Each of the Red Sea’s numerous resorts offers something different, meaning diving on your holiday to Egypt can be a different experience every time. The allure of this place is in the explosive colours and stunning marine life, beautiful coral formations, reefs and sunken wrecks. New dive sites are scouted all of the time, many of these being accessible from multiple resorts by boat.
Egypt’s Red Sea diving and snorkeling opportunities are divided across three main resorts or areas:
- Mainland resorts to the north, including El Gouna and Hurghada
- Mainland resorts to the south including Marsa Alam and El Quseir
- On the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab are two of the country’s best known dive sites
Hurghada, El Gouna and Marsa Alam offer a proximity to ancient sites at Cairo and Luxor, which are more difficult to reach from the likes of Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab.
Hurghada is one of the coastal city of Egypt on the west coast of Red Sea. Red Sea is a world famous destination for snorkeling and sea-diving due to its warm crystal clear water with corals and its diversity of marine life, but majority of these diving spots are centered around the island of Ras Mohammad near the east coast in the vicinity of famous resort destinations like Sharm-el-Sheikh and Dahab. Hurghada is not as famous as Dahab or Sherm-el-Shiekh, but it is growing very fast as a dive destination in Egypt. Its less famous name makes it a perfect destination for snorkeling and diving at a relatively lower cost in comparison to Dahab and Sherm-el-Sheikh.
At present, there are 17 major wreck dives to explore in the Red Sea and a staggering 1,200 different species of fish found there – almost 20% of marine life being native to the Red Sea alone. Throughout the year, the water temperature drops to 20C, and peaks at 30C
The Red Sea coast of mainland Egypt and Southern Sinai is flanked by literally hundreds of dive sites (and an even greater number of dive shops). Dive operators in competitive areas such as Sharm El Sheikh sometimes offer free taster sessions in your hotel’s pool and tailored diving courses so that children as young as eight are able to try diving.
The Red Sea is a rich and diverse ecosystem. More than 1200 species of fish have been recorded in the Red Sea, and around 10% of these are found nowhere else. This also includes 42 species of deepwater fish.
The rich diversity is in part due to the 2,000 km (1,240 mi) of coral reef extending along its coastline; these fringing reefs are 5000–7000 years old and are largely formed of stony acropora and porites corals. The reefs form platforms and sometimes lagoons along the coast and occasional other features such as cylinders (such as the Blue Hole (Red Sea) at Dahab). These coastal reefs are also visited by pelagic species of Red Sea fish, including some of the 44 species of shark.
The special biodiversity of the area is recognized by the Egyptian government, who set up the Ras Mohammed National Park in 1983. The rules and regulations governing this area protect local marine life, which has become a major draw for diving enthusiasts.
For both the water quality and the sheer amount of marine life there is to see on a dive here, the Red Sea is unrivalled. Even on Christmas Day you could find yourself diving with dolphins, turtles, giant groupers, or swimming amidst a breath-taking shoal of butterfly fish.