ABU DABBAB PHOTO
There are two semi-permanent residents who are known by the nicknames of Dennis and Dougal. Two of only seven currently known to exist along the entire Egyptian Red Sea Coast.
And as if that wasn’t enough the bay is also host to giant sea turtles for whom the shallow waters serve as an invaluable nesting site and the harmless guitar shark as well as having colourful reefs, a myriad of beautiful fish, a small shipwreck and a swim-through canyon with underwater caves.
You can just wade-in to the main bay and also explore the fringing reefs directly from the beach which makes it equally suitable to snorkelers and divers of all skill levels. The offshore reefs however are more suitable to divers and should only be visited with a professional guide.
Abu Dabbab is close to most of Marsa Alam’s hotels and located on a brach road off the main coastal road between the Sol Y Mar Abu Dabbab and Marsa Alam Hilton hotels, 34km north of the town of Marsa Alam and about 35km south of the airport and for those who like GPS coordinates you will find it at latitude 25’20’N and 34’45’ East.
“Had a great half day there last year,” wrote Barry on Trip Advisor in February 2011. “Calm conditions, spent ages just floating above a turtle, and was so relaxed I almost fell asleep.”
The name “Abu Dabab” can be translated as Father’s stepping stones. According to local mythology, when an earthquake struck it was because the gods were using the stones to cross the sea.
ABU DABBAB EXCURSION OFFER
For snorkelers Ehab is offering a private air conditioned taxi pick up and return to your hotel (within 30km)
and the bay entrance ticket, a guide and snorkeling equipment day rental with free soft drinks and sun bed all for just 15 euro per personfor a group of three or more or 20 euro per person for two. However you should bring your own towel and there’s a ten euro surcharge for guests at hotels more than 30km but less than 50km away.
For divers Ehab is also offering a private air conditioned taxi pick up and return to your hotel and a day’s diving at Abu Dabbab for 80 euro per person (minimum of two) including the cost of taxi transfers from and to your hotel, entrance to the beach, soft drinks, a professional guide and all diving equipment. As with the snorkeling offer, there would also be a ten euro surcharge for guests at hotels more than 30km but less than 50km away.
Light meals and snacks are available at extra charge on the beach.
As you enter via the south east corner of the beach you will need to pay a ten euro entrance fee
which is levied in order to prevent too many tourists overcrowding the bay. This fee also allows you free use of the lounge chairs and beach umbrellas. You will find toilets available and the beach is kept very clean with a small bar where you can buy drinks and snacks.
Night owls might also be glad to know that on Thursday nights locals head to the beach bar at Abu Dabbab for a weekly party.
THE RESIDENT DUGONGS
The most famous resident marine animals are the two dugongs but seeing either of them
is usually a matter of chance. However if you are on a beach do keep an eye on the snorkeler
s as you can usually spot the excitement when a dugong is detected. However
do not rush in so quickly that you and others will intimidate the animal
which will force it to disappear quickly into the depths.
You will be surpised how quickly the dugong swims for although Egyptian dugongs can
weigh up to 500kg and swim at an average speed of 10km/hour they are capable
of bursts of speed of up to 20km/hour.
Dugongs are sometimes tolerant of the occasional swimmer at near distance but they don’t seem
how one Dugong at Abu Dabbab soon found all the attention too much.
“…..In order to avoid the wild crowd on the surface, the dugong dove and then emerged covering long diagonals,
moving to deeper and deeper waters. But she was inevitably reached each time she surfaced while
countless hands came forward trying to touch her. The result was that she left the bay after only a few minutes.”
( RobertoSozzani.it )
If however you do get a chance to see the dugong feeding on the grassy sea bed,
the sight is amazing for as she grazes the animal expels a huge cloud of fine sand particles
and every few minutes emerges to take a few breaths at the surface before returning.
the dugong is surprisingly quiet and has no natural defence against predators except for its’ hug size.
The Egyptians dugong can grow up to 2.5 or even 3 metres long and has a average lifespan of around thirty years.
The last scientific study of dugongs along Egypt’s Red Sea Coast was by Professor Dr Mahmoud Hanafy in 2001 to 2003,
who identified between 12 and 17 individual dugongs each year.
He noted that more were seen during the summer which was possibly due to a winter migration of some dugongs to warmer water.
Unfortunately this beautiful animal is classified as a “vulnerable to extinction”
and it is has sadly earned a place on the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species.
Mauritius and Taiwan and while there is still a significant population around the Autralian coastline,
they exist in only very small numbers in the Red Sea.
The sea grass meadows, which they depend on, are highly sensitive to human interference
especially to any fertilizer run off from coastal resorts and dredging – both of which can prevent light from
reaching the sea grass and thereby limit its’ growth.
You will also quite often see titan triggerfish, brilliant green pufferfish, triangular trunkfish,
trevallies, occasional giant barracuda and fast moving guitar rays as well as harmless guitar sharks.
Along the fringing reefs you might also sometimes spot sea scorpions and stone fishes
as well as large stingrays and as you reach deeper waters expect any types of surprise. Even a giant whale shark was recently spotted.