Diving in Egypt: Everything You Need to Know

written by local expert Jane Elmets

Jane always knew she wasn't destined for a desk job... She has travelled all over the world and is passionate about noodles, sloths and her hiking boots! When she isn't busy adventuring around the world, you can find her reviewing travel gear and dishing out travel tips to all the places she's visited.

Thinking about diving in Egypt? If you are then you’re in for a treat. But first things first.

What do you think of when Egypt comes to mind? Pyramids, the desert, and of course the River Nile. But there’s a greater body of water in the area; one that’s filled to the brim with more marine life.

While everyone thinks of Egypt’s dry, sandy expanses, the real magic lies in the Red Sea.

Egypt has one of the best underwater worlds for divers to explore, with countless dive sites filled with sharks, large fish, and the most colorful corals you’ve ever seen. Beyond the typical diving wonders, the area is also riddled with shipwrecks, containing deep world history that’s only available to the few willing to take the plunge.

Here’s everything you need to know about diving in Egypt and what it needs to be on your diving bucket list ASAP!

egypt diving

Diving in Egypt: Why Do It?

The Red Sea surrounding Egypt is as rich in beauty, marine life and biodiversity as the land is with pyramids, desert and a deep ancient history. These North African waters are absolutely teeming with sea creatures and corals, most of which have remained pristine and untouched. It’s a true paradise for divers as there’s an endless amount to see. 

While there’s crazy history spread across the Egyptian lands, history also lies at the bottom of the Red Sea with a large number of wrecks from wars past open to discovery by eager divers. Technical and challenging at times, the wreck dives in the Red Sea are some of the finest in the world, with an endless amount to see and some unique twists and notable artifacts at each site. 

When diving in Egypt, you can expect to find most of the wrecks in the northern part of the Red Sea. There are also tons of resorts in this area if you’re interested in taking day dives off shore.

On the other hand, you have the South Red Sea which is pretty much a remote heaven. Most of the area is best accessed by liveaboard. Completely untouched, this area features gorgeous corals, undisturbed wildlife, and dive sites that few people access.  

egypt diving: manta-ray

No matter where you dive in the Red Sea, you’ll be able to see some remarkable marine life like eels, stingrays, manta rays, barracudas, and dolphins. The area is also quite well-known for sharks of all kinds, macro life, and of course the historical artifacts found at wrecks. 

One of the best parts about diving in Egypt is it’s suited to pretty much all diving levels. If you’re just starting out and want to accumulate hours and work on your skills, you’ll be able to find sites and itineraries that will give you an easy enough dive at equally beautiful sites as those for more advanced divers.

Don’t worry though, there’s still plenty for those with more experience like dives at great depths, drift dives, caves, and strong currents. 

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Egypt Liveaboard: Why It’s the Best Way to Explore the Red Sea

There are resorts near the Red Sea that offer diving excursions but there’s no better way to experience all that the Egyptian waters have to offer than with a liveaboard.

With a liveaboard, you’ll also be able to reach dive sites that aren’t accessible by on a day trip. This means that you’ll get to experience remote dive locations that are untouched paradises, just waiting to be discovered.

When you take a liveaboard trip, you’re the first to the dive sites every day and the last ones out of the water as well. You’ll be able to beat the crowds no matter where you go and experience more in a single day than people do in an entire trip while staying ashore. 

Liveaboards in Egypt run all-year-long so you have your pick of when to go. They also travel to different areas of the Red Sea so you’re able to choose an itinerary that hits the spots you want to visit most. During your trip, you’ll be on a ship with top-of-the-line accommodations and amenities, with an attentive staff to take care of anything you need. 

On a liveaboard, you also have access to a divemaster who will lead excursions multiple times a day to show you the best of the Red Sea. They’re experienced with the sites as well as the water conditions and safety procedures. You’ll always be in good hands while diving with them!

In between the three dives a day, you’ll be able to relax on the different sundecks of the boat, enjoy delicious meals, or cool off in an air-conditioned lounge. There’s no better way to soak in the Egyptian sun than on a boat that’s cruising around the Red Sea!

There are plenty of Egypt liveaboards to choose from, with various price ranges. So whether you’re looking for a rugged trip on the water or the most luxurious boat on the sea, there’s definitely something for everyone.

Search for your perfect Egypt liveaboard here!

When to Go Diving in Egypt

Diving in Egypt is great year-round. It’s always super clear, with an abundance of marine life to be spotted at any time. 

That said, the best time to go is between March and May. This is considered high season and you can expect some crowded dive sites. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can also get some great trips in between September and November. 

While there’s always something to see while diving in the Red Sea, there are certain times of the year when sea animals come out to play. 

If you’d like to see whale sharks, you should take a trip between May and November; to spot seahorses, go between April and December; and manta rays come out the most from March to September. For those who are hoping to spot some sharks, hammerheads come out between June and August

Egypt liveaboards are pretty popular, so if you’re keen to go on one, we suggest booking in advance so that you can get the itinerary and boat that you want!

bull shark diving

How is Diving in Egypt?

Due to the excellent conditions in the waters of Egypt, diving in the Red Sea is rather safe. There are current and drift dives for those with experience, and shallow reefs with more fish than you could ever imagine for more novice divers. 

Overall, you’ll get to experience great visibility of between 20 to 50 meters (best in February), tremendous depths, and all that the warm waters have to offer. Plus, because it’s generally pretty calm, diving in the Red Sea is a great chance to work on your technical skills or just gain more diving hours in general! 

The many wrecks in the area are great for diving but are certainly aimed at more advanced divers with the proper certifications to reach the depths at which they’re located. However, there are certain wrecks that are in more shallow areas for less experienced divers. 

No matter which level diver you are, be sure to always bring gear like a neon dive flag and a collapsible pole in case you experience strong currents, as well as any high-quality dive knives you may have, just in case! 

It’s also of the utmost importance that you take your trip covered by dive insurance in case of any medical emergency. This way, you can have peace of mind while you explore the underwater world.

Where to Dive in Egypt’s Red Sea

No matter where you go diving in Egypt, you’re sure to be amazed at the incredible life living below the surface. 

The area around the North Red Sea has tons of popular resorts, making for more congested – albeit still unbelievable – dive sites. On the other hand, the South Red Sea has much less crowded dive sites, with reefs and marine life still in pristine condition. 

The South is a great place to see sharks and go for drift dives, while the North has some wild wrecks and crazy coral formations.

Thistlegorm Wreck

Famous for its wrecks, no trip to the Red Sea is complete without a dive to Thistlegorm. 

This wreck is a 128-meter British transport ship from World War II that was sunk by a German air attack in 1941. It’s certainly one of the most popular dive sites in Egypt and is world-renowned as it’s such an amazing place to visit. 

egypt diving: WWII shipwreck in red sea

While exploring this wreck, you’ll be sure to encounter countless WWII artifacts like tanks, army trucks, jeeps, motorbikes, artillery and more. There’s tons to see, so you may even want to go for a second or third dive to see it all! 

Thistlegorm isn’t a super easy place to dive as there are sometimes strong currents, but you’ll be rewarded with excellent visibility and an abundance of marine life living among the wreckage. 

A final note on this world-famous destination: it attracts people from all around the world year-round so when visiting, you must plan ahead. It’s best to dive here from a liveaboard because you’re able to access the site early before everyone arrives or later once everyone leaves.  

The Brothers

Located right in the middle of the Red Sea, this lovely site is made up of two islands: Little Brother and Big Brother. 

The Brothers is a thrilling place to dive and offers a great experience to every diver.  The area is completely surrounded by pristine reefs that house marine life such as barracudas, tunas, and manta rays! While diving here, you’ll get to bask in the most colorful corals and swim among sharks. 

This is one of the most popular places to spot sharks like whitetips, hammerheads, Silvertips, reef sharks, and even the occasional thresher. It’s also a great place to shoot underwater photos. No wonder it draws divers from all around the world!

Elphinstone Reef

Elphinstone Reef is swimming with dive sites that have something for every type of diver. Here, you can find plateaus and caves with lots of swim-throughs and swift currents to keep you moving. You’ll also find tons of exotic animals, wildly colorful corals, and plenty of places to explore. 

If you’re a shark lover, this is a must-visit! This dive site is notorious for frequent shark encounters. Here, you’ll find tons of whitetip sharks and schools of hammerheads swimming about enjoying the reef. 

Elphinstone is best for advanced divers as the current can get quite strong and the diving is in the open sea. 

galapagos-hammerhead sharks

Ras Mohammed

For one of the most pristine dive sites in Egypt, take a trip to Ras Mohammed, a national park that’s been beautifully preserved and is teeming with marine life. This site boasts insane visibility with high chances of seeing sharks. There’s even an area called Shark Reef that often hosts sharks passing through.

Ras Mohammed also has tons of pelagic fish, a site called Anemone City with awesome coral formations and clownfish, and wrecks waiting to be discovered. One of the most notable wrecks here is Yolanda that has underwater toilet seats around a reef. Talk about a unique diving experience! 

While diving here, you can also hit Jackfish Alley, which is a steep wall surrounded by caves for venturing into and stingrays hiding in the sand.

Other Things to Do in Egypt

Besides diving, there’s a whole lot to do on a trip to Egypt. A country so rich in history and culture, there are endless excursions available for visitors and tons of desert adventures to be had during your stay.

Take a Desert Quad Safari Around the Pyramids

Egypt is best known for one thing: its iconic pyramids. While visiting this amazing country, take the opportunity to visit them in style on quads. 

On this quad desert tour, you’ll navigate the desert in Cairo aboard a 4-wheeler to capture panoramic views of the Giza Pyramids. What’s better is that you can take the tour at sunrise or sunset for insane colors over the giant structures. 

There’s nothing quite like riding through an ancient landscape, especially if it’s right next to one of the Seven Wonders of the World!

pyramids of giza in egypt

Go Kayaking on the Nile

If you want to be near the water without diving, kayaking is a great way to get up close and personal with the famous Nile River.

You’ll be able to kayak through the Nile’s gorgeous waters for city and nature views. It’s a great way to spot the exotic birds in the region and cool off during the hot months. This activity leaves from Cairo and it’s only a quick 15-minute ride away!

Enjoy a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride and West Bank Tour

For an unforgettable view of the sprawling Egyptian lands, there’s nothing better than a hot air balloon ride. Taking off at sunrise, you’ll have uninterrupted morning views with pink, blue, and purple skies. 

After taking in the bird’s eye view of Luxor, you’ll be able to learn the history of the area from your tour guide and explore tombs holding different pharaohs and Egyptian royals. You’ll even get to visit Tutankhamun! After the tombs, you’ll make your way to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and then to a few more sites before enjoying an authentic local lunch. 

This is a great way to spend a day and learn about history, soak in Egyptian culture, and enjoy a landscape like never before.

How to Get to Egypt

Egypt is fairly easy to get to from international airports around the world. 

There are plenty of direct flights from Europe and easy options from North America as well. There are airports in Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, and Hurghada. The airport you fly into will determine your next move. If you fly into Cairo, you may need to take a domestic flight to get to the liveaboard port. 

Transportation: We recommend downloading the Skyscanner App to find great deals on flights. We use this whenever we’re looking for inexpensive tickets, and it’s a serious lifesaver!

There are four major ports of departure for Egypt liveaboards which are Marsa Alam, Sharm El Sheikh, Safaga Port, and Hurghada. Most liveaboards include transportation from whichever airport you fly into to the port, so you can travel with ease once you hit the ground.

Where to Stay in Egypt 

If you don’t choose to go the liveaboard route when diving in Egypt, there are plenty of accommodation options available, many of which run diving excursions daily for guests. 

Here are some good options for a range of budget types.

Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village

 An awesome budget option is Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village in Sharm El Sheikh.

It has a total beachy vibe with huts and rooms available to those who want to stay close to the water. There are plenty of terraces to relax and enjoy a meal, and the hotel runs diving excursions to enjoy a day exploring the Red Sea. 

When you’re not in the water, there’s a pristine beach just steps outside, making for a great place to spend the day soaking in the sun.

Compare prices and check availability: Booking.com | Agoda

The Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge

The Breakers Diving Lodge is located in Soma Bay, Hurghada, with large rooms complete with a balcony. The hotel has a pool to enjoy when you’re not in the Red Sea and a spa to relieve tired muscles after diving trips offered by the hotel. 

The lodge is a mid-range option but a great place to stay if you want to dive near Hurghada or have a liveaboard departing from the port. The hotel rooms overlook the water, the restaurants serve up wood-fired pizza and there’s a bar on the beach. 

Seriously, what more could you ask for?

Compare prices and check availability: Booking.com | Agoda

Lahami Bay Resort

 Finally, if you’re looking to treat yourself to a luxurious Egyptian holiday, look no further than the Lahami Bay Resort. Located steps from the Northern Red Sea in Abū Ghuşūn, you’ll have access to all the premier diving locations and then be able to kick back at the hotel’s top-of-the-line facilities. 

The resort has beachfront rooms, an expansive pool, and two meals included every day during your stay. There’s even evening entertainment and hiking nearby! Enjoy the private beach area while taking in every moment of your vacation in style. 

Compare prices and check availability: Booking.com | Agoda

diving in egypt

While everyone thinks of the desert when it comes to Egypt, it’s really the warm, brimming waters that should be on one’s mind. The land is great with its rich history and culture, but what lies offshore is really a once-in-a-lifetime treat. 

Swimming among some of the most extravagant marine life in the world and visiting historic wrecks that are only dreamed about by most divers is something that should seriously be added to your bucket list.

Plus, now you know everything needed to plan the Egyptian diving trip of a lifetime!

View Best Egypt Liveaboards Here

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Egypt Scuba Diving | Did you know that the Red Sea has some of the greatest scuba diving in the world? Here's everything you need to know about planning a diving trip in Egypt.

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