When it comes to the top places to dive, the Red Sea always makes the podium, with Egypt scuba diving holidays the best option. But with so much variety where should you dive? Luckily, we’ve pulled together the 9 best dive sites in Egypt, so you can research before you leave.
In recent years Egypt has unfortunately had a lot of bad press. It’s sad but justifiable as some terrible things have happened. While there are not been any notable recent problems in tourist areas, Egypt is yet to recover the large numbers that used to visit. However it is still one of the best dive destinations on the planet, and a lack of crowds only improves that.
At the time of writing, the FCO travel advice considers most of the Egyptian tourist areas to be safe for travel. You can visit Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Safaga and many more destinations with a low risk of problems. In fact 319,000 UK nationals visited Egypt in 2017 and most experienced a trouble free holiday.
With hot year round weather, beautiful beaches, resorts setup for tourism and unparalleled access to the Red Sea it’s safe to say Egypt scuba diving holidays are hard to beat. Dives vary, with legendary wreck dives and stunning reefs to explore. The region also has much more to offer than just diving, with kite and windsurfing plus of course some interesting archeological sites!
So you are convinced to head to Egypt on your next diving holiday, but where should you go? Check out 9 of the best Egyptian dive sites below:
The Thistlegorm, on the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula and conveniently close to the resort of Sharm El Sheikh, is the best known and most popular wreck dive in the Red Sea. This spectacular dive is a fixture in many lists of the best wreck dives worldwide.
This 125 metre-long British army freighter was loaded with wartime equipment when she was sunk. A long list of inventory includes tanks, aircraft, armoured vehicles, Jeeps and Bedford trucks. All are still visible today and the site needs multiple dives to see it all. The Thistlegorm was rediscovered by Jacques Cousteau in 1956 and is arguably the most sought after scuba diving wreck in the world.
The clear waters allow superb views of the wreck and there is easy access to the holds containing motorbikes, trucks, trailers and armoured cars. It’s all stowed tightly away as if still ready for use, many still with rubber tyres and glass windows intact.
The holds also contain Lee Enfield rifles, bombs, munitions crates, grenades and anti-tank mines. The are also piles of boots and shoes strewn across the holds and some spare parts for tanks and planes.
There is also good marine life around the wreck. Expect to see Batfish, turtle, Barracuda, Snappers, schools of Jacks and the usual Red Sea reef fish. simply a must during Egypt scuba diving holidays.
The Bells and the Blue Hole are set side by side and can be dived as one making it one of the best dive sites in Egypt. Located near Dahab this is a town which currently the FCO advises all but essential travelling too. So be sure to check whether the dive is still considered safe.
The Bells is a hole in the reef that enters a large bell-shaped chimney full of caves to explore. It joins the open ocean passing an incredible vertical wall of reef. From here it is possible to enter the Blue Hole over a saddle at about 7 metres in depth.
The Blue Hole itself is a 60 metre wide hole in the reef with a depth of over 100 metres. An arch into the open ocean at about 60 metres makes this site famous for divers wishing to go deep.
The Straits of Tiran is situated at the beginning of the Gulf of Aqaba. It consists of four coral reefs named after the 19th century English cartographers who drew the first nautical map of this region.
Jackson reef and Gordon reef both contain wrecks but it’s for fauna and flora that you would come here. Thomas reef and Woodhouse reef both are best made as drift dives. Jackfish, sea turtles and sharks circle the huge variety of coral making this one of the best dive sites in Egypt for animal lovers.
On the southern tip of Sinai, lies Ras Mohammed, the first and best-kept national park in Egypt. The park has multiple dive options but two stand head and shoulders above the others. Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef, which are best done on a drift dive during Egypt scuba diving holidays.
At these sites you’ll get a chance to see almost every single species of fish you’d expect in the Red Sea. Watch out for scorpion fish, rarely seen on other dive sites among a myriad of other reef life. Plus you can explore the wreck of the Yolanda. Its cargo of British standard toilets, bathtubs and pipe tubes are part of the shallow reef.
Just north of Shark Reef lies Ras Mohamed’s second top dive spot. Anemone City is, as you would expect, alive with sea anemones and attending anemone fish. There is also the wreck to explore.
This aquatic metropolis is also home to many other Red Sea species such as Wrasse, angelfish and butterfly fish. Mornings are the best time to see these underwater commuters rush through the coral streets of one of the best dive sites in Egypt.
The Brothers are a pair of tiny islands situated about 5 minutes from each other isolated deep in the Red Sea.
Little Brother is one of the best places in the red sea to dive with sharks. Silvertips, grey reef and even the hammerhead frequent a plateau at 40 metres. The walls of the island are spectacular, covered with black coral and giant gorgonian fans. These walls are sometimes obscured by schools of fish so dense that they block out the sunlight.
Big brother offers similar magical sea life plus two wrecks. The Numidia, sunk in 1901, is now covered in colourful soft coral turning the metal framework into a living reef.
The Abu Nuhas Reef has brought passing ships a fair bit of bad luck. However, every cloud has a silver lining and a shipping insurance headache is a diver’s dream. A must during Egypt scuba diving holidays if you like wrecks.
You’ll find 5 cargo shipwrecks now lying off this reef’s northern slopes. They vary from the Carnatic, still remarkably preserved even after 140 years under the ocean and the home of glassfish and batfish. To the octopus and eel infested Giannis D with it’s well preserved passageways and engine room.
Elphinstone is a cigar-shaped reef running for over 300 metres in the southern Red Sea. It’s healthy marine life and underwater landscapes make it one of the best dive sites in Egypt and the whole of the Red Sea.
The eastern wall is perhaps the highlight of Elphinstone. An awe inspiring wall diving experience watching barracuda, angelfish and Napoleon wrasse against a rainbow of coral that plunges into unseen depths over 100 metres below.
Zabargad is the largest of Egypt’s four Southern Red Sea marine parks. The island has exquisite turquoise bays and sandy beaches. Beneath the waves labyrinth corals, wrecks filled with glassfish and encounters with rays, turtles and whitetips are just some of the highlights of this divers paradise.
If you want to experience the best dive sites in Egypt then book a Red Sea liveaboard trip to see multiple sites. If you are on a boat you can travel overnight waking up in a different dive site each day. So you’ll get to dive the Thistlegorm in the early morning before the hoards arrive from Sharm el Sheikh, plus get many other sites all to yourself.
We hope you found this guide to Egypt scuba diving holidays interesting and useful. Before booking a trip be sure to check out our scuba diving discounts as you could save a fortune.