Dahab: camping in the Sinai desert

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - desert safari Dahab EgyptSomehow getting up in the middle of the night to change a dirty diaper by candlelight just doesn’t seem so appealing. So since we became the parents of a beautiful but very active little boy we haven’t been camping around Dahab. Our friends who live here go camping with their little ones all the time, but we haven’t found the energy for it yet. In the past, we always did at least one camping trip every time we were Dahab. There’s something special about sleeping under the stars… This is an article I wrote about one of our last camping trips.

Dive gear? Check! Toothbrush? Check! Sheets and blankets? Check! Toilet paper? Check! Plates and cutlery? Check! Wonder where we’re going? We’re in Dahab, Egypt and we’re going camping! Tonight we will sleep under the stars. Fantastic…

Also check out:
The best places to eat around Dahab
Our favorite dive sites in Dahab
10 reasons to visit Dahab Egypt

Sinai Camping Bedouin style

In Dahab you usually don’t bring a tent when you go camping, you sleep ‘beddo style’. Under the stars, just like the Bedouins. One big difference, Bedouins role themselves in a thick wool blanket (even when it’s 30C outside) and sleep anywhere. We westerners need a little more comfort, so we pull the mattresses off the upstairs sun beds and pack some sheets and blankets. We can’t be bothered to buy summer sleeping bags for such a short trip. Our Bedouin driver manages to get all our stuff in the Jeep and we’re ready to go!

FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com - Dahab desert safari - Bedouin making tea

Four poles and a roof

We’ve been camping around Dahab lots of times, but every time it’s a surprise where we’ll end up. This time we go South, in the direction of Gabr el Bint. Once we get to where we’re going we see a wooden shelter close to the water. It isn’t much, just four poles with a roof. ‘Home’ for the coming two nights. Eating, sleeping, making amazing dives, reading a bit, going for a walk or a swim. Getting through the day is easy and relaxed. In the evening our Bedouin friends cook a lovely dinner for us over an open fire. Fresh flatbread, rice, vegetables and fish caught that afternoon. It’s delicious. It gets dark early in the South Sinai Desert. So by the time our friends start cooking it’s already completely dark. After dinner we drink the spicy and sweet Bedouin tea we love so much. After some more stargazing, it’s bedtime. We’ve already created a sleeping space with the mattresses of the sun beds. It takes a little while to get used to the open space, but we sleep very well.

Sunrise in the desert

The Bedouins just role themselves in their blanket and lie on the beach or next to the Jeep. We’re on our thin mattresses in the area between the four poles, under the roof. Somehow it feels weird to just randomly lie down and go to sleep. Maybe it’s imaginary, but the roof seems to offer some protection. In the night you really don’t need it, but in the morning when the sun rises you understand why those little wooden structures exist. It gets dark really early, which means the day starts early too. We sleep through the sunrise but wake because of the heat. We find a way to hang the sheets we brought between the poles so we can create some shade. It’s too hot for us to be out in the sun, lounging in the shade is the better option. Or being in the water of course…

Dahab diving safari

Not only have we brought some basic camping gear, we also have our dive gear and tanks! So as soon as we wake up, it’s time to hit the water. I love early morning dives! We’re not at an official dive site and the reef here is still in great condition. No other divers around, just peace and quiet. We are careful not to disturb anything and keep the reef as pristine as before we entered. Only take memories and only leave bubbles…

Observing Bedouin lifestyle

During the day numerous bedouins pass by to have a chat with ‘our’ bedouins. Fresh fish and other foods are exchanged, they share a cup of incredibly sweet tea and then they go on their way. It’s fun to observe what they do all day. From what we can see it isn’t much. They make food, drink tea, go fishing, chat, pray and take naps. All very relaxed. For a little while we also get to enjoy this relaxed lifestyle. A great way to escape the rat race and be close to nature. We can see why many Bedouins prefer the desert over city life, even if life is Dahab is at a much slower pace than back home.

Back to Dahab

Unfortunately after two days we have to return to civilization. The only good part about it is that we will have a toilet again. For me, as a woman, it’s always slightly more uncomfortable than for the gentlemen in our group. But I don’t mind giving up my toilet if it means we get to enjoy nature that way. The stars are amazing at night in the desert…

I think next time we’ll take out little boy. I think he would also enjoy the desert very much.

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