Translations available

Dahab Days

Dahab Days: Climbing the Rock Playgrounds in Egypt’s South Sinai.

Driving through the heady granite valleys––wadis, as they are called in Arabic––the terra-cotta coloured walls practically seem luminescent. We stare, astounded at the scale of Wadi Qnai’s beauty. If anything was going to freshen us up from a year, challenging both physically and emotionally, this would be it. Some classic rough-around-the-edges adventures in Dahab, on Egypt’s south Sinai peninsula would set us straight.

Upon setting foot in Dahab––which translates to ‘gold’ in Arabic––I was taken aback by its laissez-faire aura. This is not the conservative, rigid Egypt that comes to mind. (I had asked my Egyptian housemate, also a journalist, to describe her country in four words: chaotic, charming, rambunctious, and toxic, she shot back at me). Hordes of Caucasians in all degrees of beachwear dress and undress were abound; vegan options crowded the street food scene.

But dig just a bit beyond Dahab’s touristy surface, and you’ll find that the region’s Bedouin pulse remains strong. A culture strong enough to endure everything so far, from seemingly perpetual internecine conflict to frictions between modernity and the West and ancient traditions and beliefs.

Get free access to
all stories.

Enter your email address,
and get an instant sign-in link.

Already have an account? Sign in

Essential cookies only.

We only use cookies that are necessary for signing in and hiding this notification. Nothing more. We do not track you using cookies.