The Sinai

Dahab Geography – 14 Distinct Areas

Screenshot 2024-04-09 at 16.58.46
Screenshot 2024-04-09 at 16.58.46

Dahab is a charming tourist town, located on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula, 90km north of Sharm El Sheik. This oasis town nestles between the mountains on the west and the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba to the east. On clear days Saudi Arabia can be seen in the east across the gulf. Dahab has at least 14 distinct areas, each with its unique characteristics.

Dahab is split in two by the large open flood plain in the middle that has no building on it. Occasionally flash floods come pouring down from the mountains and flow into the sea under the little wooden bridge between the Lighthouse district on the north side of town and Masbat on the south.

At its simplest, traditional Bedouins, along with Egyptians and Westerners, who appreciate their laid-back culture, tend to live in Assala in the northern end of town, while Egyptian businesses and tourists tend to concentrate more in the south end. 

Assala

Assala is a residential area where most of the local Bedouins live. Many Bedouin keep goats and sheep, so it’s common to see them roaming the streets. A significant number of long-term Egyptians and foreigners live here, due to the quieter nature of the neighbourhood. Assala also has quality shops, a market and the beach within easy reach.

Old Mubarak (Mukarak El Adeem)

Old Mubarak is an estate of identical residential blocks of flats to the north of Dahab.

New Mubarak (Mubarak El Gideed)

New Mubarak is an estate of three-story identical residential blocks to the northeast of Dahab.

Urd El Shabab

Shabab is a new estate of privately owned two-story residential flats to the east side of Dahab backing onto the mountains. 

Eel Garden

Eel Garden is a residential area, very close to the sea, the market in Assala and the more commercial and touristy area of Lighthouse. 

Tanmeya

Tanmeya is a residential area close to Lighthouse and Eel Garden. It has a variety of houses ranging from upmarket to very simple.

Lighthouse

This may be the most popular central area of Dahab. Its restaurants and dive centres are used all year round. It has a lot of beachfront cafes and restaurants with access to the water and the spectacular reef to the north of the bay. Set back from the sea there are many residential properties and short-term lets, in addition to hotels and ‘camps’. The camps are basic accommodation with rooms rather than tents.  

Masbat

Masbat starts south of the wooden pedestrian bridge. It has a variety of beachside restaurants and is the beginning of the Dahab shopping area. The Tourist police station is on the waterfront here.  

Mashruba

Mashruba is one of the most popular areas for Egyptian tourist groups. The main promenade is normally exceptionally quiet yet can become very busy during the Egyptian holiday seasons. There are lots of restaurants and shops selling souvenirs, clothes and shoes. Many camps and hotels are also in this area. Set back a short way from the sea there are residential properties. The area is usually quiet. 

Medina

Medina is the administrative centre for Dahab. The main police station, council building, water company, main phone company and government hospital are all here. Residents are mostly Egyptian, although some foreigners live there, too. 

Urd el Gamma Aaya

Urd el Gamma Aaya has a large number of new villas built on it. However, there are no shops and few distinct landmarks so try not to get lost there.

Dahab Heights

Dahab Heights is a little way out of town on the south of Dahab. The area is entirely residential. Some properties are used as short-term rentals and others have long-term occupants. The area is remote and needs a car or a great relationship with a taxi driver to live here. Many of the villas have great views over Lagoona Bay and Saudi Arabia in the distance.

Canyon

A small number of grander residential properties and villas around an hour’s walk north of Dahab.

Lagoona

The sandy crescent beaches at the south end of Dahab. This is a place where water sports such as kite and windsurfing are concentrated. It is also a place where upmarket hotels with sandy beach frontages are situated. On the west side of the beach, there is a public beach where sun lounges and chairs can be rented at a nominal fee. This is a nice spot to take children as the beach is sandy and coral free. There is also a glass-bottomed boat that gives rides from a pier at the west side of the beach. 

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