We slide weightlessly over the shallow reef. The sun's rays dance down from the surface of the water, like the light of a diskola. On a hard coral sits a big octopus and peers at us. Slowly his huge pupil follows the movements of our fins. It is his garden through which we dive here. An extraordinarily beautiful garden. Over a wide field colorfully colored coral blocks extend, in between sandpatches. Every station has something new to discover. A blue spotted stingrays digging for food in the sand. He does not seem to notice us at first. A hedgehog fish hides under the umbrella of a fan coral. He saw us for a long time before we noticed him. And as we approach the perfect anemone with its orange-colored tentacles, the two clown fish that inhabit them become very excited and try to keep the uninvited guests away from their homes with hectic swimming moves. When another flock of Yellowtail Barracuda passes, the dive is perfect. We appear and look forward to the freshly squeezed lime juice.
"Welcome to Dahab Habibi," says Ahmed as he serves it. When Egyptians like you, you quickly become sweet. What one recognizes is the warmth of the country's population. And this warmth can be found throughout the country. But one thing can not be found all over the country, and that's the vibe of Dahab. Dahab is unique. Dahab is different. In Dahab you do not sit in the desert hotel complex, in Dahab you walk out the door and stroll through an oriental city with a bazaar, cafes, restaurants, beach bars and even real bars. It feels like you have landed in an enclave. In a country in the country. A country in the country in the desert. For a visitor entering Egyptian soil for the first time, this may not be anything out of the ordinary. After all, he knows that from home, that one goes out in the evening in the bar or in the restaurant. But once you have made holidays on the Red Sea in Marsa Alam or Hurghada, you know, the hotel life in the desert is isolated and holds little freedom. Not so in Dahab. Here you move freely and unabashedly. There are even bike and motorbike rentals, not very common, because normally you would not know where to go in the desert. This freedom Egyptians like Europeans appreciate and come here to vacation.
The former Bedouin village near the lagoon has grown into a pretty tourist nest. But not artificial. Not plastic. Shopping malls, water parks or McDonald's are in vain in Dahab. You do not want to be a second Hollywood in the desert, as you find it in Sharm el Sheik and Hurghada. Tradition has never left here. It lives in harmonious coexistence with the welcome visitors. A mosque next to a hipster cafe. A goat herder next to the beach promenade. And an oasis in the desert, next to a quad bike rental. Only possible in Dahab. In Dahab, life is so relaxed, it's hard to believe that things still work. But they do. The taxi drivers are on time. There are no traffic jams. And the diving operation runs smoothly and smoothly. Especially at the German-speaking dive center Aquanautic Dahab . Because owner Hans not only has years of experience working with the city dwellers, he also attaches great importance to quality standards. Its base has been around for 13 years, but recently it is part of the successful Aquanautic franchise . Punctuality, safety and customer-oriented service have always been a priority at Aquanautic on the Italian island of Elba. As with Hans. Now with both under common label. And there is something the scuba instructor instructor attaches great importance to. Environmental friendliness and a healthy understanding of the environment. Therefore, he founded the NGO EECAA under his umbrella, which is committed to a clean Dahab and a more environmentally sound diving. And that's why the Dive Center also has a marine biological research station where university groups and researchers can research and exchange ideas. On the doorstep lies nothing less than the red sea, which is unparalleled with its hard and soft coral gardens. "The reefs of Dahab are healthy and intact in many places, but especially in crowded places like the Blue Hole or Bells we have to be careful that they do not suffer too much from the tourists," says Instructor Simone. She is involved with the NGO and wants to set up an environmental label to decorate the sustainable diving schools that adhere to the standards. Also, beach and reef clean-ups are regularly organized, where many dive guides from all over Dahab get together to free the reefs from the garbage. Because here in Dahab you hold together. It's like a community in which one knows each other, pulls together.
Best known is the small desert town, however, for the Blue Hole. The huge blue hole in the reef roof drops straight out to a depth of 92 meters. At a depth of 55 meters begins the so-called Arch, an archway that leads out into the open sea. The hole attracts both apnea and scuba divers alike. They all want to see the archway through which the open sea shimmers mystical blue. But the remaining dive sites Dahabs are exciting. Here you can expect a colorful coral paradise. And the other places are not that crowded. Often you even have them all to yourself. An absolute highlight is probably the dive site Ras Abu Galum There is no road leading into the protected area. Here it goes with the camel. The diving equipment carries the gigantic desert horses without grumbling, who wants to even ride himself. But be careful: "Hold on tight, otherwise you'll slip off the saddle quickly," laughs Simone. When the big animal stretches out his knees when he gets up, it feels like riding a rodeo.
If you are lucky, dolphins or a turtle will join the divers. But even without them, the colors and shapes of the hard corals make the dives a very special picture book experience. And the fish life is numerous among all the colorful coral: clown fish, lionfish, scorpion fish, stone fish, barracudas, hedgehog fish, puffer fish, bream, moray eels, grouper, reef perch - all not uncommon on the reefs of Dahab. And even the tiny mackerel life pleases the accomplished diver. There are nudibranchs, crabs, sand eels, tube worms, seahorses and all kinds of other small animals to discover. You only need a good eye and patience while searching.
With a total of 35 different dive sites is also provided enough variety.
At the end of our trip, we treat ourselves to a desert dinner. With the Bedouins we go to a remote desert valley in the mountains. While the campfire is crackling, traditional Bedouin tea and traditionally prepared chicken with rice, chickpeas and vegetables are served. The home-baked Bedouin bread and the meal is perfect. Under the sparkling starry sky, we dream about a journey through time in 1001 Nights while the eyes of the desert fox are already peeking out from behind the rocks, waiting for the remains of the feast.