Mapped: 8 Best Places to Dive in Egypt

Diving in Egypt

Egypt reefs are home to over 1000 fish species, 20% of which are endemic to the Red Sea. With a varied topography, stunning wrecks, and incredible marine life, Egypt caters to all levels of divers.

  • In the North, accessible to beginner scuba divers, dive on vibrant and shallow reefs and discover its world-famous wrecks
  • In the South, choose the famous “BDE” route. You’ll drift dive on dramatic walls and pinnacles and get to see big pelagic life with thresher sharks, oceanic whitetips, and hammerheads
  • Deep south, near Sudan, dive at Rocky, St John’s reef, Fury Shoal, and Zabargad and keep an eye open for bottlenose dolphins, hammerheads, leopard sharks, and more!

The 9 Best Places to Dive in Egypt

Northern Red Sea: Ras Mohammed National Park, Straits of Tiran and SS Thistlegorm

The northern Red Sea is great for all levels of divers, and especially for beginners. Day trips off Sharm el Sheik and liveaboards will take you to colorful reefs in Ras Mohammed National Park and Straits of Tiran. There are also opportunities to do some drift diving and explore deep walls. If you like wrecks, you won’t be disappointed with the British ship SS Thistlegorm, one of the most popular wrecks in the world.

hard coral in egypt

The Best Dive Sites of Northern Red Sea

  • Shark and Yolanda Reef, Ras Mohamed National Park: this National Park is located where the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez. Expect some medium to strong currents rich in nutrients with very rich marine life. Divers usually start at Shark reef, drifting along with grey reef sharks, tuna, barracuda, snappers, and sometimes even hammerheads. Ascending towards Yolanda reef, you’ll get to see beautiful gorgonians, some turtles, groupers, Napoleons, and towards the end of the dive, the Yolanda sanitary cargo, sunk in 1980. Bathtubs, toilet bowls, and other bathroom products are still visible.

  • Straits of Tiran: is made of four coral reefs, Jackson, Woodhouse, Thomas, and Gordon reefs, famous for their pelagic life, from barracuda, jackfish, tuna, to sometimes even hammerheads and tiger sharks.

  • SS Thistlegorm: stretching over 128 meters long (420 ft), this ship sank in 1941 bombed by German aviation. It was transporting combat equipment for troops in North Africa (motorbikes, trucks, and rifles, radios, rubber boots…) which is still visible. It also created an artificial reef that attracts large schools of fish. The maximum bottom depth is 32 meters and you must have a minimum of 20 logged dives to dive on the site.

macro life in red sea

Diving Season

  • You can dive in Northern Red Sea year-round, however, the best time is in spring and summer:
    • March to May: the air and water temperatures are both moderately warm and it is also the best time to see a whale shark. It is also the time of the year with most tourists.
    • June to September: air temperature is very hot and uncomfortable, however, hammerheads sharks tend to migrate to the north to cooler waters at this time of the year.

Dive Conditions

  • The water temperature ranges from 22° to 31°C (72° to 88°F). The coldest time of the year is between December and February.
  • Underwater visibility is most times good, 20 to 40 m (66 to 131 ft) and excellent between November to end of May.
  • A good destination if you enjoy wrecks and need to practice diving in currents.

How to Get There

  • Fly to Hurghada (HRG) or Sharm El Sheik (SSH) international airports.
  • The liveaboard team will pick you up at the airport.
  • Northern Red Sea dive sites are also accessible on day trips from Sharm El Sheik.

Southern Red Sea “BDE”: Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone Reef

The southern Red Sea offers a fantastic combination of breathtaking reefs, with less crowded sites and frequent encounters with pelagic. Its proximity to deeper waters brings oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks, thresher sharks, and silvertip sharks, as well as plenty of the usual reef sharks.

The reefs are also healthier than in the North, and the topography is varied, with deep walls, tunnels, and even a few wrecks to look at! With stronger currents and deeper dive sites than in the North, the Southern Red Sea caters to more experienced divers. Liveaboards will take you to the famous “BDE” dive sites: Brothers Marine Park, Daedalus, and Elphinstone.

oceanic white tip in red sea

The Best Dive Sites of Southern Red Sea

  • Big Brother: along with Little Brother, these two steep-sided cones are world-famous for their pristine corals and strong currents attracting large pelagic life, such as hammerheads. You’ll also get to see plenty of Napoleon wrasse, barracuda, and tiny anthias, glassfish, and sweepers. There are also two wrecks lying down at Big Brother: the Numidia, lying between 10 to 80 m (30 to 262 ft) depth, and transporting railway equipment; and the Aida, lying between 25 to 65 m (80 to 213 ft) depth, covered with beautiful corals.

  • Daedalus: this huge 400 meters long (1,310 ft) tear-drop-shaped reef, located 90 kilometers east of Marsa Alam, offers plenty of opportunities to dive with oceanic whitetips, grey reef, thresher sharks, and often some schools of 20 hammerheads sharks. The reef is beautiful and healthy with plenty of black coral.

  • Elphinstone Reef: another world-class dive site, located only 20 minutes from Marsa Alam. This reef is around 300 meters long (984 ft), and its steep walls and strong currents make it a perfect site for drift diving. You’ll get to see schools of jacks, tuna, hawksbill turtles, bottlenose dolphins, grey reef sharks, oceanic white tip reef sharks, and hammerhead sharks.

scuba diver in egypt

Diving Season

  • You can dive in Southern Red Sea year-round, however, the best time is in autumn and spring:

    • September to November (autumn) and March to May (spring) are the best times to dive in the Southern Red sea, with warm air and water temperature. In Autumn, you’ll have the best chances to spot thresher sharks.
  • December to February (winter) is a good time to spot oceanic whitetip sharks, however, waters get quite cold, dipping to 23˚C (73˚F).

Dive Conditions

  • The water temperature ranges from 23° to 31°C (73° to 88°F). The coldest time of the year is between December and February.
  • Underwater visibility is most times good, 15 to 35 m (50 to 115 ft)
  • A good destination if you like big pelagic and are confident in strong currents.

How to Get There

  • Fly to Hurghada (HRG) or Marsa Alam (RMF) international airports.
  • The liveaboard team will pick you up at the airport.

Deep South Red Sea: Fury Shoal, Zabargad, Rocky, and St. John’s Reef

St. John’s Reefs and the marine parks of Zabargad and Rocky islands are relatively remote and not visited frequently by liveaboards. The area offers what is considered the most spectacular diving in Egypt with varied topography and some big pelagic life as you get closer to Sudan. Strong currents, some swell, and deep sites make it a destination for most experienced divers.


The Best Dive Sites of Deep South Red Sea

  • Fury Shoal: it has some of the most accessible dives of this area. You’ll also get to see stunning hard coral formations, two small wrecks, Tug Boat and the Yacht, and it’s famous for its dolphins cruising by.

  • Zabargad: a beautiful dive site made of an island with green-olive mineral (which gave its name to the island in Arabic) and a turquoise lagoon surrounded by stunning reefs, peaks, canyons, and caves. Expect to see a large variety of fish, some nurse sharks, leopard sharks, and some stingrays. A couple of wrecks can also be seen.

  • Rocky: near the Sudanese border and close to Zabargad, Rocky is one of the best dive sites of deep south Egypt. The island fringing reef drops dramatically and its wild current brings along reef sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, dolphins, and turtles.

  • St. John’s Reef: the reef offers a fantastic topography, with tunnels and drop-offs, beautiful healthy hard-coral, and large shoals of fish. You’ll frequently see hammerhead sharks and bottlenose dolphins too.

red sea hammerhead shark

Diving Season

  • You can dive in Southern Red Sea year-round, however, the best time wind-wise is from May to September

Dive Conditions

  • The water temperature ranges from 25° to 30°C (77° to 86°F) between May and September
  • Underwater visibility is most times good, 15 to 35 m (50 to 115 ft)
  • A good destination if you like big pelagic, want to go off the beaten track in Egypt, and are confident in strong currents.

How to Get There

  • Fly to Marsa Alam (RMF) international airport.
  • The liveaboard team will pick you up at the airport.

Dive Safety Recommendations

For safety reasons, always bring with you a surface marker buoy, and know how to use it. We also recommend you to have a Nautilus Lifeline, a GPS that could save your life if taken by currents. They can be strong in some areas of Egypt, and you should have a little experience in currents, especially if you decide to go to the South.

In winter, temperatures can drop as low as 22°C (71°F). Make sure you bring proper insulation.

Finally, remember to always use a reef-safe sunscreen.

Egypt Entry Requirements

  • You must have a passport valid for at least six months, and create an e-Visa Application for Egypt at least 7 days before departure
  • Tourist visa is granted for up to thirty days.
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