The Red Sea dive sites are characterised by beautiful, rich coral gardens teaming with tropical fish and fantastic visibility up to 200m (656 ft). The variety of tropical marine life is amazing and the diving conditions are excellent throughout the year, cooler from October to May and with summer temperatures reaching 29°C (84°F). The comfort and safety level of liveaboards and land-based dive operations meets good international standards. The Red Sea can be reached easily from many airports in Europe and the Middle East, and this area has become the busiest and most sought-after dive regions in the world.
The Red Seas fantastic underwater visibility, likely the best of all tropical oceans, is due to the fact that it is surrounded by deserts with no rivers running into it, which keeps the microalgae concentration very low. Very little rainfall in combination with a high rate of evaporation also contribute to the Red Seas extremely high saline content.
Hurghada on Egypt's central east coast was one of earliest established dive region and today has the highest density of dive centers anywhere in the world. Hurghada still offers many high quality dive sites, but be aware that they are heavily frequented by divers from all over Europe. Diving is offered with comfortable, well equipped and well-maintained boats. If you are lucky and have a motivated dive guide on the boat, nothing will prevent you from having and excellent dive holiday.
Most dive sites are suitable for beginners, but experienced divers also get their money's worth with steep walls and strong currents. Many of the Hurghada reefs are now protected inside marine national park zones with very strict guidelines. There are fixed moorings on all the reefs and wastewater tanks are now compulsory for the dive boats. The reefs around Hurghada are also famous for frequent dolphin encounters, a delight for divers as well as snorkellers.
Sinai Peninsula - Sharm el Sheikh & Dahab regions
Sharm el Sheikh is located on the southern tip of Sinai Peninsula at the crossroads of the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba. Famous for more than 50 km of sandy beaches, its numerous dive sites have become world famous, such as "Shark Reef" in the Ras Mohammed National Park, the WWII wreck "Thistlegorm" or the reefs in the Strait of Tiran. From shallow coral gardens to wrecks and exhilarating walls and current dives, there is fantastic variety for beginners and experienced divers alike. Some reefs can easily be reached from the shore, others with day boats.
Dahab on the Gulf of Aqaba is much smaller and quieter than Sharm el Sheikh and only offers shore diving. Dahab's dive sites are popular for their healthy coral growth; but encounters with large fish or drift dives are rare. Dive sites such as "Blue Hole" or the "Canyon" are definitely worth a visit.
Sharm el Sheikh and Dahab regions
Sharm el Sheikh offers more than 30 dive sites. From shallow coral gardens, wrecks and the vertical walls, there is fantastic variety. Whether you are a beginner or experienced diver, the dive sites in the Sinai satisfy everyone according to their taste and ability. World-famous dive sites such as the "Shark Reef" in the Ras Mohammed National Park or the reefs in the Tiran straight have never lost any of their fascination. Sharm el Sheik is also a good starting point for the wreck of the Thistlegorm, which can be reached in a day trip.
Dahab only offers shore diving. The dive sites are popular for their healthy coral growth; but encounters with large fish are rare. Dive sites such as the "Blue Hole" or the "Canyon" are worth a visit and enjoy a legendary reputation.
Southern Red Sea
Development along Egypt's southern coastline is still in its infancy, and the southern Red Sea dive sites are not nearly as crowded as in the areas around Hurghada or Sharm el Sheik due to the current lack of infrastructure. However, several hotels with beautiful house reefs have already been built, and others will surely follow. The dive boats are usually of a lower standard, sometimes rubber dinghies are still used as day boats. Divers who are happy with very basic accommodation and don't mind staying in simple camp sites, will be rewarded by outstanding and still largely exploratory diving. The airport of Marsa Alam with the nearby piers at Port Ghalib are the gateway for a steadily growing number of deluxe liveaboards operating in the Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan regions.
A liveaboard excursion to the more remote offshore reefs is the best choice for a diving holiday in the Red Sea. It is the only way to get to the first-class dive sites like the Brother Islands, Elphinstone Reef, Rocky Island, Zabargad, Daedalus, and St. John's reefs in the southern regions of Egypt. Outstanding visibility is typical here for most of the year. Steep coral walls, medium to strong currents with the occasional wreck and plenty of encounters with sharks and pelagics make these cruises more suitable for experienced divers.
There is a huge variety of liveaboards in the Red Sea. We have selected only the most comfortable high-end liveaboards with international passenger profile.
There are very few dive sites where you will not meet any other divers. Especially the wrecks in the north, the Brother Islands and also Elphinstone reef are accessible by day boats and there is heavy traffic, particularly in the summer months, but even in the far south around St. John's reefs, Rocky Island, and Daedalus Reef some encounters with other liveaboard divers are highly likely.
Hurghada and Sharm el Sheik are the gateways for liveaboard excursions to the Northern Red Sea Reefs, and each airport receives many charter flights from overseas daily. Hurghada is closest to the Brother Islands, two isolated pinnacles with fantastic coral walls, two wrecks close to the reef, medium to strong currents and a lot of big fish. It can be a rough journey to get out there, but the quality of the diving is worth it.
Cruises from Sharm el Sheikh highlight two excellent historic wreck dives. The "Thistlegorm" and the "Rosalie Moller", both British freighters sunk in WWII by German aircraft should be added to the log book of any wreck enthusiast. Many cruises to the north start in Sharm el Sheik also include other wrecks at Abu Nuhas, as well as the Ras Mohammed National Park.
Marsa Alam/Port Ghalib is the most-southern gateway closest to the Sudanese border; the latest frontier in Red Sea Diving, but the Marsa Alam airport will propel the southern dive sites, like Daedalus Reef, Rocky Island and Shaab Maksur into the mainstream soon. The gorgeous multi-coloured walls of the St. John's reef group are among the highlights of this region. In Shaab Shaab and Sataia Samadai schools of dolphins are waiting for divers!