I am interested in diving and want to know where I can have a beach and diving holiday at the same time, but still enjoy picturesque scenery and a relaxing atmosphere. Any ideas?
I enjoyed your round-up of the best watering holes (Top ten wild swimming spots, June 6) but I am interested in diving and want to know where I can have a beach and diving holiday at the same time, but still enjoy picturesque scenery and a relaxing atmosphere. Any ideas? At this time of year, one of the best places to dive is the Red Sea. You can fly from Dubai to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt with Jazeera Airways (www.jazeeraairways.com) and Egypt Air (www.egyptair.com), but for peace and quiet, it's worth leaving the crowds behind and taking the 90-minute bus or taxi journey north along the coast to Dahab, a relaxed, low-key town on the Sinai Peninsula. Here there are more than 40 diving clubs catering for all levels of diving.
For detailed descriptions of more than 70 dive sites in the Red Sea, visit the website of the Red Sea Virtual Dive Center (www.redseavdc.com). In Dahab, you can rent snorkelling gear (or use your own) at the beaches directly off the town, or use dive centres to take you to nearby sites by minibus. Dive centres can also organise bigger trips to the nearby Nabq and Ras Abu Gallum protectorates and to Ras Mohammed National Park near Sharm el Sheikh, either as day trips or as part of a liveaboard "dive safari" of up to two weeks. Dive centres in Dahab include Sunsplash (www.sunsplash-divers.com) and the Fantasea Dive Centre (www.fantaseadiving.net). Most dive centres can also offer PADI-certified diving courses and refresher courses.
Dahab is popular with independent travellers and there are many budget hotels as well as a few larger resorts just outside the town. The Sunsplash dive centre has a number of bungalows close to the beach from $130 (Dh480) per week half-board. At the other end of the scale, the Hilton Dahab Resort (www.hilton.com) offers doubles in two-storey villas with access to its private beach from $115 (Dh420) per night.