Dahab, Egypt

Dahab is located on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula, about one hours drive from Sharm El Sheikh. Dahab is a stunning location, set against the Sinai Mountains with Saudi Arabia in the background. The windsurfing here is just amazing, with constant thermal winds and some of the flattest water you could ever expect to sail on. Lying on the Red Sea, it is also a very popular spot for divers as it has some of the best coral reefs in the world.

Fact File

Windy Season All year round, but windiest in the summer.
Wet Suit? Summer: shorts Winter: summer suit (3/2mm)
Average Wind Speed 15-30knots
Flight Time (From UK) 5 hours
How To Get There

Fly

You can get to Dahab through a couple of tour operators: http://www.clubvass.com/pages/club-dahab Tel. 01920 484121, www.sportif.travel Tel.01273 844919 andwww.planetwindsurf.co.uk. Tel. 0870 749 1959

Prices per week start at about £425 off-peak and go up to about £685 during peak season including flights, transfer and breakfast or half board. Flights to Dahab go from either Gatwick or Manchester to Sharm El Sheikh and take about 5 hours.

Flights only websites

www.meridianlinetravel.co.uk with charter flights from £300

www.cheapflights.co.uk with charter flights starting from £250

Transfer

The transfer from Sharm El Sheikh takes about one hour. Make sure that when you leave England you have plenty of pound coins as the trolleys at the airport in Egypt cost £2. The local Egyptians will help carry any windsurfing equipment you have to your transfer vehicle, but will expect a tip of a pound or so.

Taking your own kit

If you plan on taking your own windsurfing equipment, Britannia airways charges you £30 per board. Make sure that you weigh your baggage before you get to the airport because they are now really strict about the weight limit. You must ensure that each bag is not so much as 1 kilo over the 32 kilo limit, otherwise they will not take it.

All the windsurfing centres in Dahab have ample storage for private kit, but do pre-book. (See centres details in instruction) Kit storage costs about thirty pounds a week.

How The Wind Works

The wind in Dahab is a thermal wind, and because the climate changes very little throughout the year, it is pretty much windy here every day.

The wind usually starts to blow at about 6am in the morning and will last up to at least 2pm. On a good day it can blow right up to sunset. A good indication that it is going to be very windy the next day, is when it starts to get windy just after sunset on the previous night.

The average wind strength in the summer is a force 5-6, but it can sometimes get up to as much as a force 7-8. The windiest months are July and August, but it is windy here all year round. The wind blows from the N/NW and is off shore to the main beach. However, since the bay is horseshoe shaped, getting back to the beach is never a problem, even for beginners.

Go to http://www.clubvass.com/pages/club-dahab for weekly wind stats.

The Sailing Spots

Lagoon

The protected lagoon is directly in front of Club Dahab and, with its flat water and gentler winds, is ideal for total beginners and the less experienced.

Speed Strip

This huge expanse of flat water with superbly clean winds is ideal for perfecting carve gybes and high wind freestyle manoeuvres without crowding.

Outer Reef

Beyond the outer reef, the truly hardcore will find a perfect wave playground of big rolling swell, ideal for getting the hang of wave-riding and of course plenty of air.

Water State

The water state in Dahab is predominately flat. The Lagoon is fairly flat water but can become choppy as the wind builds. On the other side of the sand spit that borders the Lagoon, you will find a very flat-water location called ”Speedy”. Since it is further away from the land it is much less gusty here. There is a floating pontoon out here, where you can take a rest and tie up your boards. There is also a flag on the pontoon that can be raised if you get into any trouble or spot anyone else in trouble. This will notify one of the many rescue boats that will come to your assistance. All of the centres constantly keep a look out for anybody in difficulty.

Instruction And Kit Hire

There are many centres in Dahab, all of which have very good instructors. Whether you are a complete beginner or want to learn to vulcan or spock, these guys can help you.

  • Club Dahab are based at the Ganet Sinai Hotel. You can book from the UK or you can turn up and book lessons and kit. A 10 hour beginner course costs 140 euros, one hour’s private lesson is 55 euros. One week’s kit hire is 175 euros. One week’s storage of private kit is 45 euros. They can also arrange kitesurfing and lessons http://www.clubvass.com/pages/club-dahab
  • Fun System Center at the Swiss Inn Hotel: one week rental of board and rigs is 185 euros, 2 weeks 299 euros. 6 hours of beginner lessons is 100 euros. Go to www.fun-system.com for more details.
  • Happy Surf Dahab: one week rental of board and rigs is 185 euros, 2 weeks 330 euros. 8 hours beginner lessons are 165 euros, 6 hour advanced lessons are 110 euros. Emailssh.4u@web.de
Accommodation

There is a huge amount of accommodation to choose from in Dahab, all of which welcome windsurfers. They are all furnished to a high, Egyptian quality.

Some examples:

Hilton Dahab Resort: Go towww.hilton.com/worldwideresorts or Tel. +20 69 640310

Coral Coast Hotel: double room with halfboard is 44 euros per night,
www.coralcoasthotel.com

Iberotel Dahabeya: Go towww.iberotel-eg.com or Tel. +20 27 381125

Swiss Inn Hotel:goldenbeach@swissinn.net Tel. +20 69 640054

Khattab Hotel: double room with aircon is 25 US dollars per night
hossin3@hotmail.com

Blue Beach Club: double room, sea facing is 30 US dollars per night
reservations@bluebeachclub.com

Food

Most of the hotels in Dahab offer half board and the food is incredible. At the Hilton, where I stayed, the restaurant follows a specific theme each night. Throughout the week, you have the opportunity to sample food dishes from all around the world. On a Monday night it is particularly worth coming to the Hilton for dinner. This night is called the Streets of Cairo and all the food is cooked outside. There is also traditional Egyptian style music and dancing.

If you wish to eat out, the local town of Masbat is only a five-minute taxi journey away. The Taxis are very cheap but you do have to barter. Pick-ups are cheaper than taxis and you should not expect to pay any more than five Egyptian pounds (fifty pence) per-person each way. In Masbat you are spoilt for choice, as there are restaurants all over the place. Food here is relatively cheap and a large meal, including wine, will cost about ten pounds.

Nightlife

There aren’t any night clubs in Dahab, but the hotels have many bars, all within a short walking distance of each other. In addition, two of the centres actually have their own bars. The Harry Nass Centre has a great bar with views overlooking the bay, as does Club Dahab’s Centre. The town of Masbat has many bars to choose from and if you wish to party through to the early hours, you are in luck! The bars appear to only close as the last person leaves. Taxis will still be operating at this time; however, you will have to pay a little more, perhaps ten Egyptian pounds per person (one pound).

Bored Of Windsurfing

Diving: The conditions in the Red Sea are unrivalled worldwide with exceptional visibility (up to 30m). Dahab is also home to some of the worlds most famous and challenging dives such as the Blue Hole and the Canyon.

There are lots of diving schools associated with the beach hotels. A good English company is Club Dahab Diving. One dive costs 22 euros, a PADI 5 day Open water course costs 180 euros. You can also rent diving and snorkelling equipment. Tel. 0844 463 0191,http://www.clubvass.com/pages/club-dahab-padi-diving

Snorkelling: Aqua Sports Centre do 3 hour snorkelling excursions to the Blue Hole dive site for 7 euros per person. Book out there.

Hot Tips

  • When you get your currency, make sure that you get some small denominations because it’s considered courteous in Egypt to tip. On arrival at your hotel everyone is very keen to help you, but they do expect a tip. At times you are made to feel rather guilty if you only have large denominations and are unable to tip.
  • On your first day it is a good idea to go into Masbat and buy yourself a box of water. This will cost you about two pounds fifty for fifteen bottles, which is considerably cheaper than in the hotels. They usually charge at least ninety pence per bottle! You can also stock up on snacks here so that you don’t have to raid the mini-bar if you need something to nibble on!
  • If you plan to take your own windsurfing kit, it is a good idea to pack some roof rack straps. The guys who do the transfers don’t carry much rope and you may get stuck trying to keep your kit on the roof of the bus.
  • Most of the hotels don’t have tea or coffee making facilities in the room so if you want to make some, it is advisable to bring along a travel kettle and your own tea and coffee.
  • The electric plug sockets in Egypt have two pins, so if you want to use them, you will need to bring along your own adapters. These can be bought at the airport.
  • You will need an Egyptian visa to get into the country and you can either get these through your tour operator or on the plane. These will normally cost twenty pounds if you buy them in the UK, or twelve pounds if you buy them once you arrive at the airport.
Conclusion

I have been going to Dahab for about four years now and thoroughly love it. The windsurfing is just incredible, the food is amazing and the Egyptian people are so friendly. If you have never been to Egypt before and want a holiday that can offer you great windsurfing every day, I recommend that you go to Dahab as soon as you can!

Tourist

Name: Terry Luxton
Local beach in the UK: Exmouth, Devon
How many years sailing: 15 yrs
Last windsurf move you cracked: one handed flaka
What you’re working on now: switch stance everything

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