Sibel Hodge review 24 Aug 2015
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Obviously the main wish for this vacation was to swim with dolphins and the I was so lucky to have the very special opportunities I had, and a huge part of that was thanks to the amazing guidee, Khaled. He seems to have a sixth sense to anticipate what the dolphins are going to do and which direction they'll head in to get you to the right spot at the right time. When I observed the other guides on the boat trips, none of them did what Khaled did. I called him the dolphin paparazzi! This meant that on the 3 trips I took - the 2 boat trips and the overnight boat trip, I was the only one on the boats who had a significant amount of time swimming with these amazing creatures. In total, I was lucky enough to swim with them for around 2 1/2 hours, and most of that time was either just me and Khaled or on my own. Very special and spiritual!
As part of the vacation a snorkelling trip was included to a nearby beach where the dugong and turtles feed on sea grass. Again, I witnessed other guides from boat trips take an approach which didn't really benefit the customer, but Khaled knew exactly what to watch for so I was blessed with swimming with a dugong (just me and Khaled again) for 20 mins. I also saw two turtles there.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
If you're wondering whether to book the extra overnight trip to dolphin reef, I would definitely recommend it and say that was where most of my time swimming with the dolphins was spent. In the lagoon there, you have unlimited time to swim with them and aren't restricted in specific swimming areas like you are at dolphin house. The whole overnight trip was fantastic, and Khaled took me on a night snorkel there, too. The cabins get suffocatingly hot to sleep in at night so most people sleep on deck and the starts are amazing!
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes. There are protected areas where swimmers/boats aren't allowed.
There are also officials on the boat making sure you only swim there between certain times. The captains and staff on the boats were all contentious in making sure regulations were adhered to.
I stayed in an eco-resort and they are very aware of environmental impacts. I was staying at RSDS as part of a snorkelling vacation. I stayed in a deluxe chalet with aircon. The resort of simple in a charming, rustic way and very clean. All the staff were friendly and helpful. The house reef there is fantastic! I spoke to a lot of people who were repeat guests and they all said they kept coming because of unlimited diving there and they enjoyed the relaxed resort. There is a covered area on the beach with chairs, but it would've been nice to have some sunbeds, too, to relax on in between snorkelling/dives. The food is quite limited. There are only 8 dishes served at meals, and if you're vegetarian or vegan you will probably struggle as at least 2 dishes were meat, but usually 4 of them. Unless you want to eat salad bits, rice, potatoes all the time, you may want to take snacks with you. The bedouin cafe is lovely. The stars are fantastic from the beach, and Sky gave me an interesring talk about them with his laser light. Tip: The resort is lit up at night by lots of tiny lamps, which look beautiful but don't give off much light so take a torch.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Fantastic. I've recommended it to several friends who've seen my photos and videos and are so jealous!
Read the operator's response here:
We are so pleased you had such an exceptional time! Yes our guide really knows how to ensure the guests have the best possible experience with the dolphins, we sometimes think he is part dolphin / part human! He is very sensitive and the dolphins seem to know him! He has spent 20 years and thousands of hours in the water with them!
You mentioned the food at the resort and I am not sure if you realised that the kitchen are happy to do some extra vegetarian dishes if asked, or cater for special diets.
If your friends want to come on one of the vacations they are welcome!
I hope your memories stay vivid and get you thru the winder months in the UK