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Diving In Egypt: The Charm Of Sharm El-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a resort area on the very southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, first developed as tourist destination in the early 1980’s.
The area is known for the weather, with temperatures ranging from 40 degrees in summer to 20 degrees in winter, and the easy access to the Red Sea.
Diving in Egypt has been very popular for years, for good reasons, as the area has numerous good dive sites.
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Great Diving, Low cost!
First of all, costs are low and access is very easy, with many airlines serving the well-run international airport, and there’s no shortage of hotels in all price ranges. In Naama Bay, the central area of Sharm el-Sheikh, dive centers are almost literally side-by-side on the main street.
A number of hotels, especially a little outside of Naama Bay, even have their own house reefs, making diving as easy as going to the pool. Also, as this is a big tourist area, there’s lots of stuff for non-diving fellow travelers or family members, including water sports, camel back riding, off-road driving in the desert, etc.
Check out more great but low cost diving at Southern Egypt Dive Camps.
However, as this is a very popular place for diving and watersports, some of the dive sites, especially the ones around Naama Bay, are a little worse for wear. However, there are still plenty of great places to dive, and we’ll guide you to a few of them.
A marine national park, this area is the very southern part of the Sinai, and features stunning, pristine coral reefs and loads of marine life. Plenty of coves mean that the place is accessible for everyone, from novices to experienced divers.
However, as this is a national park, all diving is done from boats, and no night dives are allowed. Sailing time from Sharm el-Sheikh is about 45 minutes.
Strait of Tiran
The strait between the island of Tiran and the mainland is a great dive site for experienced divers, with classic Red Sea wall diving and good chances of seeing sharks, rays, and even whale sharks.
But, the current can be strong, and many dives are done hovering over an abyss of several hundred feet, so some diving experience is needed. From Sharm it takes about 20 minutes by boat to reach the Tiran Strait.
Here’s more on Scuba Diving The Strait Of Tiran.
Probably one of the most famous wrecks among divers, the World War II British transport SS Thistlegorm was sunk in the Red Sea by German bombers. It was carrying a load of trucks, motorcycles and other material intended for the British army in North Africa, these things are still visible in the wreck.
Here’s Top 5 Of The World’s Best Wrecks.
The wreck is in shallow waters, so is accessible to even OWD divers or similar, however, only divers with appropriate experience and training and penetrate the wreck. The wreck is quite far south of Sinai, so going there is a full-day trip, leaving by boat early in the morning and returning late afternoon. But it’s well worth it.
For those ready to venture a bit further, taking a day trip to Dahab is well-worth it. In comparison with Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab is much smaller and has a more local vibe to it. The diving here is pristine, and especially the Blue Hole is a fantastic dive, but does require a bit of dive experience.
Hotel House Reefs – the lazy man’s option
A number of hotels in the northern part of the Sharm el-Sheikh area feature house reefs.
Generally, the more newly developed the area is, the better the house reef is likely to be. And diving on these can be surprisingly rewarding. On a five day stay at one of these hotels, I saw, among the usual smaller marine life, an eagle ray and a baby whale shark! Hotels with house reefs usually also have in-house dive centers.