The LighthouseIf you keep walking north from the bridge in the centre of Assalah, you’ll come to a headland where children, snorkellers, divers and sun seekers all seem to share a small section of beach.
Despite the absence of an actual lighthouse, this is the snorkelling spot known as ‘the lighthouse’. It’s also the most popular spot in town. Aside from the attractive reef and the bream, parrotfish, lionfish and groupers that feed from it, it’s also the place with the easiest access into the water and the closest proximity to the majority of Dahab’s dive centres.
Eel GardensA ten minute stroll further north from the lighthouse is the site known as Eel Gardens.
Even if you have no interest in getting wet, this part of Masbat is a welcome break from the occasional hassle of the main strip. With fewer restaurants there are fewer PR men offering to show you the menu. And with less competition it seems the inclination to ‘hard sell’ the establishment is also greatly reduced.
‘Eel gardens’ takes its name from the population of Garden Eels (Gorgasia Sillineri) that inhabit the sandy floor. Not sure where they are, look down! A variety fish also feeds off the coral here. Mind the sea urchins as you swim precariously over a shallow coral bed to access the site. Best avoided on a windy morning, or by less confident swimmers.
Snorkelling near Dahab
The Blue HoleAbout 12km north of Dahab is the Blue Hole, a sheer, 100m vertical drop in the coral wall. An advanced site for scuba divers, the Blue Hole is a suitable for snorkellers of all abilities and hosts some of the regions most colourful underwater life.
The scuba divers and free divers that operate here are as interesting to watch as any of the fish, as they descend and then appear from the eerie depths. Being one of the most well known sites in Sinai, the Blue hole is frequently crowded and so unsuitable for a quiet escape. Food, drinks, souvenirs etc are available from anyone of the plethora of restaurants and shops that adorn the beach. The blue hole has claimed the lives of a number of divers in recent years. Take the time visit their memorial plaques at the northern end of the beach.
Ras Abu GalumMany choose to visit this site in conjunction with the Blue Hole. The site can be accessed by following the path from the northern end beach a further 8km. If this sounds like too much of a trek, most safari tour operators will organise a camel for you to make this journey on.
The beach itself is far quieter than the Blue Hole, and located near by the Bedouin village of El-omeyld. Alternatively you can reach the site by car by following the road that starts 20km before Nuweiba.
Three PoolsLocated about 10km south of Dahab, the three pools consist of three coral towers which attract much sea life. The shallowness of the reef makes this site popular with beginners or those lacking confidence in their aquatic abilities. Nearby restaurants and café provide much needed food, fluids and shelter.
How to Organise Your Snorkelling Trip?There is no shortage of dive centres, tour operators, and hotels which all organise decent, reasonably priced day trips to the above sites.
If you prefer to control your own destiny in such matters, you can organise almost any of these independently. Taxi drivers loiter by the bridge half way down the parade.
Some accomplished bartering will get you a good price for the transport. Then all you need is a mask, snorkel and fins. These are readily available from a number of outlets in town from as low as 5LE per day.
Read about common excursions from Dahab