Egyptian dive sites
The strikingly beautiful and diverse marine life of the Egyptian Red Sea, coupled with warm, crystal-clear water and genial sunshine, affords great pleasure to all scuba diving lovers.
Egypt justly takes pride in many top-ranked dive sites, ranging from the magnificent coral formations of southern Sinai to the offshore splendor of the deep south. Such picturesque dive sites as the Ras Muhammad National Park have become popular tourist spots; still there are plenty of little-developed, remote, and truly pristine reefs left for devotees of solitude. With more than 1500 km of coastline, there is hardly a chance you couldn’t find an Egyptian dive site for yourself.
The Red Sea marine life is represented by a vast range of coral species. The abounding fish life of the Red Sea astounds even seasoned divers and finds its way to the world’s best aquariums.
The Bells dive site is located north of Dahab, just a short distance from another famous dive site—the Blue Hole. Although the site is accessible by car, you still need to take a short walk to its entry point along the shore. Access to the site can be troublesome due to the high waves, although the entry is fairly protected. The average immersion depth is 20 m, and the maximum allowed depth is 50 m. The visibility is fair to 20 m.
The Bells dive site presents a spectacular sight of sheer cliffs, set with hollows, cusps, and caverns. You set off in a small slot in the isolated reef, situated 100 m north of the Blue Hole lagoon. On reaching the maximum allowed depth, it is recommended that you rise slowly and follow the reef south to the edge of the Blue Hole lagoon, where you will find the exit point of the site.
Coral formations aren’t really impressive here, but a curious diver will find cabbage and plate corals, as well as white soft corals. The fish life is moderate. The Bells dive site is a sheer wall site, and for this reason, particular care should be taken. In order to avoid accidents, divers should not exceed the maximum allowed depth.
The Blue Hole
The Blue Hole is, without doubt , one of the most impressive dive sites in Egypt. It is situated a few kilometers to the north of the Dahab village and can easily be reached by car. The dive is normally uncomplicated, but accidents frequently occur when divers, who overrate their capacities, attempt to go beyond the recommended immersion depth. The Blue Hole average diving depth is 20 m and the maximum allowed depth is 50 m; the average visibility is 20 m.
In order to start your dive, you will have to go through a huge, deep, circular hole about 50 m across. The passage goes all the way to the bottom (that’s where the name comes from). The feature that really excites the imagination of the diver is the hidden gateway to the open sea, called the Arch.
The marine life in the lagoon is rather poor and coral growth is unimpressive. Though offshore, you can come across some fascinating samples of tropical fish, such as angelfish, unicorn fish, surgeonfish, grouper, and parrotfish.
Amid safety concerns, divers are strongly recommended to remain above the immersion depth limits.
The Canyon lies to the north of Dahab and midway to the Blue Hole dive site, and is one of Egypt’s most prolific dive sites for marine life. You can drive right up to the beach and start your dive.
When entering the water, be very careful because of high waves and frequent gales. The average immersion depth is 20 m and the maximum depth permitted is 50 m. The average visibility is 20 m.
The dive site gets its name from a fascinating reef tunnel, which begins in the shallow waters and turns into a slopping reef further out to sea.
After a shore entry, you pass through a sandy lagoon not far from the beach. The waters of the Canyon abound with schools of brilliantly colored fish, including puffer fish, unicorn fish, snapper, basslets, rabbit fish, grouper, and all sorts of sweepers.
A very popular Egyptian dive site is The Lighthouse. It is situated right in the bay, close to the lighthouse of Dahab. You can get there by car from one of the Dahab dive centers. Immersion should not be any problem at all since the entrance is sheltered from waves and currents. The average immersion depth is 18 m; the maximum permitted depth is 30 m. Fair visibility of about 20 m allows for high pointing during your dive.
The site is ideally suited to all types of divers, from novice- to pro-divers. The dive site is a northwardly extended, descending cay, belting a shelf of coastal land. The reef provides a good variety of marine life. Trumpet fish, unicorn fish, surgeonfish, wrasse, and grouper can all be found here. The local authorities consider it necessary to warn divers against the danger of a sudden windsurfer collision.
Abu Hilal / The Small Canyon
The Small Canyon dive site is located between the village of Dahab and the Canyon dive site. It is a shore dive site that can be approached by car. Immersion can be problematic due to high waves and gales. Its average diving depth is 20 m and the maximum allowed depth is 50 m. The average visibility is around 20 m.
This dive site is one of the biggest of the Egyptian dive sites. It consists of a reef tip that descends steeply into the sea for a distance of 10-12 m. The entrance to the Canyon dive site leads to a shallow lagoon about 12 m deep, protected from wind and waves by a reef foreland that protrudes far into the sea.
The Canyon itself is situated approximately 30 m from the shore. The site is rather challenging; it is winding and incredibly narrow. Its few exit points are hard to find, and they are located far from the shore. The site extends far beyond the diving avenue, and that is why no outside penetration is possible here.
Many species of coral are to be found around the Small Canyon dive site, along with innumerable spectacular fish species. You will come across big groupers, wrasse, unicorn fish, triggerfish, starry puffers, and magnificent sea turtles.
The Eel Garden
This dive site is situated north of Dahab’s Bedouin village. You can get there by car. Entry is usually made from the shore, but the heavy surf can make it a tricky job. The average diving depth in the region is 18 m; the maximum allowed immersion depth is 30 m. The visibility reaches 20 m. The Eel Garden dive spot is reached through a narrow, sandy lagoon that leads to a gently sloping wall dive, with an entry point 7 m across the reef.
The sea-life here flourishes, with several types of hard and soft corals, including Acropola, plate cabbage coral, Dendronephthya, and Xeniids. Anemones can also be frequently seen here.
The main attraction at the site is its great colonies of eels; but it also boasts many other types of reef fish, such as lionfish, basslets, unicorn fish, parrotfish, sand gobies, and pipefish.
The Gabr el Bint
The Gabr el Bint dive site is situated on the coast of Dahab, a few kilometers away from another famous dive site, the Caves. The site can be accessed by boat or by shore. It will take you 10 minutes by car and another hour’s camel ride from Dahab. The bay arm protects the site from the wind. The average diving depth here is 20 m; the maximum allowed depth is 50 m. The average visibility is 20 m.
The site features an unbelievably beautiful steep reef wall that drops down to about 50 m. Northward, around the point, the upper reef slope widens, sheltering a virtual forest of soft corals as well as multiple gorgonias. Just past the point, is a huge sandy lagoon. It is studded with coral heads, prominent from the surface.
One of Egypt’s most isolated dive sites, it is an excellent place to keep watch over playful crocodilefish and marvelous rays.
Despite its remoteness, the site is considered to be one of the finest and most unusual in Egypt and is totally worth a visit.
The End of the Road Reef
The End of the Road Reef is located at the extreme end of the Nabeq coastal road, to the north of Sharm el Sheikh. The best way to get to the site is by car from Sharm el Sheikh. In bad weather conditions, reef top entry may be challenging and even dangerous. The average diving depth here is 20 m, and the maximum allowed depth is 60 m. The average visibility is around 30 m.
The dive site is a half-sunken isle about 15 m out to sea. To the south, a deep 65 m canyon girds the reef isle. The reef is cut off from the shore by a narrow sandy canyon about 10 m deep.
Coral growth in the region is splendid. The End of the Road Reef proudly presents a wide array of rich and excellently preserved coral species. Marine life is equally abundant and includes all the species illustrative of Egypt’s best dive sites.
Local authorities warn tourists to be careful of minefields located nearby and to stick to the marked routes.
The Nabeq dive site is located about 20 km north of Sharm el Sheikh. You can get there by car from Sharm el Sheikh. It is a shore dive site. Entry should not be problematic as it is in a protected area, but it may take you a while to reach the entry point through the shallow waters. The average diving depth is 10 m, and the maximum permitted depth of the site is 18 m. The average visibility is 15 m.
The dive site consists of a big group of coral tops and pinpoint rocks in shallow waters. The bottom is covered with sea grass, limestone pinnacles, and huge corals, some of which nearly reach the surface.
These blocks of both soft and hard corals give shelter to a vast number of reef fish. A diver can come across triggers, rabbit fish, jacks, grouper and many others.
It is strongly recommended that divers stay within the stated boundaries of the route.
Ras Muhammad National Park
The Ras Muhammad National Park is the gem of the Sinai Peninsula and is Egypt’s finest dive site . This park is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque locations and is extremely popular with the world diving community. Although there is no lack of tourists, there are still plenty of almost unexplored wilderness diving areas. Another famous place of interest nearby is the Strait of Tiran, with its magnificent offshore reefs.
The park is world famous for its unique coral formations and fantastical aquatic fauna, ranging from great humphead wrasse, which can reach 2 m long, to tiny, brilliant basslets. Reef sharks, turtles, and dolphins are also widespread in the area in certain seasons.
The Gordon Reef
The Gorden Reef dive site is the most southerly reef of all the Egyptian dive sites. The reef can be reached by local or live-aboard boat from Sharm el Sheikh, Naama Bay, or a number of other ports. As the site is famous for its strong, sweeping currents, shore entry can be complicated.
The average diving depth here is about 15 m and the maximum depth allowed is 35 m. The visibility is fair and can reach 20 m.
The dive site consists of a vast, oval, plateau-like, descending reef that stretches out to the southeast of the reef top. The structure of the reef is quite heterogeneous. It includes sand beds, patchy sections, and huge coral formations teeming with life.
However, what makes the place truly unique is its world famous shark ‘amphitheater’, which stands right in the middle of the reef slope at a depth of 24 m. At the bottom are dozens of sleeping sharks, buried in the sand.
The marine life of the Gordon Reef dive site is not much to boast about; still, an attentive diver will likely encounter big moray eels, triggerfish, angelfish, wrasse, parrotfish, and jacks.
The Ras Nusrani
The Ras Nusrani reef is another Egyptian dive site fancied by divers from all over the world. It is located at the western mainland point at the southern end of the Strait of Tiran. You can get there by shore or by local boat from one of the neighboring ports.
This dive site is not recommended for novice-divers since currents can be extremely violent. The average diving depth is 20 m and the maximum depth permitted is 40 m. Ras Nusrani offers 20 m visibility.
The dive site appears to be a slanting wall; it is really a bluff in places. The reef is thickly covered with massive, truly captivating, soft and hard corals. A large variety of colorful fish, including morays, fusiliers, jacks, surgeonfish, needlefish, and barracudas, swim close to the reef. Huge, dignified turtles occasionally appear, thrilling divers .
The Shark Bay dive site is situated on the coast at Shark bay, south of Ras Nusrani. The dive site can be reached by shore and by local boat from one of the ports. Shore entry is quite comfortable, though divers should beware of intensive boat traffic.
The average diving depth here is 20 m, and the maximum depth permitted is 60 m. Diving takes place under excellent visibility conditions, the average being about 20 m.
The Shark Bay dive site is a slanting reef that develops into a sandy lagoon, which serves as a jetty and boat area. Southward, the reef is slightly slanted and dotted with beautiful corals. In the north, the reef forms a narrow area, which is perfect for snorkeling.
Marine life in the region is an amazing sight, featuring angelfish, parrotfish, grouper, wrasse, morays, flatfish, and octopuses.
The Anemone City
The Anemone City dive site is located just inshore from the Shark Reef dive site. It can be reached by land or by local and live-aboard boat from one of the nearby ports. This dive site is famous for its strong currents and mild slopes at places, so shore entry can be a problem. The average immersion depth is 18 m and the maximum allowed depth is 40 m. The visibility here reaches 20 m.
The Anemone City dive site is reputed to be one of the prettiest sites in Egypt. The reef plunges down, its surface cut by straits and curves .
Coral scrubs in the Anemone City dive zone are magnificent and rich. Fish life is luxuriant, and anemone fish, barracuda, and silvery needlefish are just some of the varieties to be found.