Dive Sites

Dive Sites

The Red Sea takes its name from the periodic algal blooms that occur here painting the sea with a reddish hue, and not the red-tinted Egyptian mountain ranges that surround it. It’s a diver’s paradise, with the warmest of warm seas, very little wave action and unsurpassed visibility.

The Red Sea is considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the underwater world, harboring more than 1,000 species of invertebrates and over 200 species of soft and hard coral. This forms the basis of a marine eco-system which includes 1,100 species of fish, of which just under 20% are endemic to the Red Sea, i.e. these fish species can only be found here. The high level of endemism here is one of the main factors that makes Egypt scuba diving so interesting.

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SS Thistlegorm
Depth: 18-35
This is possibly the most famous shipwreck in the world and certainly the most dived. The SS Thistlegorm was a general cargo Merchant Navy ship built in 1940 by Joseph Thompson & Son in Sunderland, England. She was sunk on 6 October 1941 and was classed as “Armed”, however, although she was armed as such, the armaments were just what we’re lying around and mostly ineffective left over from the first world war. All of the armaments pointed to the rear as they were for defense not attack. She couldn’t fire forwards. She was powered by a triple-expansion steam engine which generated 365 horse power and was capable of 11 knots.
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Depth: 4-28
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Erg Abu Ramada
Depth: 12 m
This small site, on a group of coral pinnacles just offshore from Abu Ramada, is an incredibly dense collection of the best in coral growth and reef fishes. The pinnacles are carpeted in rich layers of coral, with colorful soft corals predominating, along with some gorgonians and a fairly wide range of stony species. The openings and walls of the caves are often particularly vibrant, with colonies of dendronephthia and other vividly colored soft corals.

This can be a challenging dive for which you need to be at least an Advanced Open Water Diver. Drop down the wall to a small plateau at 22metres before the sea drop away to the abyss.
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Gota Abu Rmada
Depth: 15 m
Most dive operators and dive guides think of Gota Abu Ramada as either the east or the west side but if you swing the map around and watch the reef from the north you find that one of the best options is to dive the north side. As a drift dive, this reef is a fantastic experience. First, you check the current to make sure the boat will wait for you on the right side. I prefer to go to the west so this is the dive I describe here. There is a small pinnacle with two peaks just to the north of the main reef. You start your dive by jumping in at this spot and explore, first the pinnacle itself and then the flat area into the west before heading south towards the main reef. With a bit of luck, you might bump into an eagle ray, a turtle or even a zebra shark along the way. When you’re back at the foot of the reef you turn west and put the wall on the left shoulder. Along the way, you will find the side of the reef change in shape from a sloping coral garden to the steep wall to sandy canyons. At the west end of the reef, you check your NDL and gas consumption to decide whether to swim around the pinnacles or to follow the top reef. The safety stop is done as the last minute swimming next to the reef.
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Depth: 18 m
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Turtle Bay
Depth: 6 - 13
This is a not so well known dive site off the north tip of Grand Giftun island. It's a small horseshoe reef with a shallow swim through to a bowel reef that is absolutely filled with fish and coral
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Marsa Abu Galawa
Depth: 4 - 12
A huge reef with plenty of life. Big chance to see seahorse in the sea grass.
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Salem Express
Depth: 12m – 30m
Our full-day trip to „Salem Express“ is, especially for experienced divers.
The Salem Express is quite shallow. The wreck starts at 12m and the seabed is at 30m deep. This is a huge wreck and you will need at least 2 dives to explore it all.
The Salem Express was a passenger ship that sank in the Red Sea. It was a Roll-on/roll-off car and passenger ferry that operated between the ports of Safaga and Jeddah. It sank shortly after midnight on December 17, 1991, when it hit the Hyndman Reef.
It is located around 60 km south of Hurghada.
Difficulty: Advanced
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Abu Ramada - North
Depth: 35 m
On the north tip of the Island of Abu Ramada, a plateau stretches out from the depth of 22 meters at the foot of the reef, down to a depth of 35 meters at the north end. As the current generally comes from the north with nutrient water the marine life on this plateau is extremely rich. The current can be a bit tricky here though and sometimes it comes from the south or southeast, which makes the dive difficult. This site should be drifted but since the current can work against you, make a current check before deciding on the final plan or drop halfway to the end of the plateau so you can assess the current at the beginning of the dive so you can choose to head back to the boat or towards the north end depending on the conditions. Either way, you should follow the edge of the drop-off. Big fish like whitetip reef shark, grey reef shark, even silvertip shark have been seen here. Turtles often swim along the drop-off and the wall is covered with gorgonians and soft coral.
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Abu Ramada - South
Depth: 20 m -22 m
As the name suggests this is the south end of Abu Ramada Island. Close to the reef you have a shelf on 12 meters. This shelf slopes down towards a step-like deeper area that ends on 20-22 meters. When you begin your dive, the best plan is to head out to the pinnacles that are “hanging” on the edge of the shelf. One of the pinnacles has a crack in which you sometimes can find a giant moray eel seeking shelter. Swim-up over the shelf again and have a look around the funny shaped pinnacles southwest of the southernmost point of the reef. Here you sometimes find a big napoleon hanging around. Continue north and on the edge of the shelf, you will now see a coral hill. A few fins kick further north you come up to an eel garden. You will pass a small pinnacle and swim around the corner where you can have a look into a small cavern at 6 meters. On top of those, you find a wreck after an old safari boat on 5 meters with a lot of trumpet fish hanging around.
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Banana Reef
Depth: 20 m
For the lovers of photogenic sites near Hurghada, with feather tailed rays and turtles regularly swimming by. Spot the anemonefish in their hundreds. In the vicinity of Big Giftun, and close to Ben el Gebel, this sheltered crescent-shaped reef is suitable for most levels of divers. It’s around 90 minutes of sailing to reach Banana Reef. Here, moorings are located on the south side of the main reef. The crescent formation is enclosed by an attractive coral garden and a pair of truly magnificent ergs. Banana, of course, refers to the reef’s unusual shape. Current can be considered strong in this area, affecting visibility, also in shallow water. Actually, drift is the most natural way to dive into this spot. Although the wall of the reef isn’t particularly the most impressive part of Banana Reef, it serves as a good navigation point by keeping it in visual focus.
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Shaab Abu Nugar
Depth: 12 m
Here we have another Gota “A piece of reef not far from…” As in many reef systems, there are quite a few Gotasaround Abu Nagar, so different dive centers may have their own Gota here. There are two different depths around this reef; the north, west and south sides are shallower than the east side that is a few meters deeper. Running as an extension of the east side you find a little drop off dividing the two levels. When you start your dive you will be over the shallow part on the south side, but after a few minutes, you will pass a small coral block on 9m and then swim out over the deeper east side to 12 meters. The reef slope itself is what is interesting here. The seabed further out is mainly sandy bottom so stay close to the reef. Just before you are about to turn west up the slope to 9 meters again, you will see a big brain coral and a few table corals on the top of the reef. As you are going further west the bottom turns into a coral garden. On the west side, on 8 meters, the reef makes a couple of turns to form two bays. After the second bay, you can turn west and have a look at three pinnacles before following the south side back to the boat.
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Shaab Sabrina
Depth: 14 m
Sabina Garden, also known as Sabina Walls or Shaab Sabina, is an obvious drift dive. Even though you could easily swim out and back to the boat, this would mean that you miss the best part of the dive. When you drop you find yourself over a "hill" of hard corals rather than a reef. The depth here is around 12 meters sloping down to 14 meters. Often you find stonefish and scorpionfish laying here. Swim down the slope and enter a sand patch with a couple of large table corals in the middle. Here it is not uncommon that you see eagle rays, feather tailed rays, and blue-spotted ribbon tailed rays. On the far side of this sand patch, you enter a maze of pinnacles and small reefs. To be able to navigate here it is good to notice the position of the sun and the current, which most of the time comes from the north, turning east when it hits the reef. South of the "maze" and in the visual distance, the main reef takes you east towards the boat with a spectacular variety of different hard corals living on top of each other, making the safety stop a true pleasure. When you turn around the corner at the end of the reef it all of a sudden turns from color to black and white. At this point, you see a small coral block a few meters from the reef where a stonefish often rests. Now it is only a few minutes to travel to the boat on the south side of the reef.
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Umm Gamar
Depth: 29 m
Umm Gamar means Mother of the Moon. Some say that it was the shape of the island that gave it its name, some say it was because of the color and some say that this island is the moon’s mother.A reef, twice the length of the island, reaches out towards the north. You can dive into several different places around Um Gamar but there are only moorings on the south side. Most dive centers follow the same route here. From the mooring around the corner, struggle against the current down to the cave at around 29 meters, up to the pinnacles and then try to get the divers back to the boat before they run out of air. My personal opinion is that this dive plan is the worst of all options. First of all, the cave is nothing but a black dead hole. Second, this site is not interesting for 30 meters. My suggestion is to drift from the north and enjoy this whole dive in-depth, not more than 18-20 meters. The top of the reef is beautiful and the pinnacles with the cracks and tunnels are very pretty, but the deep cave is not worth the air. At the end of the dive, you may run into the big silver sweetlips that are normally hanging around over the plateau. Free swimming moray eels and turtles are common and if you are lucky you may meet a white-tipped reef shark. There are often a lot of boats here, so if you do not know exactly where your boat is it may be a good idea to ascend close to the reef and swim the last bit on the surface.
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Small Giftun Drift
Depth: 55 m
A little bit deeper on this wall you find a spectacular tunnel. This is a fantastic dive for anyone who likes soft corals and gorgonians. The wall is covered with both and the mixture of colors and shapes waving in the current gives it a magical impression. It is recommended to make a drift dive here and just follow the current which usually comes from the north. You will see a shelf appearing on the wall, getting wider and wider until the top reef wall is turning to the west and the plateau begins. Now you know that the boat is straight to the right and that you may have to swim against a mild current to get there. Keep this in mind for your decision when to turn around. A couple of minutes later you find a small "peninsula" on 27 meters. This is where the tunnel runs through about 15 meters further down. Now, the law in Egypt says that the maximum depth for recreational diving is 40 meters without special training and education in deeper dives. The tunnel’s ceiling is at 43 meters and the floor at 55 meters. This means that for most divers this is out of reach.
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Shaab Umm Gamar
Depth: 30 m
This is a dive site with a wall on the east side and a plateau on the south side. The plateau is sloping from a depth of 15 meters close to the reef, down to a drop of around 30 meters. Most dive centers do this dive from the mooring but a better choice is to drift from north to south. Since you are on the east side, it is best to do this as a morning dive. When you jump you find yourself next to a great wall. It is not necessary to go deep on this dive for the normal marine life, but there is a grey reef shark that is patrolling here on 25-30 meters. Cracks, small caves, and overhangs invite interesting marine life and you often see moray eels and groupers along the way. After a while, a narrow shelf appears which then widens into a plateau. Now the reef turns right and you are at the south end of the reef. On the edge of the plateau, on about 30 meters, you can see the remaining of a small wreck. Pieces of it are scattered across the plateau to where you find the funnel on 13 meters. This is the area where you find the shark most of the time but once in a while, you can even meet him on the plateau under the boats. When you have passed the wreck it is time to ascend to the safety stop. At this depth, there are a few narrow tunnels through the corner of the reef. Keep your eyes open for scorpionfish and stonefish until you see the mooring lines to your left.


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