What can I say about Dahab without making it seem understated? That its golden mountains at sunset have an ethereal glow, and the Red Sea is the colour of purest sapphire; its resident Bedouins are warm and friendly, pickup trucks double up as taxis, and the vibe is laid back and chilled out. How can I aptly pen down the beauty of a whole new spectacular world that exists under its waters and that the gaping Blue Hole is like a tragic enigmatic siren, which draws most divers to their deaths? Dahab in Southern Sinai in Egypt is truly an enigma.

Sinai is about golden mountains, valleys, oases, and a deep blue sea

Sinai is a land of Biblical history, gargantuan myths, mystical cultural heritage, and astonishing beauty. Add to those beautiful sunsets, warm sunshine, swaying date palms, colourful reefs, and you have the perfect recipe for the “Goa of Egypt“…Nah! I don’t think so. Dahab is uniquely different and it has the incredible ability to be absolutely addictive. It is one of those places that sucks you in and never lets you go. Presenting a sneak peek of our recent trip to Dahab. It was my first time there and I have already planned a second visit to Dahab by the end of August.

Recommended Read: What fun it is to be in Hurghada in Egypt?

These valleys have extraordinary Bedouin gardens in oases near the St. Katherine monastery

Sinai is the land bridge between Africa and Asia

We went to Dahab by road in the month of May, when the Red Sea was still a bit cool and the days were balmy. The sun was warm, without being blazing and St. Katherine was freezing at night. The trip happened on a long weekend when we drove out of Cairo, towards the Suez Canal, going underneath the highly acclaimed underwater tunnel and crossed over to the Sinai Peninsula. Officially we were in Asia, with Africa behind us, and being an emotional fool, it felt good to be on the same continent as India (technically at least). Just being on the famed, controversial Sinai Peninsula was an experience thrilling enough to give goosebumps and to think, that this wedge of land had been the bone of contention from times before Christ.

This ancient triangular land straddles two mega continents.

It is the bone of contention and Biblical myths

The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai as it is commonly called is the only part of Egypt to be located in Asia and it is wedged between the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the Red Sea in the south. A land bridge connecting the two mega continents of Asia and Africa, it has been the playground of legendary evaders and conquerors, including, according to biblical legend, the Jews of Moses’ Exodus escaping Egypt and the ancient Roman, Byzantine and Assyrian Empires. In more recent past, Sinai has been bitterly fought over by Egypt and Israel, until the world leaders had to intervene a solution. The brilliant engineering feat, the Suez Canal connects the two seas through Sinai and it is an astonishingly beautiful region.

It is steeped in Biblical stories. Moses received his ten commandments here.

A war-torn peninsula, Sinai is an unfortunate chapter of human history

In 1981, the New York Times bureau chief in Jerusalem, David Shipler wrote, “Rich in pastel cliffs and canyons, arid valleys and startling green oases, the desert meets the sparkling sea in a long string of secluded beaches and vivid coral reefs that attract a wealth of underwater life,”, while describing Sinai. Today, Sinai still looks the same, except for being torn apart by horrendous conflict. While the northern part (starting from above Taba) is totally shut off due to security reasons, the southern half remains accessible to the public. Foreign tourists visiting southern Sinai are mostly advised to fly there and our employing organization updated us on safety drills before traveling.

Is it safe to visit Sinai? The answer is yes and no and depends on which part of the peninsula, you wish to visit.

My personal experience of traveling to Sinai by road as a foreigner

Strangely, despite all the hullaballoo and the preparations, our road trip to Dahab, through the heart of southern Sinai was extremely peaceful and we did not feel threatened even once. Needless to say, the entire route and the area had a heavy military presence, and checkpoints riddled the drive. In this introductory series on Sinai, especially Dahab, I would like to share detailed information on travel tips, route plan, local experience, FAQs and beautiful photos. Stay tuned for all the necessary travel information in the next post and until then enjoy these gorgeous pictures of Dahab in April. This is truly a place of legendary beauty.

P.S – This blog post is part of the expat series called the Cairo Chronicles. In every post, Maverickbird will try to focus on a new theme, emotion, and beauty of an expat life in the exciting, maddening city of Cairo.