a community of friends.
The centre is professional and well-run, and the excellent reviews on TripAdvisor mirror this!
Where to stay when freediving in Dahab?
My top recommendation: Dahab Paradise (from $80pn)
Dahab Paradise is my favourite place to stay in Dahab. It’s on the outskirts of town so nice and quiet, with a relaxing pool. The rooms are comfortable, and the breakfast is delicious.
On a tight budget: Dolphin Camp and Diving (from $35pn)
If you are on a tight budget, Dolphin Camp and Diving is the best choice in Dahab. A Bedouin-style camp offering basic facilities but clean rooms and a friendly service.
Freediving with Dahab Freedivers: Red Sea Relax Resort (from $90pn)
If you plan to do your lessons with Dahab Freedivers, then the most comfortable option is to stay at Red Sea Relax Resort, where they’re based. It’s a really lovely and comfortable hotel with a great pool and just a stone’s throw from the beach.
Top things to do in Dahab when you aren’t freediving:
One of the things that I loved most about my stay in Dahab was all the extra activities on offer. I got into a nice routine of freediving in the morning then spending my afternoons exploring. Here are some of the top things to do that you won’t want to miss:
…Experience a taste of Bedouin Life – I joined a tour with Bedouin Way where we headed into the desert and learnt all about Bedouin traditions, which included a traditional meal.
…Desert safari to the Coloured Canyon – You can’t stay in Dahab and not spend some time exploring the Sinai desert. King Safari Dahab offer brilliant tours on 4x4s.
…Practice yoga – Alongside freediving, I did regular yoga lessons at Coral Coast. The perfect combination!
…Try your hand at a new sport – Dahab is also a great spot for kitesurfing and windsurfing due to the windy conditions. There are lots of schools offering beginner lessons and kit hire.
…Enjoy a feast – Make sure you eat at Zanooba Slow Cooking at least once during your stay. Dahabs best restaurant.
…See the Pyramids or Giza – it’s a long journey from but so worth making a day trip from Dahab to visit one of Egypt’s most famous sites.
Final top tips for your Dahab freediving trip:
- Don’t forget your visa! Most nationalities will need a visa to enter Egypt. Be sure to check your local consulate’s website in advance of travelling so you know what you need.
- Make sure the course and instructor you book align with your values. Some of the instructors I had were much more competitive and all about pushing yourself to your limit. This suits some, but not me. I freedive to stretch myself, for well-being, and to connect to the ocean, so I wish I’d spent a bit more time in advance finding the right instructor for me.
- I can recommend this handy travel guide for planning your trip or working out travel in Egypt further afield.
- If you are a keen diver as well as a freediver, then make sure you don’t miss doing a night diver while in Dahab. The corals and bioluminescence were amazing under moonlight!
- Always speak up if you are worried about safety, and never push yourself to your absolute limit. Too many freedivers have lost their lives in Dahab because they went too far….don’t be another statistic!
I give all my advice for free on my website. If you want to say thanks, you can buy me a coffee!
good luck with your Dahab visit 🙂 Leave a comment below with your questions, or I’d love to hear how you get on in Egypt!