A dive expedition to Egypt has to be one of most extravagant underwater adventures you’ll ever experience. Diving in the Red Sea first gained traction in the early 1950’s when migrant Italian & French workers began spear fishing in Egypt. The area was vastly explored by Austrian zoologist Dr. Hans Hass (a renown underwater movie maker) and the famous French diver Mr Jacques Cousteau.
Nowadays there’s plenty of dive facilities abound for tourists to enjoy including guided tours, liveaboard options and certified dive schools. You will discover that Red Sea features many excellent dive sites, combine that with the countries vast cultural history and be prepared for a dive vacation to remember forever.
EGYPTIAN DIVE HIGHLIGHTS:
EL GOUNA & THE STRAIT OF GABAL
El Gouna and the Strait of Gubal are two premier Egyptian dive areas that feature a myriad of shipwrecks, flourishing coral reefs and a multitude of marine life. This area is filled with many spectacular dive sites and is suitable for all level of diving abilities.
El Quseir is a laid back resort area that is slightly under the radar compared to other more popular Egyptian dive zones. The sea here is simply divine to dive, swim and snorkel and the beaches are a true tranquil oasis.
Marsa Alam’s coastline offers lots of things to do, some excellent beaches and superb diving either from the shore, day boats or liveaboards.
Ras Gharib’s strategic location on the Gulf of Suez makes it home to numerous shipwrecks, many of which have not yet been mapped. Adventure awaits curious divers willing to explore unchartered waters.
MAKADI BAY AND SAFAGA
Home to famous and eerie wrecks, protected coral gardens and a wide range of marine life, uncrowded Makadi Bay and Safaga are ideal for divers wishing to explore everything the Red Sea has to offer.
Sharm el-Sheikh has is all. Over 30 superb local dive sites plus many liveaboard options. There’s a bunch of beautiful beaches, great shopping, fun nightlife vibes and an array of dining options too.
ST. JOHN’S, ROCKY ISLAND & ZABARGAD
St. John’s, Zabargad & Rocky Island in southern Egypt wow divers with amazing biodiversity, pristine corals and crystal clear water. It’s well worth the effort to reach these remote destinations.
THE STRAITS OF TIRAN
The Straits of Tiran feature the best diving near Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. With four pristine reef systems, deep walls and pelagic species, it’s no wonder divers seek out this piece of paradise.
-Egypt’s stunning reefs (there’s over 2000km’s of coastline to explore) are filled with an abundance of marine life. Think brightly coloured soft corals, hard coral gardens, a dazzling display of reef fish and distinguished pelagic species too.
-Drift diving is a popular activity at sites that experience strong currents, plus there are many night diving opportunities too.
– Egypt features all of the best underwater dive highlights to check out including; historic wrecks, sheer walls, speedy drift dive zones, soaring pinnacles and easy shore dives
– The majority of Egypt’s dive sites are suitable for all levels and there are some excellent areas for introduction dive lessons and yes, a broad range of thrilling open ocean sites for expert/advanced divers to explore.
-Egypt’s fantastic ocean visibility and its easy access to excess depths makes it a top destination for technical diving and training.
– Keep in mind that many of the diving destinations are nearby to remarkable Egyptian historic sites. Be sure to divide your dive holiday time to include a few culture adventures too.
WHEN TO GO:
It’s true that Egypt and the Red Sea boasts a warm climate and excellent visibility for diving year round. The Summer months from June – September is when the water temperature rises to a balmy 28 degrees, hence most divers wear a lightweight wetsuit or even just a rash vests and shorts. During the colder months of January to March/April the oceanic temps drop to around 22 degrees Celsius. The marine life present doesn’t vary too much seasonally, however pelagic species are more common to spot when the weather is warmer.
EGYPT’S BEST DIVE SITES:
Pharaoh’s Island is located in the northern regions of the awe inspiring Gulf of Aqaba. Historically this zone was a Phoenician trading port, this small island lies just 250 metres off shore where an impressive castle relic gazes over mostly uncrowded dive sites. Expect to see vibrant coral formations, large schools of batfish and bream, plus the opportunity to spot the oft elusive moray eel species. Hint; it’s a picturesque place for a fun snorkelling adventure too.
A hugely photogenic site nearby to Hurghada. Scuba divers that venture here regularly see amazing feather tailed rays and sea turtles swimming by. Anemone fish are found in in their hundreds around here too. This sheltered crescent-shaped reef is home to a gorgeous coral garden and is suitable for most levels of divers.
HURGHADA (Giftun Island)
One of the most well-known dive regions in Egypt, the Hurghada marine reserve features an abundance of dive sites characterized by a kaleidoscope of steep drop offs, wide caverns and outstandingly healthy hard and soft coral reefs. Close encounters with curious parrot fish, schools of tuna, barracuda and even larger pelagic species are typical of the region. Strong currents dictate drift dive times and its marine reserve status rewards divers with thriving marine life and all round superb diving experience.
SAFAGA – Seven Pillars
Welcome to Soma Bay! Here you will discover seven coral pillars nearly reaching to the sea surface. Rising from approximately 14 metres (45 feet) deep. Loads of reef fish rule here including; lionfish, Napoleon wrasse and puffer fish. Tip; the Seven Pillars is also a popular night diving hot spot.
Famed for the ‘Blue Hole’ which reaches about 130 metres (430 feet) deep, this dive zone is one of the most acclaimed dive sites on the globe. Note: keen free divers often explore here too.
SHARM EL SHEIKH (Ras Mohamed National Park)
Egypt’s first national park is just south of Sharm el Sheik at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula and precisely where the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez. The mixing of these seas means the local proximity plays host to thriving coral reefs and an abundance of reef and pelagic fish species. Drift diving is popular at both Shark Reef and the Yolanda Reef dive sites here when the currents are strong.
EGYPTIAN MARINE LIFE
There is approximately 800 fish species in the region, with at least 10% being endemic to the Egyptian reefs only – meaning they are not found anywhere else. The following marine life is evident at the majority of dive sites; dolphins, whale sharks, reef sharks, schools of pelagic fish and, if you’re lucky, the occasional manatee. Nudibranchs, flatworms, Spanish dancers and pipefish all congregate together as part of the delicate marine eco-system to create the pristine dive regions of Egypt.
By Roxanne Williams