Red Sea

4.33333333333
(6 REVIEWS)

 

Country: Egypt

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Red Sea in a Nutshell

The Red Sea is a popular dive area that has a plentiful marine life. It is easily accessed from Europe and boasts warm water and generally great visibility. The main tourist hubs are in the northern regions, but the crowds thin in the southern areas.

 

Intro to the Red Sea

Due to its high evaporation rate, miniscule rainfall, and relative geographical isolation, the Red Sea has one of the world's highest rates of salinity. These same conditions provide excellent diving weather; the Red Sea generally boasts 360 dive days per year, with cooler temperatures from October to May and summer conditions from June to September. The Red Sea has few river tributaries feeding into it, which means limited microalgae and excellent visibility. The countries surrounding the Red Sea include Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Most visitors, lured by the rich history and topside destinations such as Luxor and Cairo, travel through Egypt.

 

   

 

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Diving Information 

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Marine Life

The Red Sea is known for its prolific marine life, hosting over a thousand fish species, 20% of which exist exclusively in this body of water. Its very sunny conditions make it ideal for coral growth and indeed, over 200 soft and hard corals can be found in the extensive gardens lining the shallow shelves. Beyond these lively shallows, the median central trench dives to depths of over 7000 feet, supporting a water circulation system that supports a healthy marine environment.  

 

Red Sea Typical Dive

The Red Sea boasts excellent, easy shore diving out of Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh. Sharm el-Sheikh is also home to many impressive dive sites which are easily reached on day trips from the city. Most divers choose to utilize scuba dive liveaboards, however, in order to avoid the crowds of the northern region and gain access to remote dive sites such as Brother Islands and Elphinstone Reef. Liveaboard itineraries are varied and generally span 7 days. The Red Sea hosts multiple wrecks including several WWII ships containing numerous artifacts.

 

Diving Conditions

  • Water Temperatures: Temperatures in the Red Sea reach 84 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months, with temperatures as low as 70 degrees in the cooler months.
  • Visibility: Visibility is excellent, reaching up to 200 feet
  • Depth Range: 5 - 30m (16 - 98 feet)
  • Current: There are drift dives available, but for the most part, the Red Sea maintains very calm conditions. There are sites to suit every diver from beginner to advanced.

 

Top Dive Sites

  • The Brothers - Big Brother and Little Brother are two tiny islands about 5-minute boat ride apart from each other, about 60km offshore. At recreational depth, the islands present themselves to divers as vertical walls densely covered by hard and soft corals, full of small caves, & overhangs. Due to their isolated location in the middle of the Red Sea, they tend to attract all manner of pelagic visitors. Big Brother also features 2 wrecks, the Numidia and the Aida.
  • Elphinstone Reef - An offshore reef which lays about 6 miles offshore. It is a beauty of its own with lots of marine life. Highlights include oceanic whitetip sharks, Napoleon wrasse fish and occasional hammerhead sharks.
  • Abu Dabbab - A bay with a sandy beach and with lots of seagrass in the seabed which is only about 12 m ( 40 Feet ) deep which attracts dugongs and large numbers of huge green sea turtles.
  • Dolphin House - An offshore reef which is home to a large number of dolphins as a resting place. Strong restrictions apply about diving and snorkeling with the dolphins there in order not to disturb them. Cave diving is also possible here. 

 

 

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Travel Information 

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How to Get There

Flights from the UK and many major European cities to Sharm and Hurghada are plentiful and cheap, with daily departures. Flights to Marsa Alam are somewhat less frequent. From the US, Egypt Air runs some direct flights from to Sharm, and Delta operates a direct flight to Cairo (you will then need to connect.) There are also many 1 and 2 connection flights available from most major airports.  

 

How to Dive the Red Sea

There are dive centers that run day boat trips to local dive sites. But getting on a liveaboard is a great option to get more number of dives and explore the dives sites before they get crowded.  

 

Best Time to Dive the Red Sea

Diving is available year-round, with cooler temperatures from October to May and summer conditions from June to September.

 

Topside & Non-Diving Activities

The opportunities are endless; Explore the Valley of Kings in Luxor, take a camel ride to visit the pyramids, or spend a few days in the city of Alexandria - the second most powerful city in the ancient world (following Rome).

 

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Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)
  • Electricity: 220 V
  • Main Airport Code: CAI
  • Language: The official language of Egypt is Arabic. The main foreign languages there are English & French
  • Safety: Egyptians are very friendly and hospitality is highly honored. It is an Islamic country and therefore a certain behavior from visitors is expected. Polite curiosity by the locals about the visitor is normal.

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Reviews (6)

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I found the reefs in the Red Sea to be spectacular with the visibility better than any other place in the world I have dived. The Red Sea Aggressor was large and comfortable with excellent food. Amazingly, the price of this trip is the least expensive liveaboard you will find anywhere with all of the amenities of a significantly more expensive trip. This trip has it all from large sharks to rare endemic fish and invertebrates only found in the Red Sea. As a bonus, see the ancient ruins in Egypt at the end of the trip. I will definitely go back and dive there again, it is an underwater photgrapher’s dream destination!

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 11/27/2017
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It is a great place to see sharks in the red sea, there are white tip sharks, grey reef sharks, great hammerheads and even tresher sharks. It is a great place to see some spectacular wrecks and also has great reef live and warm waters. The weather is hot but the conditions of the sea vary.

Visited on 09/2013 - Submitted on 05/31/2014
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3 day Liveaboard to thistlegorm wreck was my last great diving trip.... if wreck diving is the ultimatum of diving, then Thistlegorm is the ultimatum of wreck. 140m long, 3 stories, lots and lots of well preserved weaponry of WWII.

also went to Ras Mohamed and did 2 great drift dives there, amazing bottom and lots of marine life.
Careless reef in Hurghada is also one of the best dives in that trip. Lots of gaint morays' turtles and baracudas

Water is crystal clear with 30+ meters visibility, water temp around 24 degree celsius and calm surface except for thistlegorm which was pretty rough surface as it was bombed by a german plane in ww2 (didn't hit the reef as most of redsea wrecks, nearby reefs causes calm surface)

As for topside, the weather is really good, I slept all nights on the sun deck of the boat. Only used the room for bathroom and storage. Before starting the livaboard I arrived at hurghada two nights earlier, learned water skiing and enjoying the nights in local pubs, really fun.

As for prices, Egypt is the place you go if you want to plan a low budget vacation yet as exciting as anywhere else in the world, topside or underwater.. trust me you'll enjoy it. You could get the 3 days livaboard as low as 200 euros

Visited on 05/2014 - Submitted on 05/26/2014
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RED SEA - REVIEW OF DAHAB

I've been to the Red Sea a few times and it's a place I will keep going back to. I normally stay in Dahab, which is about an hours drive from Sharm el Sheikh airport.

The diving there is really easy, it's mostly shore diving, so you just kit up and fall in the water. The entries and exits are very easy (especially compared to the UK!). The visibility is also fantastic, you can normally see another diver clearly around 20m away. The variety of fish life that you can see is unbelievable, and it starts as soon as you put your head in the water. As a photographer, I love seeing the hundreds of lionfish around, as well as loads of different nudibranchs. There are also loads of unicorn fish, parrotfish, cornet fish and, of course, you can find Nemo! The reefs are beautiful, and start right at the surface, again, great for photography, and are surrounded by angelfish, butterfly fish and anthias.

One of the best things about the Red Sea is the warm water, it was 28 degrees C! In think September is the best time to go, but even in the middle of winter the water is still around 22 degrees, and the air temp around 20, so it's still warmer than Europe! And there isn't really any current, so all the diving is really easy.

My favourite sites are the Canyon (a big crack in the ground which starts at around 18m and goes down to 30m and beyond) and Bannerfish Bay (the bay right in the middle of town that has amazing variety- I saw lionfish, turtle, a huge napolean and seahorses all on one dive!).

Aside from photographers, Dahab would be great for all level divers, you even regularly see tech dives with their multitude of tanks!

In the evenings there are loads of restaurants along the seafront, and a couple of bars. On our last day we were going to go windsurfing, but were too tired, so we ended up looking around all the shops, and had fun bartering for some presents.

Visited on 09/2012 - Submitted on 03/01/2014
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DAHAB

I have been diving in Dahab, Red Sea, quite a few times now. I am a dive instructor and have been diving in a few countries around the world in my 17 years of diving. I am writing this review to talk about the marine life and diving conditions in Dahab.

Dahab is a popular but still small touristic resort (compared to Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada) on the South Sinai Peninsula and in the Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea. It is a very peaceful place where you can still mingle with locals, Bedouins and Egyptian, as they live their village-life. It is an unusual place as 90% of the diving is shore-based, contrarily to a lot of dive resorts in the Red Sea. There is roughly a 20 km long coastline accessible to dive, with 20 to 30 different dive sites open to various levels of diving. Also, the great depths that are accessible just a few meters away from the coastline gave Dahab its reputation as a favorite tec diving destination.

With famous dive sites like the Canyon (underwater Canyon that ranges from -20 to -55m) and the Bells-Blue Hole (drop-off in a chimney, drift on a wall, the inside of the Blue Hole drops to 110 m) , Dahab attracts a lot of divers all year round. But these very famous dive sites are not all that Dahab has to offer. The diving conditions are great 360 days out of 365, with only a few days out of the water in case of great wind and or south wind conditions. Shore diving makes it easy to dive, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned diver. There is a challenge for everyone. Not-to-be missed divesites include the Lighthouse, in the city center, for its array of marine life (crocodilefish, lionfish, stonefish, rays, octopus, etc.), the Islands, between Masbat Bay and the Lagoona, for its unusual coral features and labyrinth, and the National Park of Ras abu Galum, located North of the Blue Hole, for its near-pristine reefs and mostly for the camel trek to reach the Bedouin settlement, where you can stay overnight and enjoy sleeping under the stars.

Other dive sites that I personally recommend are Bannerfish Bay, Mashraba and Abu Telha. Bannerfish Bay is the bay located between Lighthouse and Mashraba in the city center. Although it doesn't look very impressive compared to other dive sites in the area, I found that it hosts the most biodiversity around town, specially for small stuff. It's a bit like muck diving actually. The bay is full of seagrass, which makes it the best (only) site to spot green turtles and seahorses, but you can also find morays, shrimpfish, frogfish, nudibranchs, seamoths, shrimps, catfish schools, ornate ghost pipefish and other amazing sea creatures on the sand or the reef. Mashraba is the next dive site, it continues with seagrass until it reaches a reef that is less dived and less colorful than Lighthouse, but hosts bigger marine life like snappers, stingrays, hawksbill turtles, big groupers, Napoleons, etc. Then there are dive sites like Abu Telha/Abu Helal/Tiger House that are hardly ever dived for some reason, where the coral is untouched by diving/mass tourism, and offers great reefscapes and marine life, including eagle rays.

If you can join a day boat dive trip to Gabr el Bint (South) or Ras abu Galum (North), don't hesitate, as it's the opportunity to discover new dive sites that are not accessible from the shore! Check out for turtles, giant sea fans, colorful nudibranchs, milkfish and bigger stuff too!

Although Dahab is not the best spot to dive if you want to dive with macro-fauna (big stuff), there is the occasional lucky diver who's seen whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, zebra/leopard shark (me!), oceanic white tip, hammerhead and other reef sharks.

All in all, a surprisingly peaceful, varied and great diving destination, with a lot of choices for everybody, and especially for photographers!

Visited on 10/2013 - Submitted on 02/27/2014

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