Red Sea

4.33333333333
(6 REVIEWS)
Red Sea diving
diving Red Sea
Red Sea scuba diving
Scuba diving Red Sea
Dive Egypt
Egypt Scuba Diving
red sea dive
dive red sea
Egypt dive
scuba diving Egypt

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

Book Now Button


Check here for the latest travel advisory to Egypt in the light of the current coronavirus outbreak.

SCUBA DIVING THE RED SEA & EGYPT HIGHLIGHTS

As one of the seven wonders of the underwater world, the Red Sea & Egypt offer scuba divers some of the world's most beautiful coral reefs, plentiful marine life, and a wide variety of diverse dive sites. Both northern and southern Red Sea areas offer excellent diving, with the former offering amazing wrecks including the world-renowned SS Thistlegorm, and the latter, including the islands of Big Brother, Little Brother, and Daedalus, offering dramatic encounters with manta rays and various shark species.

 

RED SEA DIVE RESORTS / LIVEABOARDS

The Red Sea is a great destination for exploring, both from a resort or a liveaboard. Resorts are clustered around the northern towns of Sharm el Sheikh and Dahab, however, inshore reefs can get busy during peak tourist season. Most divers choose to explore the Red Sea by liveaboard, and this is the best option for avoiding the crowds and seeing as much as possible in a short time.

 Check out some other great liveaboard destinations.

View Red Sea liveaboard live availability and book online at the best price.

 

Jump to:

Best Dive Sites - Marine Life & Environment - Diving Conditions 

Best Time to Dive - How to Get There - How to Dive the Red Sea - 

Practical Information - Book a Trip

Interested in diving the Red Sea? 

View the live availability of some of the best liveaboards in the Red Sea or check out our sidebar for land-based options! 

 

Intro to the Red Sea

Located in the Middle East, the Red Sea is a northern offshoot of the Indian Ocean. While these bodies of water share many of the same habitats and marine life, the Red Sea has evolved to provide unique habitats for numerous endemic species. Due to little rainfall, high evaporation, and a relatively isolated location, the Red Sea has one of the world's highest rates of salinity. These same factors also provide excellent diving conditions, and the Red Sea boasts a phenomenal 360 dive days a year. Furthermore, the Red Sea has few river tributaries feeding into it, which means limited microalgae allowing excellent visibility. 

The Red Sea is easily accessed from Europe; the main tourist hubs are centered around the north and the crowds thin as you explore further south. While there are small resort areas in Israel, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, the vast majority of diving in the Red Sea is facilitated through Egypt and a handful of liveaboards in Sudan. 

View Location on Google Map

WHEN TO GO

The Red Sea is diveable year-round, although many liveaboards take a break in January. 

Back to Menu 

 

RED SEA DIVING INFORMATION

Book Now Button


RED SEA DIVE AREAS

From north to south, here are some of the most popular dive areas visited by Red Sea liveaboards.
 
 

   

Back to Menu

 THE NORTH

The northern reaches of the Red Sea offer hugely varied diving and conditions suitable for all levels of diver. From world-class wrecks to colorful reefs teeming with life, this region is also home to exciting deep walls and drift dives, all of which can be accessed by day boat or liveaboard. 

If you enjoy wall and drift diving but fancy somewhere further afield, have you considered scuba diving Bunaken?

Liveaboards exploring the northern reaches generally depart from Hurghada and head northeast through the shallow lagoons of El Gouna and the Straits of Gubal to explore the renowned Abu Nuhas reef, known as the Red Sea’s ‘ship graveyard’. Wrecks that appear regularly on liveaboard itineraries include the Carnatic, the Chrisola, and the Giannis D, known for her fascinating engine room. Dolphin House Reef is also a popular start or finish to a liveaboard trip, where a local pod of dolphins is sometimes encountered flitting between shallow coral heads on the white sandy seabed.

To the east, there is plenty to explore around the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, including the specially protected Ras Mohammed Marine Park, the wrecks of the world-famous SS Thistlegorm, and the wooden-hulled Dunraven. The reefs here are spectacular, teeming with life and healthy corals. Even though mild currents can be expected, sheltered sites favoring calm conditions make this an ideal destination for new divers.

RAS GHAREB

Although relatively unheard of on the Egyptian diving scene, the wrecks around Ras Ghareb in the Gulf of Suez are developing a reputation as exciting new dive spots, prime for exploration by divers who have had their fill of the standard northern itineraries. To date, four wrecks have been charted; the best known is the SS Scalar, a former WWII oil tanker. It is believed there are many more wrecks still to be discovered in this frontier location and the area is now starting to appear on northern liveaboard schedules.

RAS MOHAMMED MARINE PARK

One of the best protected marine areas in Egypt, Ras Mohammed Marine Park is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula where the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez meet. This 330 square mile area has been a national park since 1983 and boasts some of the Red Sea’s healthiest reef habitats. Medium to strong currents bring a variety of pelagic species in to mix with the local reef life, with steep drop-offs and walls adding drama to the diving. 

Ras Mohammed is home to famous sites such as Shark & Yolanda Reefs, littered with bathroom porcelain from the Yolanda wreck, and Jackfish Alley where it’s not uncommon to spot barracuda, jack, and snapper lingering out in the blue. Both dives feature regularly on liveaboard itineraries, and they are accessible by day boat from Sharm el Sheikh.

STRAITS OF TIRAN

On the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula, the Straits of Tiran are an 18-mile stretch that separates the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. More suited to experienced divers, many sites feature strong currents and deep drop-offs in dramatic contrast to the shallow reefs and coral gardens of the west.

The four keys sites in Tiran are Jackson Reef, Woodhouse Reef, Thomas Reef, and Gordon Reef, named after the cartographers that first mapped them. Lined up across the strait, these four reefs are home to several wrecks, but are best known for exciting drift dives along colorful walls smothered in gorgonians, corals, and algae. Many small critters and fish can be spotted sheltering in cracks and crevices, while looking out into the blue may afford a lucky glimpse of a hammerhead or tiger shark.

A popular stop on many liveaboard itineraries, these sites are also within day-trip distance of Sharm el-sheik, and so become very busy during peak season. 

THE BROTHERS ISLANDS, DAEDALUS REEF, AND ELPHINSTONE REEF

Sixty miles from shore, the two small pinnacles that make up The Brothers offer legendary pelagic diving and are a highlight on many liveaboard itineraries. Both islands feature sheer walls and deep drop-offs covered in dense populations of hard and soft coral, huge gorgonians, and vast schools of anthias, glassfish, and sweepers. Little Brother plateau is a fantastic dive for shark sightings, promising a good chance for spotting oceanic whitetips, threshers, silky, and the occasional hammerhead shark. Big Brother Island also boasts two wrecks that are now vibrant artificial reefs covered in colorful corals and swimming in bright anthias. The Brothers are only accessible via liveaboard from Hurghada or Marsa Alam.

If big fish diving is your thing, check out our guide to diving Sipadan.

Elphinstone Reef is known for its rich diversity of marine life, huge gorgonian fans, and sea whips characterizing the reef plateau. It covers a quarter-mile lying from north to south off the coast of Marsa Alam and is easily accessible by day boats and liveaboards. At each end of the reef system, wide plateaus reaching a depth of 131ft are covered in corals and Cnidaria, and feature hunting barracuda, giant trevally, and reef sharks. The southern point is popular with oceanic whitetips, especially between October and December. Elphinstone’s Eastern Wall offers some awesome drift wall diving, while the Western Wall features steep ledges and caverns, home to titan triggerfish, soldierfish, and squirrelfish.

Farthest south, Daedalus Reef is an isolated outpost 50 miles from the nearest coast, sporting pristine reefs along its steep walls. At the island’s northern tip, large schools of hammerheads are not uncommon in the strong currents, with trevallies and tuna also making regular appearances. The southern tip is also known for occasional thresher shark sightings. Similar to The Brothers, Daedalus is only accessible by liveaboard from Marsa Alam.

All three sites are best suited to experienced divers as they have strong currents and deep drop-offs. The open-ocean locations of The Brothers and Daedalus mean rough surface conditions and surge can often be a contributing factor. 

THE DEEP SOUTH

The most southerly of the Egyptian Red Sea areas, referred to as the Deep South, features relaxed and very varied diving on colorful reefs with plenty of marine and macro life. Roughly speaking, the Deep South can be split into three key areas; Fury Shoals, Zabargad and Rocky Islands, and St. John’s Reef. 

The vast reef and plateau system of Fury Shoals offers a plethora of gentle drift dives through abundant coral gardens featuring turtles, dolphins, sharks, and bumphead parrotfish. Depths ranging from 30 to 120ft offer diving for all abilities, with some wrecks, caves, and the chance of spotting a hammerhead shark if conditions are favorable. Sometimes dived from day boats out of Hamata, Fury Shoals is usually visited via liveaboard on itineraries out of Marsa Alam.

Just south of the Tropic of Cancer, turquoise blue lagoons feature a multitude of wildlife both above and below the surface of Zabargad and Rocky Islands. Sitting around 50 miles from the town of Berenice, both islands are surrounded by shallow fringing reefs covered in healthy corals, sea fans and stunning black coral trees. Zabargad is home to the ‘Russian Wreck’ thought to be The Khanka, while Rocky’s strong currents attract a wide range of pelagics such as sharks, dolphins, manta rays, and turtles. 

Right on the border with Sudan, the St. John’s Reef system is isolated, unexplored, and in excellent condition. Underwater topography features caves, tunnels, and overhangs smothered in a patchwork of soft corals and patrolled by schooling pelagics. Best explored by liveaboard, strong winds from October to April can sometimes cause choppy surface conditions.

SUDAN

Diving in the Sudanese Red Sea is wild and relatively untouched, with far fewer visitors exploring these exotic waters. Pristine reefs, huge shoals of fish, and plentiful pelagics attract experienced divers who are seeking a step up from the Egyptian itineraries. There is also an interesting mix of unusual topography including huge coral pinnacles, caves, and mysterious drop-offs. Additional challenges like deeper dives and wreck penetrations are available. Diving in the Sudanese Red Sea is almost exclusively from liveaboards departing from Port Sudan or Marsa Alam in Egypt.

Find out more about diving in Sudan.

 

The Red Sea boasts a prolific marine life, home to over a thousand fish species, one-fifth of which exist exclusively in this body of water. The region’s extremely sunny conditions are ideal for coral growth, and over 200 soft and hard corals can be found in extensive gardens lining the Red Sea’s shallow shelves. Beyond these lively reefs, the median central trench drops to depths of over 7000 feet, facilitating a water circulation system that supports a healthy marine environment.  

For fantastic corals and unque marine life, check out our guide to diving Fiji.

Outer pinnacles and islands such as The Brothers and Daedalus are a magnet for big pelagic animals including manta rays, dolphins, and several shark species. Oceanic whitetips, hammerheads, and threshers can all be spotted alongside healthy reef shark populations. 

For those looking to photograph wrecks, the Red Sea has the full range, from traditional wooden-hulled sailing vessels to iron steamships and even a modern liveaboard. These have been overgrown by the Red Sea’s abundant marine life, adding variety and drama to the already exciting reef system.

If you love spotting new and unusual species, consider diving Raja Ampat, where you will find the highest biodiversity in the world!

TYPICAL DIVE IN THE RED SEA

Shore dives from the northern resorts and beaches are generally organized by the inhouse resort dive centers, and many offer unlimited diving on their house reef. Day trips out to Ras Mohammed and Tiran tend to involve two or three dives from a large day boat, often at busy sites with a lot of other divers and snorkelers.

Many divers opt for a liveaboard trip which gives better access to remote areas making the most of the quieter times of the day. Dives are generally from the back of the liveaboard or from tenders which take divers close to the reefs. Many Red Sea dives are drift dives, so the use of an SMB is mandatory.

 

Diving Conditions

  • Water temperature: Temperatures in the Red Sea reach 84°F (29°C) in the summer months, with temperatures as low as 70°F (21°C) in the cooler months
  • Visibility: Visibility is excellent, reaching up to 200 feet (60m)
  • Depth Range: 16-131ft (5-30m)
  • Diving Difficulty: Suitable for all levels

BEST TIME TO DIVE THE RED SEA

Diving is available in the Red Sea year-round. However, March to May and September to November are often cited as the best times to visit. Topside weather conditions are comfortable and the sea temperature isn’t too cold during these months, but this also attracts many other tourists, and dive sites can be extremely busy.

During June, July, and August, uncomfortably hot topside temperatures mean resorts are quieter, but it's still worth considering since you may encounter hammerhead sharks on the outer sites.

Back to Menu

 

Travel Information 

Book Now Button


How to Get To the red sea

There are regular flights directly to Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport (SSH) from the UK and other European hubs, and some direct flights from the US. To reach Hurghada or Marsa Alam where many liveaboards depart from, it may be easier to connect at Cairo International Airport (CAI).

 

How to Dive the Red Sea

There are hundreds of tourist resorts around the northern Sinai coast, in particular from Sharm el Sheikh north up to Dahab. Many beachfront resorts have great house reefs and offer day-trips out to Ras Mohammed Marine Park, but day boats tend to get very busy in peak season.

The Red Sea is known for its wide range of high-end yet affordable dive liveaboards, offering a wide variety of itineraries. Similar to the Maldives, you can enjoy luxurious amenities at a lower price than you might find in other world-class dive destinations. Also, there are a good number of budget liveaboards that still maintain comfortable accommodations and excellent service at lower rates. To give you an idea, almost all liveaboards in the Red Sea cost around $150/night or less. 

For a fantastic liveaboard destination further afield, check out our guide to diving Tubbataha Reef.

Most liveaboards depart from the Egyptian ports of Hurghada or Marsa Alam (Port Ghalib), however, it is also possible to dive the Sudanese coastline, departing from Port Sudan. The Red Sea is diveable year-round, with liveaboard boats taking a break in January when the water is at its coldest.

 

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN EGYPT AND THE RED SEA

As a popular tourist destination, there is a huge range of top-side activities to suit all tastes in Egypt. From shopping and dining, cultural excursions, camel rides, desert trips, and sight-seeing, a plethora of watersports, the options are endless. Staying on an extra week or so to tour around the ancient sites of Cairo and Luxor is also highly recommended. 
 

Back to Menu

 

red sea liveaboards

Find available Red Sea liveaboard trips.

Book Now Button


The rates shown below are per person in USD. Some of the operators quote in EUR. The pricing at the time of booking may vary depending on the latest EUR/USD exchange rate. 

Got questions? Send us an email or write to us in the live chat box. Our experienced travel advisors can help you book your dream dive vacation at the best price!

 

 

Other Useful Information 

Book Now Button


  • Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP) 
  • Language: Arabic 
  • Time Zone: Eastern European Standard Time (GMT+2)
  • Electricity: 220 V

 


Back to Menu

 

GOT QUESTIONS? READY TO BOOK?

Call us today at +1-310-915-6677 or email us info@bluewaterdivetravel.com

And let us book your dream vacation!

Back to Menu

Reviews (6)

5
4
4
4

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
5
5
5
5

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
5
5
4
5

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
5
5
4
5

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
5
5
4
4

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

BE THE FIRST TO GET NEWS AND SPECIALS

Sign up for the mailing list today