Discover Your Depths, Dahab, Egypt

Freediving and desert adventures that still the mind, challenge the body and lift the spirit

Seasonal Alignment yoga retreats, seven-day Magical Encounters: Dolphins and You liveaboard safaris, 10-day Sea Inside Retreats and 5-day Holistic Freediving courses all run at various times from April to November, and bespoke, private retreats for individuals and businesses on dates to suit you are available.

Price for 10-day Sea Inside beginners’ freediving retreat starts at £1,850 per person (including accommodation with a surcharge of £180 for staying at Coral Coast Hotel); from £800 per person for the Holistic Freediving retreats (excluding accommodation); and from £1,250 for the week-long liveaboard Magical Encounters dolphin retreat.

For accommodation only, if you are staying before or after a retreat, Villa Prana (self-catering) costs £35 per night single occupancy or £50 per night whole villa (sleeps 4 in two double rooms). Coral Coast Hotel costs €30 per person per night (breakfast, access to pool, sea facing balcony included) shared room or Single Occupancy €48 per person per night (breakfast, access to pool, sea facing balcony included).

3 (for freediving), up to 11 sharing on yoga retreats, and 11 plus on the boat.

Best for: Open-minded lovers of sun, sea, sand with a hardy spirit of adventure.

Not for: Luxury travellers or anyone not willing to dive deep into what is holding them back in life.

In a nutshell: Discover your depths by learning to freedive in Dahab, find your voice in the silence of the Sinai—the throat chakra of the world—and reconnect to inner stillness as you fall asleep gazing at the star-filled sky. British kundalini yoga teacher and four-times freediving former world record-holder, Sara Campbell, integrates yoga, breath awareness, meditation, coaching, freediving and a desert experience to allow you to explore what holds you back to learn how to live a calmer and more present life, ultimately without fear. There are two beginners’ Sea-Inside Retreats and two Magical Encounters:

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What’s Queenly?

Sara Campbell. Her warmth, enthusiasm, generous spirit and embodiment of the kundalini kriyas are the essence of the Discover Your Depths freedive experience.

What’s Lowly?

In addition to the challenges of water purity, the incongruence of trying to relax in the sometimes crowded noisy shallows of the sea at Dahab may be challenging for water-fearing beginners.

Read our honest, in-depth reviews

Find out what our reviewer Niki Natarajan had to say when she experienced a Sea-Inside Retreat with Discover Your Depths in Dahab in our Journal, and check out Caroline Sylger Jones’ interview with founder Sara Campbell.

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Retreat Activities

From swimming with dolphins, through using the ocean as mirror to highlight fears and blockages to overnight desert experiences to bathe in silence and stillness, Dahab-based Sara Campbell, a world champion freediver, and her partner Jean Philippe, will tailor ocean and/or desert-based retreats from four days to multiple weeks that incorporate yoga, kundalini kriyas, coaching, meditation and freediving.

The five-day diving programme is offered in two levels: Level 1 Intermediate and beyond (some freediving experience); and Level 2 (completed Holistic Freediving 1). Unlike many certification programmes, Sara uses breathwork, meditation and breath awareness to explore the diver’s inner landscape of beliefs and fears, motivations and self-sabotage behaviour. Mornings are dedicated to discourse, discussion, theory, yoga, pranayama and meditation, while afternoons are spent in the water letting the ocean be the teacher. Dates are scheduled through spring and autumn, but they can be flexible to suit flight schedules and groups are limited to three people.

The final two days designed to integrate the ocean’s teaching are held in the desert and include a silent trek, meditation, kundalini kriyas at sunset to experience stillness, and silence by sleeping under the Milky Way. The retreat includes nine full days of personalised coaching; up to 14 nights’ accommodation in Villa Prana (or 12 at the Coral Coast Hotel); welcome dinner and closing dinner; all desert meals and activities; and all airport and dive-site transfers.

Magical Encounters is seven nights full board aboard the Enigma, a 32-metre yacht on the Sataya Reef, a shallow protected bay in the Red Sea where a large pod of a few hundred dolphins spend most of their days resting, playing and mating before heading out at night to hunt. This adventure is for anyone who wants to swim with dolphins, but particularly suited for beginners and certified free divers.

Like the ocean, the lunar landscape of the desert is a complete sensory contrast for urban dwellers and so a great teacher. A trip to the Sinai desert allows you to experience pure silence and stillness and sleeping under the Milky Way is the perfect way to integrate learning and allow space for transformation. Working with Ehab Farid, founder of Embah Tours, Sara and Jean Philippe will plan an itinerary from a short trek to several days of hiking that is the right balance of adventure and comfort. This could include ecolodges, Bedouin tents, the secret herbal gardens of Bedouin healers, a hike in the sacred area of St. Catherine’s, or a sunset meditation on Mount Matamir.

To complement the mind, body, spirit adventure that Discover Your Depths takes you on, massages on the rest days for the Holistic Freediving and Sea-Inside Retreats are highly recommended. Clients typically go to the Nour Wellbeing Centre at the Coral Coast Hotel, where the massage and holistic therapies treatment menu that can be found in the poolside reception is extensive. There are several highly qualified European therapists and one-hour averages €40. The longer ayurvedic coconut oil massage is worth trying for it is rebalancing quality. For other beauty or therapies treatments ask Sara but do not go to the beach salons.

Sara and Jean Philippe combine their passion for yoga and nature in yearly Seasonal Alignment Retreats in Egypt and Europe. Each retreat is lovingly created, offering twice-daily yoga and meditation practice, supported by discourses on the wisdom of nature within us according to yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda. The Spring Alignment Retreat is held in Dahab and starts with two nights at the Coral Coast Hotel for a day of theory, yoga and meditation. It includes a day and night in Sta Catherine’s and a day with Dr Ahmed, the 70-year old Bedouin natural healer, in his ancient gardens in the mountains close to sacred Mount Sinai. The retreat then moves on to the Habiba Beach Lodge and Organic Farm in Nuweiba for two nights to learn about how modern organic farming is developing to combine the best of the ancient and the new. The retreat closes in Dahab to integrate with discourses on yogic and ayurvedic theory, and lifestyle practices to build wellbeing routines.

Personal spaces

You have a choice of two places to stay - Villa Prana or Coral Coast Hotel. In addition to resting in the privacy of your air-conditioned bedrooms, Villa Prana has a shaded courtyard and rooftop, while the Coral Coast Hotel has sun loungers and shade on the beach and by the swimming pool to spend free time alone.

Personal spaces

Villa Prana:

Designed by Sara who lives next door, this house sleeps up to four in two double bedrooms. The open plan living space opens out onto the courtyard garden with a shaded seating area that is perfect for an alfresco drink or nourishing pre-dive breakfast on the glass covered carve wooden table. The roof terrace overlooking the mountains and the ocean in the distance is perfect for sunbathing or sun-downers. Previous guests have left books but there is no TV and patchy Wi-Fi and the large sofa is perfect for indoor slouching, it’s the perfect place to do a digital detox and completely surrender to nature.

The spacious master bedroom with a domed ceiling has an en suite bathroom ample storage space and a relaxing rocking chair. The French windows open out onto the courtyard, making a lie in on the comfortable four poster bed to the sound of the windchimes the perfect way to get over the overnight flight if you are coming from London. The smaller second bedroom has an adjoining bathroom and both have air-conditioning.

Personal spaces

Coral Coast Hotel:

Run by husband and wife team Ema Louis and Ehab Farid, Coral Coast Hotel is the main beach front accommodation suggested for Discover Your Depths guests, located in the Eel Garden end of Dahab. To completely unwind, take advantage of the extensive massage menu at the Nour Wellbeing Centre, or take a book to the beach and choose between lying on a sun lounger in the sand (mind the dog poo) or sitting in the shaded Arisha restaurant to enjoy a beer or delicious mango juice. This end of town is full of laid-back beach front bars and restaurants that retain a hippy vibe, where you and a book can while away the hours undisturbed.

All the rooms offered to Discover Your Depth clients are superior twin or double rooms with sea-facing balconies to enjoy the stunning views. The rooms are small but the décor is modern with bright white sheets and curtains and cushions with matching colour splash geometric designs and original artwork on the walls. All the rooms have a kettle and fridge, but no telephone to TVs. The en suite bathrooms are very basic but all have showers and a small individual hot water boiler over the sink and swan folded towels greet guests.

Insider Tips

Drinking, brushing teeth or cooking with tap water is not advised. European plugs and Euros work in Egypt but have Egyptian Pounds to avoid lack of change; pre-arrival caffeine detox if you are freediving; and make sure you add a desert adventure even if only for one star-filled night.

When to Go

Although Dahab has year-round perfect weather, Discover Your Depths runs most of its retreats between April and November. Air temperatures range from the comfortable low-to-mid-20s in winter, into the high 30s in the summer. Water temperatures go from around 21 in winter up to 28 in late summer. If you are including a desert trip, where the temperatures can drop significantly at night in the winter months (it has even snowed) it’s worth bringing thermal layers.

Shared places

The central meeting point for Discover Your Depth clients is the Coral Coast Hotel, which has a beach front bar restaurant called Arisha and two yoga studios offering yoga and meditation classes. The small freshwater swimming pool complete with wooden sun loungers is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the sun. The beachfront promenade runs from Eel Garden and the Coral Coast Hotel all the way round the bay to the bridge where the more vibrant sea front bars and restaurants at the Lighthouse end of town can be found. This is where the diving community hangs out every day.


If you are staying at the self-catering Villa Prana, you are welcomed with the most generous fridge full of fresh local seasonal produce including mangoes, bananas, dates, tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as wholegrain bread, mini Lurpak butters, cheese, jam, yoghurt, tea (herbal and breakfast) and coffee.

On Holistic Freediving retreats, divers typically only eat breakfast and then supper around 5pm at Fresh Fish Restaurant, which looks after the valuables and dive gear, snacking on nuts and drinking fresh mango juices to keep blood sugar balanced. The menu, which is similar in many of the divers’ haunts, has a wide variety of lamb, chicken and fish dishes with a plate of grilled vegetables with rice a favourite with vegetarians and a shish tawook, or chicken kebab, served with vegetables and either rice or fries a delicious option for those requiring protein.

A buffet breakfast ranging from falafel, beans, cheese and salad to more continental food such as yoghurt, bread, cheeses and fruit salad are included at Coral Coast Hotel and served either in the restaurant or Arisha on the beach.
The hotel also offers a la carte for lunch and dinner but Dahab is full of restaurants catering to all tastes so it is worth exploring: Marine Garden and The Vegan Lab are vegan restaurants; Red Cat serves healthy Russian food as well as delicious pizza and salads. There are also Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Asian-fusion, and Egyptian and Lebanese places to eat, just ask Sara for recommendations. Red Cat, The Vegan Lab and Marine Garden wash salad in purified water and vinegar so are Egyptian ‘gippy’ tummy friendly. Most restaurants do not serve beer or wine, but bring your own is prevalent.

Freedivers need to avoid coffee, but on days off, the best coffee bar is The Coffee Wheel. For food shopping, Assalah has Ralph’s German bakery, Back to Nature, an organic food shop, and several grocers selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

By far the best meals you will eat are on desert safari with Ehab and Tarek: foil wrapped sweet potato spread with soft feta and pancakes for breakfast and for a star lit supper baba ganoush, vegetables and open fire roasted chicken that smelt so good that even vegetarians had a bite.

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Villa Prana and the Nour Wellbeing Centre both have safe drinking water dispensers/coolers to refill thermal water bottles, to avoid contributing to the plastic bottle waste, but Dahab is has not yet managed to embrace plastic reduction. Organic waste is novel, just leave it on the streets for the goats and there are many beach-clean-up projects including clean-up dives for certified scuba divers.

All the Coral Coast hotel trips through Embah Travel are sustainable excursions in line with the Travel Foundation UK guidelines, providing income for multiple local and desert families, and also supporting them financially during low seasons and in times of need.
Habiba Organic Farm in Nuweiba is an organic farm that provides weekly green boxes for many of Dahab’s health-conscious residents as well as supplying the vegan and organic-focused restaurants. They are experimenting with permaculture and sustainable farming methods.


Villa Prana, Assalah, Dahab, South Sinai and Coral Coast, El Melal Street, Dahab, South Sinai

Airport: Sharm el Sheikh or Ovda (Israel)

Transfer time: Sharm el Sheikh (1 hour), Ovda (allow 5 hours which includes border crossing)

4 Reviews
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Bianca Sun young Kim
How many stars would you give this retreat? :

I am a freediver who has been in love with freediving for 7 years. I became a yoga teacher to teach freediving better and continued my meditation practice to become a better freediver. Recently, I was feeling the trauma from a freediving accident I had a long time ago. At this point, I had a private counselling with Sara Campbell, and with her help I was able to start training again with ease, which led me to participate in a Freediving World Championship 2019 in Nice, France.
I felt she was helping me to coach my life myself, not only just freediving. I wanted to learn more from her, so I started the HF program Level 1 & 2 which she recommended.

The Holistic Freediving programs weren’t just freediving programs, it really helped me live my life truly. In the ocean, I learnt I can truly meet the ocean, and I can’t help being a better freediver, of course. And I’ve also learned what I need to do to teach freediving better in MY way. Sara and Jean helped me stay aware to guide my way on to be a coach to myself – Sara served as an interpreter between me and the ocean. The sea and nature are prepared to offer us many things, but we often do not receive it because we are not aware. Now I have learned how to take care of my life with love sincerely. And I saw my infinite ability to love. I’m looking forward to discovering my life depth deeper. You ,too! Discover your depth.

Sofia Lim-Oliver
How many stars would you give this retreat? :

Sara and Jeanphi changed my life. I was going through some big transitions in life and work, and felt that I needed to get away and spend some time reflecting. I stumbled upon Holistic Freediving and Sara’s wonderful story really resonated with me. Since I was going to join Holistic Freediving Level 2, Sara advised me to take a basic freediving course with another school in Dahab. That instructor was really great and I was glad to get some of the basics out of the way before starting HF.

My goal was simple: to try something brave, and build my courage and confidence. Sara and Jeanphi helped me do that and so much more. They are deeply intuitive and impactful coaches, with genuine loving care for people and such wonderful wisdom to share. We spent the mornings in a beautiful space, learning about the magic of freediving and about mind, body, and spirit. We meditated and did kundalini yoga. We opened our hearts and shared our personal journeys, we laughed and cried. And in the afternoons we would head into the beautiful, calm waters of Dahab for freediving and coaching.

Holistic freediving tore me apart and put me back together again, in the most wonderful nurturing way. If you have one iota of self-doubt, the ocean won’t let you dive. Your body won’t let you dive. I always felt safe with Sara and Jeanphi, but my own self-doubt held me back. I struggled and struggled to get beyond 7-8 metres. It was emotionally wracking. But it was a demon I needed to face, and freediving with Sara and Jeanphi forced me to face it.

I’ll always remember the one dive that changed everything. Sara could see my frustration and sadness. We paused, hanging onto the buoy, and she said, “What are you looking for when you dive? For me I’m looking for joy. What is it for you?” It felt like a punch to my stomach. Tears came to my eyes and I said, “I’m looking for myself.” And that dive changed everything. I went down, on and on, going way past my previous limits, feeling completely at ease and at peace. And when I came up to the surface, filled with so much joy, laughing so hard that everyone else laughed with me. It was amazing. And every dive after that got easier. I started to sense my spirit, my being. It was a spiritual awakening – and it changed my life.

Sara and Jeanphi didn’t just share their wisdom. They opened their hearts, they genuinely cared, and in doing so they helped me open my own heart. And the magic of Dahab, the ocean and the desert helped to do the rest. Four months on, I still think of those dives, those moments when I discovered my spirit. I used to feel unworthy of leading, now I step up and share my voice with courage and joy to help others. I used to listen to the saboteurs in my head, now I sit quietly sensing the truth and freedom of my spirit. It’s an ongoing journey, but life will never be the same again, and I’ll always be grateful to Sara, Jeanphi, and the ocean for this wonderful gift.

How many stars would you give this retreat? :

I experienced the Sea-Inside retreat in 2019. The level of personal care and support offered by Sara and Jeanphi during this retreat is exceptional. It allowed me to dive deeper within myself, not necessarily deeper in the ocean, as I felt truly held and supported by them both. They offer a non-judgmental, compassionate holding during the entire process and are excellent hosts. The highlight was the visit to the Sinai dessert at the end – pure silent majesty a rare and special treat that allows full integration of the process.