Egypt Red Sea Diving
Scuba diving Egypt has something to offer every diver making it one of the top liveaboard Red Sea dive destinations with competitively priced cruises.
There are many reasons for divers to visit Egypt in the Red Sea, one being the amazing visibility. The reefs are healthy as many are under the protection of marine parks and there are over 800 species of reef fish. A liveaboard cruise offers the best option to reach the many different dive areas on offer.
The southern part of Egyptian Red Sea is known for shark encounters, with deep walls and strong drift diving. Here the rare sightings of thresher, oceanic white tip, hammerheads and many reef sharks are at their highest. Wreck enthusiasts will not be disappointed with many wrecks within recreational dive limits. This includes the world famous Thistlegorm wreck with its interesting cargo in northern Egyptian waters. Dolphins can make surprise visits in many of the areas and spend time interacting with the lucky divers.
The Red Sea has such a vast amount of dive sites and areas it is possible to revisit time and time again. You can enjoy a different liveaboard cruise destination each time.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Egypt Red Sea Diving - 57 LIVEABOARDS
Emperor Asmaa Liveaboard in Egypt is the smallest and most budget-friendly of the Red Sea Emperor fleet. Completely refitted in 2015, she offers the same great service divers have come to expect from an Emperor liveaboard, but at a lower price. She is 30 metres long and accommodates 20 divers in air-conditioned, en-suite twin cabins. There is a spacious indoor saloon and a shaded lounge area on the main deck to relax in, or a sundeck with comfortable mattresses on the top deck.Book Now
SimSim Dive Liveaboard in Egypt is a 31m wooden liveaboard for 16 guests in her 8 cabins. Social areas are an indoor saloon with an entertainment system and a bar. This is combined with the dining area where the freshly prepared meals are served, with snacks throughout the day. The top deck has comfortable seating in the shade plus a sunbathing area. The dive deck has individual storage space; Nitrox is available and there is a zodiac.Book Now
Dreams Liveaboard in Egypt is a budget-friendly liveaboard touring the Red Sea with several different itineraries. She is 28 metres in length. She comfortably accommodates up to 16 guests in either twin standard or bunk bed standard cabins. All cabins are air-conditioned and have en-suite bathrooms including towels and bathrobes. She is ideal for guests who want a more personalised liveaboard experience and who wish to dive in smaller groups. Nitrox and technical gas blends are available.Book Now
North Egypt Red Sea liveaboards can depart from Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada and offer some world-famous sites. The wrecks of Abu Nuhas and world-renowned Thistlegorm are easily accessible as are the dive sites of the Ras Mohammed Marine Park and the Straits of Tiran.
South Egypt Red Sea liveaboard cruises have grown in popularity and depart from either Hurghada or Port Ghalib. Here more experience is generally required as dive sites are in open sea conditions, but the rewards can be amazing. Diving with sharks is common, and there are many interactions with dolphins. Reefs are in pristine condition and the sites relatively uncrowded due to the remote locations. The dive areas include The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone, Fury Shoals, St Johns, Rocky Island and Zabargad.
Best Places to Dive in The Egypt Red Sea
The North offers wrecks and reef diving with coral bommies and abundant marine life some of which is endemic to the area. Here turtles, tuna and reef sharks are common. Batfish are often found in the shallows and walls of jackfish hover between the reef and blue water. Napoleon wrasse patrol dive sites travelling up and down the reefs. In the Jackson Reef area during July to September some sightings of whale sharks, tiger sharks and hammerheads are possible.
There are many wreck dives in the area most famously the Thistlegorm which is in the top 10 dives sites of the world. The liveaboards visit this fantastic underwater structure where motorbikes and tanks are still lined up waiting to be delivered to the port they never reached.
The southern area is diverse and there are many liveaboard dive cruise itineraries to cover this area.
The Brothers are two mostly submerged islands offering a divers paradise in the mid-ocean. Reef fish seem to be pulled to the area and often block out sunlight due to the sheer numbers on the sites. Shark encounters as with all the southern dive sites are common, and the soft coral coverage is complete and colourful. There are also two wrecks here to be explored.
St Johns, Zabargad, Rocky Island and Fury Shoals are other areas in the southern part of the Red Sea. Offering some unique topography and plentiful marine life encounters these are some of the most remote regions Egypt has to offer divers. With tunnels, walls, caves and swim-throughs these sites are for the more advanced divers. Hammerheads and thresher sharks visit several of the areas at predictable times of the year, and dolphins are always around, lucky divers will get to see them underwater.
Best Dive Sites in The Egypt Red Sea
Shark & Yolanda Reef
These dive sites in the Ras Mohammed marine park are often called the best dive sites in the northern Red Sea. There are grey and white tip reef sharks on the aptly named shark reef and an amazing wall of jackfish with around 500 individuals schooling together. Yolanda reef is next to shark reef and they are dived together. Look for batfish and the remains of the cargo from the Yolanda wreck that is too deep for recreational divers to visit.
This site is reknowned worldwide as a premier dive site. The mostly intact vessel sank in WWII and is a highlight of any northern Red Sea liveaboard cruise. Her cargo holds are open and accessible to penetrate. Divers can view the varied supplies that were being transported when she was hit by German bombers causing her to sink. A locomotive, tanks and motorbikes are a few of the treasures she holds.
Located in the South, this site is only reachable by a liveaboard cruise and is inside a marine park protected area. With steep drop-offs, it is a challenging dive, but the appearance of Hammerhead sharks and manta rays does make the effort worthwhile. The rare Thresher shark may also make an appearance if divers are lucky.
Is one of the Brother Islands along with its larger sibling. The dive site offers a vast array of densely packed marine life that swarm across the walls as they descend to the deep water. Reef sharks are common, hammerheads and tiger sharks are also known to make an appearance. At the right season, whale sharks and even oceanic white tips can also be seen in this area.
Read more information about Egypt Dive Sites
Egypt Northern Red Sea has budget friendly cruises. These world class reefs that are home to over 1200 species of marine life and are easy to explore. For more information about Egypt Northern Red Sea Dive Sites, please click on the photo.
The Southern Red Sea liveaboards travel to the marine protected areas that include the amazing destinations of the Brothers, St John’s, Daedalus, Fury Shoals, Elphinstone Reef and Rocky Island. For more information about Egypt Southern Red Sea Dive Sites, please click on the photo.
Egypt Red Sea Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common sightings - Turtles, reef sharks, jackfish, barracuda, Napoleon wrasse
- Special sightings - Thresher and oceanic white tip sharks, dolphins, manta rays
- Topography - Walls, reefs, wrecks, drop-offs, caverns, lagoons
- Visibility - 30m+
- General Information - Experience and certification requirements vary for the liveaboard trips depending on the itinerary. The Red Sea is very salty meaning weights will need to be adjusted to compensate for increased buoyancy as a result of this.
Best Time to Go
Egypt is a year-round destination with some seasonal and regional variations for marine life. As a desert, Egypt has very little rain, hot sunny days and cooler evenings. The northern Red Sea area is slightly cooler than the south year-round for both land and ocean temperatures, and water temperature varies from 21 to 29 Celsius.
December to February are the coolest months as it is the winter, water temperature is 22 Celsius. This is the best time for oceanic white tip sharks to visit the area and visibility is at its best. The surface conditions can be choppy with some stronger winds in the area.
March to May is the best time for whale sharks to be spotted, the air and water temperatures are both warmer and this time of year is classed as high season.
June to August are the low season as air temperatures become uncomfortable. The warmer water does bring hammerhead sharks into the waters with June to September the best time to spot them in the north Red Sea.
September to November is the best time to spot thresher sharks throughout the Egyptian waters with the possibility of manta rays too. The air and water temperatures are comfortable, and this time is also classed as high season.
It is possible to see dugongs, grey reef, white tip reef sharks and dolphins year round.
How to Get There
Guests can transit through Cairo with a domestic flight to the nearest airport to the departure port.
The departure ports of Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam all have international airports with direct flights from Europe.
Ensure you check the departure and return ports for your liveaboard cruise to arrive at the correct airport. The ports of Hurghada and Marsa Alam can use both of the respective airports, but the transit times will vary, and there may be a charge for a longer transfer.
The Red Sea liveaboards spend the evening in port, departing the following early morning, so guests can arrive on night flights and still have time to board.
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
Egyptian Pound (EGP)
Required, some passport holders can purchase on arrival
Egyptian and English is spoken widely
Cairo (CAI), Hurghada (HRG), Sharm El Sheikh (SSH), Marsa Alam (RMF)
Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel, cover up for cooler evenings
22 - 38 C daytime, 13 - 28 C evenings
Beans, vegetables, flatbread, eastern Mediterranean