Pema, SafetyWing’s Nomadic Content Creator, is paid to travel and document 10 amazing coworking destinations from around the world. If you want to see her diving adventures in Egypt, check out her YouTube video!
I stayed in the Lighthouse district, which is the most touristy and central part of town. My hotel was right next door to a coworking space called Mojo Cafe. The proximity was great since my hotel room was in a data black hole. The sim card I bought was largely useless as I didn't get any cell signal there and the hotel wifi didn't work either. This debacle made some people in my life think I'd been kidnapped since it was so hard to reach me.
Dahab is a coworking hub in the making. There are definitely some cafes and coworking spaces offering decent wifi and productive workspaces, but there are currently no 24-hour options for coworking. Wifi in local Airbnbs and hotels is still unreliable, and you may be stuck using mobile data to get your work done. If you're okay with that minor detail, Dahab is excellent. Being off the main backpacker route, Dahab digital nomads are interesting and weird (in a good way). No one here is fronting for social media or traveling for clout. They're on a freaking adventure. As this is a great destination for water sports, many who travel here are passionate divers and climbers.
The low cost of living is another benefit. It's very cheap to live and travel in Dahab, and despite being an hour north of the airport in Sharm El-Sheik, the taxi ride is only $30. Stays longer than 14 days require either a visa-on-arrival or a tourist visa obtained prior to arrival. Once in Egypt, it's relatively straightforward to extend the visa, with the option to apply for an Egyptian tourist residence permit. You need documents such as proof of rent and documents that show your earnings will come from outside of Egypt during your residence. You will also be invited for an interview. Altogether it's not the worst system for long-term stays.
Life as a digital nomad in Egypt
Dahab felt extremely safe. Given its origins as a Bedouin fishing village and the hippie/diver influence, no one reacts to seeing a woman in a bikini. There was no cat-calling, and very little hassling from vendors, which I'm told differs from other parts of Egypt. Meanwhile, there's an endless selection of international cuisine and good food, balanced with some amazing local restaurants off the main drag.
There's also tons to do. It's a popular resort town so you'll always have new people and lively energy. There are also the traditional bedouins and settlers from other parts of Egypt who run most local businesses and largely speak only Arabic. Then you'll have the established expats and now digital nomads who make up a growing digital nomad community. Work-life balance was ideal for me - I went diving nearly every morning despite being sick from food poisoning for most of my stay. I did, however, run into a housemate from my coliving space in French Polynesia earlier this year. I also met two nomadic friends I wasn't expecting to see in Dahab, which proves to me that this city is definitely a growing remote-work hotspot.
Unfortunately, I also have to comment on its popularity. It was a lot more touristy than expected, with the very recent developments that gave the main waterfront Miami vibes. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. That said, I discovered the more quiet parts of Dahab just around the corner. Staying north of the busy lighthouse district, closer to Assalah Square, is all it takes to feel transported to another time along the Red Sea.
I basically lived out of Mojo Cowork Cafe, and have to recommend it purely out of gratitude. Since my cell coverage and wifi both didn't work at my hotel, the owner kept the coworking space open longer for me to finish uploading files one night. I never mentioned I was writing reviews of coworking spaces, he was just a nice guy. The space itself had decent internet, sea views, and healthy food options. I booked a weekly package that included coffee, tea, and water for 927 EGP (around $30 USD). Almost everyone there was a digital nomad or expat, and I heard a few different languages being spoken in the office.
With 3 locations in the city, it was my go-to place for post-dive brunch, and the pastries were some of the best I've had outside of Europe. There are plenty of tables outside and indoors, and I always saw at least a few people working on their laptops during lunch.
I first visited Coffee Wheel for a freediving movie premiere. It was my first time hanging out with the elusive Dahab freediving community I had been excited to meet. Everyone was welcoming, and the films on offer were great. The space is owned by a freediver that created a wonderful community in Dahab. The smoothies are excellent, the wifi is good, and the ambiance along the shores of the Red Sea is otherwordly.
I struggled as a digital nomad in Dahab, but you don't have to! It's well on its way to becoming a year-round remote work hub and a popular nomad destination. I’ll remember my struggles with the internet connection and prepare accordingly for my next visit. I also hope there will be more accommodation options with reliable internet in the near future. Other than that, Dahab is a fantastic destination in the middle east. You can go snorkeling in search of coral reefs in the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea in the morning, work with an ocean view in the afternoon, and enjoy dinner under the stars in the Sinai Desert. There's a vibrant community of expats and travelers to meet, and the locals are extremely welcoming too. Coupled with the low cost of living, and amazing cuisine there's no reason not to add coworking in Dahab to your travel bucket list.