Dahab 7 Waves Festival 2015

Another month and another fantastic event in Dahab – last week Dahab 7 Waves Festival was the talk of the town.  Seven days of events, each day showcasing elements of Dahab falling into seven categories; Water, Wellness, Sports, Kids, Sound, Environment and Sand.  The Dahab 7 Waves Festival team put on amazing show with a huge variety of events aimed at uniting the community during a period of low tourism.  These events have been sponsored by local businesses, and as always many individuals have donated their time and resources to the event.

Day 1 – Waves 1; Water, Sound and Sand

On day 1 of the festival there was the opportunity for tourists and locals to participate in free activities such as wake boarding or banana boating.  A highlight for my mother and friend, who have been in Dahab enjoying some winter sunshine, was without a doubt the glass bottom boat ride.  You can find more information about Dahab’s Glass Bottom boat excursions on the watersports section of our website – A family friendly activity that enables even those that wish to stay dry, a chance to experience the wonders of the Red Sea Coral Reef.

The fun on day one didn’t end there, in the afternoon at the Lagoona, local Bedouin participated in a camel race.  A few years ago, at a previous Dahab Festival, we were lucky enough to watch a similar race.  It is only when you are a few metres away from the camels that you realise just how large they are, and in comparison how small the young men who are riding them appear.  Experienced spectators disappear off into the distance to get a good viewing position, whilst novices like ourselves, stand near the start and watch these amazing animals disappear in a cloud of dust.  Racing camels can reach speeds of 65km/hour in short sprints and maintain 40km/hour for an hour.

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The first evening of the festival and the first of the live music events.  The crowd was not left disappointed as Ahmed Moktar, the incredibly talented Egyptian violinist took to the stage and wowed the audience.  Ahmed was in Dahab to film scenes for his latest music video.  Second on the bill was Alam el Maraganat Shabee band, described as a funky mixture of modern ‘Shabee’ music from a group of cool Cairiennes.

Below is a video of Ahmed Moktar performing in Dahab filmed by Stephen De Bond, a talented British photographer currently living and working in Dahab.

Day 2 – Waves 2; Wellness, Kids and Sound

The second day of the festival was dominated by a fabulous selection of wellness activities and workshops.  A wellness market in the centre of town showcased local handmade produce including toys, recycled arts and crafts and crystal healing jewellery from the wonderful Iris at Radient Rainbow.

The day continued with a large selection of taster treatments and classes for everyone to have a go and try something new.  The diversity of the massage professionals in Dahab was demonstrated in full force with Ayurvedic facial massage, hand massage, shiatsu and foot reflexology all on offer to try.  Those that are a little more spiritually inclined could also experience taster Reiki and Kinesiology sessions.

If being pampered wasn’t quite up your street then there were numerous classes to get you moving; such a salsa dancing, oriental dancing, meditative yoga or laughter yoga. Finishing of the classes and giving everyone a chance to relax and wind down at the end of the afternoon were classes in meditation and drumming meditation.

Only two days in and five more fantastic days to report on….. watch this space!

Slow news, no news….

Apologies for the lack of new posts recently, I have several exciting things up my sleeve as there has been a whole host of amazing things happening in Dahab recently. The drought of news coming from me has nothing to do with lack of postworthy events in Dahab.  Simply because my family has just embarked on what is often described as one of the most stressful times in your life; we have just moved house. After two years being back living in the UK we have bought our first home and have managed to move ourselves, two small children and far too many boxes out of storage and into our new place. Before you think I am going off on a tangent, the reason for this post is not only to apologise for the dry spell in news on this page, but also to show you our little bits of Egypt which have been given pride of place in finding a new home. We have removed the seventies carpets, stripped off more artex and cushioned wallpaper than we thought possible, and our new home is starting to take shape with a little help from our Dahab treasures.

Our beautiful engraved Islamic lamp shade is now in pride of place in the dining room.  These lamps are found in many of the bazaars in Dahab and and are a fraction of the cost of similar ones sold in John Lewis!  The hand embroidered appliqué cushion cover is an example of a very traditional style, this was purchased at the Dahab Community Market from a seller who had brought his wares down from Cairo.  The Islamic tiles, I must admit are Moroccan, these traditional cement tiles are a passion of ours and very similar to the ones we used throughout Residence Arabesque (Oh I can see another post coming on….) This bright dash of colour makes the perfect hearth for a fireplace in the middle of a cold winter. The final photo is of a trio of beautiful hand beaten copper mirrors that I bought in my favourite Bazaar in Dahab many years ago and have finally been able to put up on the wall.  Residence Arabesque will always be our Egyptian home, but finally and thankfully we also now have an English home too.

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Young Egyptian artist produces Pink Floyds new album cover


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With much anticipation, musical legends Pink Floyd will release their first album in 20 years.  Endless River is due to be released on 15 November 2014.  The honour of creating the new artwork for this album has been bestowed on a young unknown Egyptian digital artist called Ahmed Emad Eldin.

Eldin is only 18 years old.  He was born in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, but was brought up in Cairo.  Since he was 13 years old he has been experimenting with digital art, but his work was relatively unknown.  Eldin was discovered by Aubrey Po, Pink Floyds artistic director and former colleague of Eldin’s predecessor, the enigmatic Storm Thorgerson.

Storm Thorgerson is the iconic graphic artist, who has up until now, produced all of Pink Floyds album covers (with the exception of their first album Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in 1967).  His famous pyramids from Dark Side of the Moon are recognisable all around the world.  In 2013 Thorgerson passed away which left many Pink Floyd fans questioning if anyone could ever fill his shoes.

Aubrey Po was today interviewed on BBC 6 Music Breakfast Show.  He described the new artwork as a surreal image of a lone rower punting himself across a layer of clouds.  “At first glance  you think he is in a rough sea, but it’s not, he is above above the earth, he is in the clouds and he is heading out towards a sunset”.  Po continues to say that it is a very provocative image, that you should read into it what you will and that it sums up the music of Pink Floyd well on this album.  He finishes by saying that “the essence of river, of boats, and sailing of into the sunset sum up completely this album”.

Eldins piece is beautiful and peaceful.  It creates an air of mystery, someone paddling into the unknown.  No doubt it was very carefully selected for the new album which incidentally, was recorded on a house boat on the Thames.  Pink Floyd artwork has always had an air of mystery.  The album covers have always been part of the package, and this is no exception.

Eldin is going to see his image being used on massive billboards across the world, from Paris to Sydney.  In Manhattan, New York it will take over the whole side of a building and in Southbank, London a large cube is being erected alongside the album cover. 

Today as Ahmed Emad Elgin was catapulted onto the world stage, he becomes another young Egyptian to watch.

New world record – Ahmed Gabr deepest scuba diver in the world!

For anyone that has missed my numerous updates and posts via Facebook in recent days; we have a new world record for the deepest open circuit scuba dive.

On Friday 19 September 2014 Ahmed Gabr broke the previous record  of 318.25 metres set by Nunu Gomes in Dahab in 2005.  Ahmed Gabr has brought the record home diving to an amazing 332.35 metres, the dive took 13 hours and 50 minutes and Ahmed breathed 92 tanks of various mixed gasses during this epic achievement.  Starting at 10.30am on Thursday and completing his dive at 12.30am on Friday 19 September.  Ahmed and his support divers were joined in the shallow waters by a baby reef shark who stayed with the divers for six hours during the gruelling decompression schedule.

Ahmed thanked his amazing team of medics and support divers who helped him in realising his dream and becoming the new Guinness world record holder.  Ahmed has also expressed gratitude to all his fans for their continued support and thanked his critics for giving him the determination to succeed.  Ahmed and his support team were greeted at the jetty in the early hours of the morning by fireworks and well wishers who had gathered to welcome the returning hero.  Ahmed surprised everyone by walking unaided immediately after surfacing, despite the gruelling dive he was able to celebrate with his young son who he embraced as soon as stepping foot on dry land.

There are some excellent articles appearing in local and international press and no doubt in coming days we will get to see and hear more from the whole #worldrecord350 team.


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#worldrecord350 A big day for Dahab

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September 18th 2014 is a big day for Dahab and the competitive world of scuba diving. Ahmed Gabr, an Egyptian ex-army officer will attempt to not only break the current Guinness World Record for open circuit scuba diving – he intends to smash it.

Ahmed has been training hard at H2O divers in Dahab and along with an excellent support team of many friends and long term Dahabians, Ahmed intends to safely reach and ascent from a depth of 350 metres. We wish Ahmed and all the guys at Team #worldrecord350 the very best of luck in this amazing record attempt.

Nunu Gomes from South Africa holds the current world record for the deepest dive in the world, this dive of 318.25m was also made in Dahab in June 2005. Dahab and in particular the Blue Hole provides some of the world’s best deep diving conditions, crystal clear warm water with depths easily reached only a few metres from shore. Pascale Bernabéa a French scuba diver claims to have dived to 330m off the coast of Corsica on 5 July 2005. This deep dive would have broken the current record held by Nunu Gomes however it was not verified by the Guinness world record team due to insufficient evidence.

Scuba diving to such depths requires not only strength, determination and courage it requires a precision of scientific planning that must be second to none. On deep dives every metre of depth and every second of time is vital in the planning and execution of the dive. Using different blends of trimix, which is a mixture of oxygen, helium and nitrogen the deep diver is able to breathe the optimum gas mix at each depth. The novice scuba diver will have learned that at around 30m underwater the nitrogen in the air we breathe in a normal tank of compressed air can cause nitrogen narcosis.  Nitrogen narcosis impairs your judgement in the same way that alcohol and other drugs can. Divers suffering from nitrogen narcosis can act foolishly in the water and are  unable to concentrate on simple tasks. Oxygen under pressure also has hugely negative effects on the human body. Oxygen toxicity, if it occurs is fatal; it causes the diver to convulse uncontrollably and drowning will follow. Breathing normal compressed air with 21% oxygen, the risk of oxygen toxicity can occur at 66 metres which is outside of the realms of recreational scuba diving; however as dive instructors it is one of the most important things we teach even our most inexperienced students. So the effect of gases under pressure play the most important role in dive planning, it is why you simply can’t jump in the water and descend to any depth you wish and it is why planning a dive to 350m has taken months and months of meticulous planning and practice dives. Ahmed will be underwater for an estimated 14.5 hours, he and his team will breathe more than 90 cylinders of various gas mixes with the helium alone costing thousands of Euro.

I for one will be waiting anxiously above water on Thursday 18 September waiting for news of Ahmeds safe return from the depths. Sadly this time I will not be in Dahab like I was on 10 June 2005 when Nunu Gomes set the benchmark.

For further information on this amazing endeavour please take a look at the official #worldrecord350 webpage for photos, fundraising and up to date information.



Residence Arabesque in bloom

The sun is shining and summer is in full swing at Residence Arabesque. Our beautiful gardens are thanks to our lovely gardener Sobhy.    Two years ago he helped us design and build our little oasis in the desert and with his care and attention to detail our gardens are now maturing and offer our guests the perfect place to relax  Here are some of the colours you can expect when you are relaxing in the hammock or eating dinner on the terrace.  Hibiscus and bougainvillea are two of the most prominent blooms in a desert garden, they come in a variety of colours and forms.  We also have mature date palms, olive trees, acacias and jasmine.  Our resident Egyptian tortoises (Testudo kleinmanni) wander freely among the plants and if you are lucky you may spot a gecko hunting insects in the evening.

Dahab is HAPPY!

Everyone loves a catchy tune and Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’ is no exception.  This fabulous tune featuring the worlds first 24 hour music video has had us dancing around the kitchen for months and in recent weeks there has been a plethora of Happy videos being uploaded on the internet.

However the best always come to those that wait…. Happy – We are from Dahab, has in four days since being launched been watched over 61,000 times.  With the Egyptian media catching on, ‘Happy’ Dahab style is looking to become a new internet sensation.  For anyone that has been to Dahab this video will literally get the memories flooding back!


Alhamdulilah! About a village called Dahab

Often people ask about the spirit of Dahab, its not something that is easy to explain.  Dahab is not a big tourist resort, it is not full of multinational companies or multi-story hotels.  It is small and peaceful.

Many people have passed through Dahab, intending to leave and ending up making it home.  I was one of those people.  I first visited Dahab to complete my PADI Divemaster qualification, the first professional level in Scuba Diving.  I returned a year later to work my first season.  I met a boy.  

Ten years, marriage and two children later Residence Arabesque was born.

This is a wonderful short video by Michael Zomer which captures the spirit of Dahab so well.


14th International Ceramics Symposium – On now!

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Le Meridien Dahab hosts the 14th International Ceramics Symposium from 10 – 21 February 2014.
Featuring some wonderful visiting artists from all over the world.  Visit the hotel and view some of their work.


Ossama Emam 

Hisham Abed – Egypt ( Associate Curator ) 

Mosbeh Kamel – Egypt ( Associate Curator )

Mohsen Gouda – Egypt ( Filmmaker )

Satoru Hashino – Japan 
Raul Pereda – Spain 
Haitham Hedayah – Egypt
Sofia Beca – Portugal 
Lynda AbdelLatif – Tunisia 
Silke Decker – Germany 
Elina Titiana – Latvia 
Pilar Nadales – Spain 
Veysel Ozel – Turkey
Rabab Wahba – Egypt
Bettina Ammann – Switzerland 
Mohamed Farouk – Egypt 
Anna Kristjana – Denmark 
Mohamed Samir – Egypt 
Gamal Ibrahim – Egypt 

This year’s Guardian International Development Achievement Award winner, David Constantine is a friend and recent guest at Residence Arabesque

This year’s Guardian International Development Achievement Award winner, David Constantine, made his disability a strength when he set out to create wheelchairs suitable for use in the developing world.

David Constantine (right), winner of the Guardian International Development Achievement Award, inter

David Constantine (right), winner of the Guardian International Development Achievement Award, interviews Oscar Okello, a Ugandan user of one of his wheelchairs. Photograph: © D. Constantine, Motivation

David enjoyed a well earned holiday at Residence Arabesque this Autumn, road testing our accessibility for the wheelchair user as well as getting out and about in Dahab.  With his friends he enjoyed trips to St Katherines Monastery, the local Waadis and even tried his hand at scuba diving.  We look forward to offering all our future guests the opportunity to get out and about in Sinai and to try snorkelling and scuba diving regardless of their mobility needs.

Read here about the work of David’s amazing charity Motivation – Empowering disabled people throughout the world.