For diving and snorkeling enthusiasts snorkeling, diving in the Red Sea is a must-do activity to enjoy one of the most attractive marine biodiversity in the world, ideal for experienced divers or travelers who want to live a unique adventure during their trip to Egypt and swim among corals, dolphins and sharks. Discover in our guide the best dive sites in the Red Sea and Sinai.

The best areas for diving and snorkeling in the Red Sea

Sharm el-Sheikh

For combined diving and beach vacations

Although today Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt’s southern Sinai, is known as a beach resort, it is still the main base for diving in Ras Mohammed National Park and the Strait of Tiran, two of the Red Sea’s most famous dive destinations. Some of the dive sites contained in these two areas rank among the best dives in the world. Access to the best dive sites around Sharm el-Sheikh is by boat on day trips. There are many dive options operating out of Sharm for those looking for a diving vacation primarily. One of the most popular options – which can easily be booked on a hotel stay – is the overnight dive trip to the Thistlegorm wreck in the Gubal Strait, off the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula.


For apprenticeship divers and longer dive stays

Dahab is a small beachside resort dedicated to diving. It is the hub for budget travelers in Sinai, who mostly want to avoid the luxury resort style of Sharm el-Sheikh to focus on a relaxed, activity-oriented style of tourism. It is known for its value for money diving activities and is home to Egypt’s freediving community. For all these reasons, Dahab is one of the best places to learn to dive in the Red Sea. This is due to the fact that many of Dahab’s dive sites are accessible from the shore itself and, of course, because of the lower price of accommodations, which makes the cost of long stays to complete several PADI qualifications more affordable.

Hurghada and El Gouna

To dive within reach of Lúxor

The coast around Hurghada was the original diving destination in the Egyptian Red Sea. Its popularity, as well as over-development, has caused much damage to dive sites in recent decades, to the point where today it is known for its luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts. This is by no means to say that divers should stay completely away from this region, as this is the closest base to a multitude of sites in the Gubal Strait of the Red Sea. For experienced divers, however, it is better to book a liveaboard vacation, rather than stay at a resort and dive the nearby reefs, which tend to be the most damaged and the most crowded. For travelers who want a trip that combines both diving and the chance to visit the historical sites of Luxor, the resorts of Hurghada and El Gouna remain the closest and easiest option, with Luxor within same-day round-trip distance.

Marsa Alam

For diving in deep south sites

Marsa Alam has been known among experienced divers as one of the best dive bases in the Red Sea, thanks to being the closest town to Egypt’s “deep south” dive sites, such as the Fury Shoals. Over the last decade, the coast around Marsa Alam has developed into a beach resort area and is now the meeting place for a number of large five-star resorts, as well as the simpler beach campsites focused only on diving. The dive sites here are more suitable for advanced divers, so, if you are a beginner diver looking for a beach resort and dive vacation, it is better to take a look at Sharm el-Sheikh or El Gouna first. If you are an experienced diver, Marsa Alam could be a very attractive destination for diving in the Red Sea.

Top 10 best dive sites in the Red Sea and Sinai

1. The shipwreck of Thistlegorm

The Thistlegorm is the most famous shipwreck in the Red Sea. This World War II cargo ship was carrying supplies for Allied troops in North Africa and was sunk by German fighter planes in the Gubal Strait in October 1941. The attack split the ship in two, quickly sinking to the bottom of the sea. The Thistlegorm wreck was discovered by Jacques Cousteau in 1956, but its location was kept secret until the mid-1990s. Diving there is like exploring a World War II submarine museum. The Thistlegorm’s cache of gun carriers, trucks and motorcycles are still in the hold, and the railroad cars the ship was carrying sit on the seabed next to the wreck. It can be reached by boat from Sharm el-Sheikh or Hurghada.
Diving in the Red Sea in The Wreck of Thistlegorm

The shipwreck of Thistlegorm

2. Shark and Jolanda Reefs

Most divers heading to Sharm el-Sheikh for the first time are here to dive these two reefs, ranked among the top 10 dive sites in the world. Shark and Jolanda reefs are located within the Red Sea protected area of Ras Mohammed National Park, just off the southern point of the Ras Mohammed peninsula, easily accessible by boat from Sharm el-Sheikh. Due to the currents, this is a major diving destination offering the best of marine life and the famous underwater views of soft coral in the Red Sea, as well as the wreck of the Cypriot cargo ship Jolanda. Marine life here is abundant, with large schools of a variety of small and colorful species of reef fish along with barracudas, snappers and tuna, turtles, giant moray eels, manta rays and sharks. The variety of coral here is as impressive as the marine life, with colorful coral pinnacles and walls covered with bright coral gardens. Normally the dive ends with an exploration of the wreck of the Jolanda, which was carrying a cargo of porcelain bathing equipment, its cargo left on the seabed when it sank in 1980.

3. The shoals of Fury

The Fury Shoals is a group of several reefs extending southward from Marsa Alam to Berenice, in the deep southern Red Sea of Egypt. The coral gardens here are notable for being among the most pristine in the Red Sea, with more limited numbers of divers in this area there are excellent opportunities for marine life observation. Whitetip sharks and manta rays are regularly seen, as well as turtles, dolphins and numerous octopuses, barracudas, various reef fish and nudibranchs. These deep south dive sites offer one of the best opportunities for the rare sighting of the Red Sea dugong.
Red Sea Dugong

Red Sea Dugong

The dive sites located in the Fury Shoals offer a very interesting variety of diving, from steep underwater cliffs embedded in corals and swimming tunnels, to exploring small wrecks. The Fury Shoals can be reached by boat on dive trips from Marsa Alam. Boat operators also offer multi-day dive trips to the Fury Shoals departing from Marsa Alam and Hurghada.

4. Jackson Reef and the Lara shipwreck

Jackson Reef is the northernmost reef in the Strait of Tiran. The Strait of Tiran is located north of Sharm el-Sheikh, from where you can reach Jackson Reef by a day trip by boat from Sharm el-Sheikh, interesting for experienced divers because of its strong currents. Reef fish flit around the coral gardens, while larger marine life, seen regularly, includes hammerhead sharks, gray reef sharks, whitetip sharks, large moray eels, octopus, barracuda and schools of tuna. The wreck of the Cypriot freighter Lara, sunk in 1981, can also be explored on the northern edge of the reef.

5. Elphinstone Reef

Just north of Marsa Alam, Elphinstone Reef is one of the great attractions of a diving vacation in Marsa Alam, known for its marine life and the abundance and variety of soft corals that carpet the deep plateaus of the reef. With its often fast currents, Elphinstone is a brilliant drift dive destination. The reef drops to 42 meters, with vertical cliffs, caves and coral pinnacles, which can be explored in the shallower depths. The site is famous among the diving community for its shark sightings: oceanic whitetips and hammerheads, along with gray reef sharks and blacktips are regularly seen. Due to the currents and depths Elphinstone is not a suitable destination for beginners or inexperienced divers. This is the most popular dive site in the deep south of Egypt due to the easy access by boat from Marsa Alam.

6. The Elder Brother and the Island of the Younger Brother

The isolated Brothers Islands (halfway between Hurghada and Marsa Alam) are part of the protected islands of Egypt’s marine park and have restrictions on divers who can dive here. The good news is that the dive operator is the one who takes care of the paperwork to obtain the permits. You only need to be able to justify your diving experience to obtain entry. Most of the dive sites here are advanced level only. The Brothers Islands, accessed on dive trips (departing from Hurghada or Marsa Alam), only receive a handful of divers compared to other sites in the Red Sea. The seven dive sites in the area are known for their particularly common sightings of sharks, oceanic whitetips and hammerheads. There are a large number of other smaller reef fish and huge schools of larger fish. Off Big Brother Island, the fringing reef, carpeted with different soft colored corals, is the highlight, plus it is possible to explore two nearby shipwrecks.

7. Homas Reef and Gordon Reef

These two reefs are located in the Strait of Tiran and are generally accessed on day trips by boat from Sharm el-Sheikh. There are four reefs in the Strait of Tiran, two of which are at the southernmost end of the reef system, so they can often be explored together on a day trip. The reef walls here feature steep drop-offs leading to the yawning plateaus of the coral garden. Thomas Reef is the smaller of the two and the more popular dive because of its variety of colorful hard and soft corals, including whip corals, black corals, and huge gorgonians. Both reefs are known for their multitude of reef fish, plus regular sightings of sharks and turtles, with hammerheads, tiger sharks and gray reef sharks regularly seen. The currents are strong here, so this is a site for advanced divers.

8. Shaab Samadai

This horseshoe-shaped reef south of Marsa Alam is a protected area, there is a limit on the number of daily visitors due to the spinner dolphins, which are regular visitors here. Whether the dolphins show up or not, Shaab Samadai is a dive site with plenty of variety to offer divers, known for its multitude of coral pinnacles, as well as a canyon for more experienced divers. Those who do not want to dive, but would like the opportunity to see the dolphins of Shaab Samadai, can usually join one of the dive boats as a snorkeler. The dive site is accessible by day boat excursion from Marsa Alam or by boat excursions from Marsa Alam and Hurghada.

9. Dunraven Shipwreck

Located at the southwestern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, the Dunraven wreck is an 80-meter-long steamship that struck the reef here on its return voyage to the UK from India and sank (with the entire crew saved by local fishermen) in 1876. Abundant fish have made their home here, and divers interested in macro marine life will be particularly happy, as there are abundant nudibranchs to be seen. Reef fish inhabiting the wreck include scorpionfish, pipefish and Napoleon wrasse. If you are on a trip aboard from Hurghada or Sharm el-Sheikh to the Thistlegorm wreck, the Dunraven dive is usually included in the trip. It is also accessible by boat on a day trip from Sharm.

10. The blue hole

Just north of Dahab, this sinkhole, which descends vertically to about 120 meters, is Egypt’s most notorious dive site due to the number of lives it has claimed. Despite its reputation, however, as long as you dive safely within normal recreational diving depth limits, diving here is as safe as other sites. Only highly advanced technical divers, with specialized equipment to counteract the effects of nitrogen narcosis and oxygen poisoning, should attempt to venture deeper than this and even then they should be highly prepared and trained beforehand. All of the Blue Hole deaths have occurred outside normal recreational diving depth limits. On a normal recreational dive here, there are numerous different corals and small fish to observe, including plenty of flying clownfish. The edge of the sinkhole, accessed from the shore, is also a popular snorkeling destination due to the rich variety of fish life. External links: Coordinates and maps of dive sites. Dive centers in the Red Sea by location Diving centers in the Red Sea.

Red Sea water temperature during the year

Tabla de la temperatura promedio del agua en Mar Rojo

Top 10 Best Dive Sites Red Sea Photos

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