When talking about where to scuba dive, we cannot forget to mention the amazing underwater dive spots that occupy the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula within Egypt. These reef filled waters are teaming with underwater wildlife and so much diversity that it’s difficult to compare it to anyplace else on the Earth. Divers can expect to see soft corals, scorpionfish, triggerfish, and several types of sharks, among a whole host of other sea life.
Some of the most famous wreck dives in the world can be found in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian resort town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. It is a 1.5 to 2-hour flight from Alexandria and Cairo, respectively, and it’s known for its clear waters, sandy beaches, and accessible coral reefs. Sharm is probably the most popular diving destination in Egypt and has a variety of dive sites suitable for divers of all experience levels.
Interestingly enough, Sharm El Sheikh wasn’t really on the map for any divers prior to the discovery of their wreck dives. Before it became a huge dive and water sports resort town, the city was known to be a Bedouin camp. Once the secret was out about the amazing potential for scuba diving in that area, it quickly became known as one of Africa’s top dive spots.
The wreck, known as the SS Thistlegorm, is the highlight of diving Sharm El Sheikh and it considered a prize dive the world over. SS Thislegorm is a World War II sunken ship filled with vehicles like trucks and motorcycles, as well as boots, all of which can be found on the ocean floor. This dive is perfect for those who are interested in wreck diving, especially as it can be dived all year long.
Another great wreck dive near Sharm El Sheikh is the Amphorae, a 17th-century Turkish shipwreck that got its name from the contents of its vessels. An amphora is a type of clay container used during the Neolithic Period to transport various products. The amphora that filled this shipwreck was full of mercury; they now lie broken and littered across the ocean floor and over time have created its own environment of incredible biodiversity. Diving Amphoras is an easy dive and is perfect for a novice diver.
The Million Hope is known to be one of the largest wrecks in the Red Sea known history. This Japanese vessel crashed into the reef in 1996 sending it up into flames. Fortunately, the crew was all rescued. This dive is very accessible and well preserved with a range of 5 to 20 m in depth. The shallow waters make the shipwreck is visible from the shore and it can be dived, as well as snorkeled.
Ras Mohammed National Park
Aside from the wide range of beautiful shipwrecks in Sharm El Sheikh, one of the most well preserved national parks in Egypt, Ras Mohammed National Park, is home here. This park gets its name from the local population who believe that the cliffs surrounding the park bear resemblance to the Prophet Mohammad. Ras Mohammed National Park was the first national park in Egypt and when we usually think park, we think trees and wide-open landscapes. Yet, Ras Mohammed National Park is located between the rich coral reefs of the Red Sea and the Sinai desert. Nevertheless, it is a perfect place to dive all year though diving here should be left to experienced divers.
Another dive site that is not to be missed, for those that want something other than shipwrecks, is the blue hole dive of Dahab. The Blue Hole is popular for freediving because of the depth directly accessible from shore and the lack of current. The attraction to the blue hole and attempts to free dive it makes Dahab one of the most dangerous dive sites in the world. Dahab is reputed to have the highest diver fatality rate for any dive site in the world and can only be done by highly experienced divers and tech divers. There are at least 30 fatalities a year from inexperienced divers trying to swim under the blue hole arch. Though dangerous, those that are just looking to have a gentle low depth dive can experience Dahab without additional worries.
It is clear that Egypt is home to some of the most illustrious and beautiful dive spots in the world and cannot be missed for any diver worth their salt. For those that want to start exploring diving, I can only encourage you to experience the dives of the Red Sea.