When talking of scuba diving, only a few other locations in the globe crop up is such conversations like the Red Sea does. Those who have had a scuba dive Egypt experience know that this is usually a ‘wow’ conversation.
Teaming with warm, clear turquoise waters and abundant marine life, Egypt can be termed as a divers paradise. The Red Sea that spans Egypt’s eastern coastline forms the center stage of the majority of the diving and marine activities in the country. It was named after the seasonal algal blooms that paint the sea red.
About Scuba Dive Egypt
The Red Sea provides an exceptional experience to divers and snorkelers alike. It is home to over 1,000 species of invertebrates with over 20% of these being endemic to the Red Sea. It also features over 200 species of hard and soft coral. There is also a full gambit of diving opportunities in Egypt. These include walls, wrecks, drifts, pinnacles, day boats, shore dives, and liveaboards as well, spread across various scuba dive Egypt sites.
As such, if you have never been to the Red Sea before, be prepared to encounter some exciting new experiences. Thanks to the little wave action, even beginners can get to enjoy the experience without much worry. There are also exciting open ocean scuba dive Egypt sites which are attractive locations for advanced divers or for technical diving and training.
Scuba Dive Egypt Conditions.
The Red Sea diving conditions are idyllic. You will be surprised to know that the water temperatures rarely fall below 71°F even during the coldest months i.e. December – February. In the southern Red Sea, water temperatures usually reach 86°F in summer. The weather is also favorable on the northern parts with water temperatures ranging between 68°F – 104°F throughout the year.
The Depth ranges from 15 to 130 feet with coral reefs being one of the shallowest parts. Typical dive sites depth ranges from 30 to 65 feet deep. Visibility is also staggering, which can reach up to the depths of 130 feet. As a result, the divers are treated to a veritable aquarium experience which also gives the underwater photographers a chance to take perfect shots.
Now that you have become well acquainted with the Red Sea, let us look at the top 10 Scuba dives in Egypt:
1. Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh is one of the most popular diving destinations in Egypt that is tucked at the on the southern tip of the Sinai. The region features a wide range of diving activities including wreck diving, drift diving, wall diving for both beginners and advanced divers. You are likely to encounter schooling fish and big pelagics such as manta rays and whale sharks, turtles, beautiful coral, and even nondiving activities.
Its location is what makes Sharm such a popular scuba dive Egypt site. As a result, divers are treated to a mix of challenging and easy dives suitable for fast drifts and entry-level training as well. Shore diving is also a suitable option, though most prefer to go out into the sea in boats to explore shipwrecks and the best of the reefs.
2. Ras Mohammed National Park
The Red Sea is renowned to have stable and healthy reefs in a time where other major reefs across the globe are feeling the impact of marine pollution and climate change. Ras Mohammed National Park boasts harboring one of the region’s pristine reefs.
The park has quite a history. It is the oldest and the best kept national park in Egypt. It lends its name to the wind-carved cliff in the area, that is said to resemble Prophet Mohammed features who is believed to have visited the place in the 7th century. The park features vertical overhangs that run over 300 feet deep.
Being situated at the juncture of the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez the waters of varying salinity get to mix. As a result, the region teems with a spectacular array coral reef, luxuriant sea walls, and marine life. This makes it one of the most ideal and unforgettable scuba dive Egypt location. You can only dive in designated areas, and the park is closed by sunset.
3. S.S. Thistlegorm
Egypt is also a key wreck diving destination with several of these being World War II wrecks. One of the most iconic wreck diving site is the S.S. Thistlegorm which was a merchant ship that was converted into a military cargo ship in 1940. It was sunk by German bombers in 1941 while shipping supplies to North Africa.
The Thistlegorm wreck site is located 25 miles from Sharm El Sheikh on the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Today, the British army freighter sits on the sea bed at 100 feet. Her split hull reveals a wide range of wartime treasures including weapons, motorbikes, and armored cars. The wreck site is best dived from a liveaboard boat in the early morning. This is because there is a lot of traffic later in the day in terms of divers and boats.
4. Shaab Abu Nuhas Reef
The Shaab Abu Nuhas reef lies north of Hurghada, a popular resort town. It is a renowned shipwreck scuba dive Egypt site thanks to its treacherous shoals that for centuries have claimed many ships. Its most recognized casualties include:
• The Carnatic, a merchant ship sunk in 1869
• The Giannis D, a cargo vessel sunk in 1983
• The Chrisoula K, a freighter sunk in 1981
These among other wrecks found in the location have a unique history. There is no better way to have a firsthand experience of these stories than diving to their final resting places. This dive site gives you the chance to experience the Red Sea’s most charismatic underwater species. During the summer, (May – July) the region teems with filter-feeding behemoths, including the balletic manta ray and the whale shark (the world’s largest fish).
5. Big Brother, Hurghada
This is another popular scuba dive Egypt site you cannot afford to miss when exploring the Red Sea. The region has two small islands (Little Brother and Big Brother) that feature pristine corals. They are also a great destination for the adrenaline rush seekers through shark encounters.
Beneath the Big Brother waters lies a 250 feet wreck, that sank in 1957 after crashing into land while delivering items to the island. Sitting on a slant between 80 to 22o feet, Aida II is covered in magnificent coral. You actually have to see it, to grasp the magnificence of the colors that are out of this world.
You can as well play captain at the depth of 115 feet by venturing into the open engine room. If you are looking for underwater photography opportunities, the large-lipped Napoleon Wrasse fish, native to this region and the beautiful coral will keep you busy.
6. St. John and the deep south
The Deep South has the most unspoiled and pristine reefs in the Egyptian Red Sea. As such, there are a lot of scuba dive sites in this region such as the Rocky Island, St. John’s, and Zabargad only accessible by liveaboard.
If you are looking for a fairly easy diving site, St John’s is recommended. You will also get to contact with the most exceptional and diverse wildlife more and spectacular gorgonian forests. Experienced divers can explore Zabargad and Rocky Island, to experience some thrilling drift dives thanks to the strong currents in the deep sea. Hammerheads, manta, Silvertips, and dolphins are regular sightings.
7. Shark and Yolanda Reef
If you’re looking for a dive that is not only thrilling but also quite bizarre, the Shark and Yolanda scuba dive Egypt will give you exactly that. You will be swimming past a wide range of bathroom products such as toilet baths, bowls, slates among others that come from a ship that sank in 1980.
You can as well take underwater photos seated on the toilet. Careful though to check inside first because as moray eels often make toilet bowls and other crevices their homes. Beware that the currents are quite strong, so you might need some diving experience before you take a plunge.
8. The Jackson Reef
The first thing that will amaze you at the Jackson reef is the outstanding colors thanks to the clear waters that expose the coral. You get a feeling that the reef has been painted on the ocean floor. Though beautiful especially the orange and red fire corals, avoid touching them because it hurts. You are likely to spot gray reef sharks, white tip reef sharks and the manta rays at any time of the year. Moreover, the dive site is just a 30-minute boat ride from Sharm.
9. Elphinstone Reef
If you looking for some drift diving thrills, the Elphinstone Reef is the perfect site. The reef features steep walls that are 30 to 80 feet deep and 260 feet long surrounded by pretty strong currents. You can as well float past the myriad fan corals, fusiliers, and anthias while at it. You are likely to spot Hammerheads, Oceanic white tip reef sharks, tiger sharks, and dolphins as well. The site is just 20-minute boat ride away from the Marsa Alam shores.
10. Daedalus reef
The southerly reefs like such as the Daedalus are the perfect scuba dive Egypt sites for megafauna lovers. This is where you get the best chance to swim alongside the elusive and the rather unpredictable oceanic whitetip. However, worry not, with expert guidance, you will be able to encounter them safely in their own environment.
Egypt is called a scuba divers paradise for a good reason. The seas are not only the warmest but also have unsurpassed visibility. Not to mention, calling Egypt waters calm and clear would be an understatement. Any serious scuba diver would love to experience a piece of this heaven.