Boasting more than 1,800 miles of coastline, crystal clear waters, mysterious wrecks, and a myriad of multicolored reefs teeming with marine life, Egypt is a scuba diver’s paradise. Lapped by both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’ has spectacular underwater environments offering some of the best diving in the world.
In the past Egypt has struggled with safety issues, but today, tourism in the country is alive and well. Most notably known for historic sites and monuments, Egypt also offers some of the best diving in the world at unbelievably cheap prices. Whether you are looking for vibrant, shallow reefs or an exhilarating wreck dive, these are my picks of the top five dive sites in Egypt.
The Mediterranean-based seaport of Alexandria is a must for history buffs and divers wanting an exciting challenge. The dark, cool waters cover many sunken ancient ruins, including Cleopatra’s palace and the Lighthouse at Alexandria, and historical shipwrecks from periods throughout history. Alexandria doesn’t offer bright corals and fish life, but take a day trip to Omu Sukan to see beautiful corals that are home to triggerfish, turtles, white-tip reef sharks, and a family of resident eagle rays.
One of Egypt’s best-known destinations for diving the Red Sea, the laid-back village of Dahab has something for everyone. Lighthouse Bay is perfect for beginner divers with amazing reefs featuring vibrant hard and soft corals, moray eels, curious parrotfish, and gobies.
A short drive up the coast take you to the Blue Hole, a magnificent 100 meter-deep chasm that offers excellent technical dives where you can spot large pelagics like barracuda and tuna. The nearby Canyon is a deep rocky crevice that is home to spectacular reefs, green turtles, and large schools of bannerfish.
3. Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm is Egypt’s most popular diving destination with a wealth of Red Sea dive resorts. It is home to the national park of Ras Mohammed that offers some of the best diving in the region. Shark and Yolanda Reefs have striking corals teeming with trevallies, jacks, and barracuda, while Anemone City has interesting underwater topography and plenty of anemones and clownfish. The Straits of Tiran offer fast drift dives along vast walls of coral, while the world-famous wreck of the SS Thistlegorm is a challenging dive with strong currents, but well worth the effort.
Hurghada is the largest resort on the Red Sea and a diving mecca. Home to many reefs tucked into shallow, sheltered bays, it’s a great spot for entry-level diving. Challenging sites for more advanced divers include impressive wrecks at El Gouna and Sha’ab Abu Nuhas.
Hurghada is the primary departure point for Red Sea liveaboards, which head out into the southern Red Sea. A day trip to the Giftun Islands promises stunning hard and soft corals, dramatic drop-offs, and interesting caves for experienced divers. You’ll also see hefty napoleon wrasse, and schools of pelagic fish like barracuda and tuna.
5. Marsa Alam
Offering tranquil respite from the crowds at Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, Marsa Alam is a fantastic spot for shore diving in the Red Sea and you can explore colorful reefs and see large schools of fish without spending hours on a boat. It also offers day trips to impressive dive sites, such as Elphinstone where you can spot white-tip and hammerhead sharks.
Don’t miss a chance to dive with the resident population of dugong at Marsa Abu Dabab, one of the last populations in the Red Sea of these docile creatures.