Egypt Northern Red Sea Dive Sites

Egypt Northern Red Sea Dive Sites

 Egypt Northern Red Sea has budget friendly cruises. These world class reefs that are home to over 1200 species of marine life are easy to explore.

There is some great world class diving in Egypt Northern Red Sea dive sites. There are many of the dive sites that can accommodate divers of all certification level without compromising the underwater beauty.

The northern area of the Red Sea is known for many impressive shipwrecks, including the famous Thistlegorm. There are dramatic wall dives, and all the reefs have a considerable variety of marine life. Visibility here is always excellent and sites are straightforward to navigate. Egypt also benefits from the well-established marine parks meaning the reefs and wrecks are protected.

One significant advantage of Egypt cruises is they are budget friendly compared to other destinations. This makes a liveaboard here an ideal place for a short break without a considerable expense.

Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.

Egypt Northern Red Sea Dive Sites - 53 LIVEABOARDS

From $156 / day

Blue Melody

M/Y blue Melody in Egypt is part of the blue o two fleet and was completely renovated in 2016. She is 38m and accommodates 26 guests comfortably in 13 cabins. The saloon and dining area is large and has an entertainment system; all meals are served buffet style, with snacks and drinks available all day. There is also a sky lounge with comfortable sofas and two sun decks with loungers and shaded area.

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From $89 / day

Amelia

Amelia Liveaboard in Egypt is a 32 metre wooden vessel that was designed specifically for divers. There are ten com-fortable double cabins for the 20 guests on each cruise. The cabins have ensuite bathrooms and climate control, towels and bathrobes provided. The saloon has a separate dining area, and there is a bar and entertainment system. There are two sundecks on the upper level with a shaded area. Two zodiacs and a nitrox system, the dive deck, is organised with individual storage areas.

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From $110 / day

Snefro Pearl

Snefro Pearl liveaboard in Egypt is 29 metres in length. She accommodates only 12 guests making her ideal for smaller groups wanting some luxury during their cruise. Her cabins are twin lower deck, a master cabin and a twin cabin on the upper deck, all with ensuite facilities. There is an indoor dining area and two indoor saloons with a bar. A large partially shaded sundeck has comfortable seating and an outdoor bar area. The dive deck has showers and toilets.

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Abu Nuhas Diving Highlights

Abu Nuhas, also called the ships' graveyard, is a paradise for wreck diving enthusiasts in the Shadwan Channel. North of Hurghada, this can be reached from either the Sharm or Hurghada departures. Translated, this means Father of Bad Luck as five vessels have sank each having their own unique curiosities. The wrecks have been submerged for many years and have amazing marine life surrounding them and covered with encrusting corals.

The Carnatic

Is a British cargo vessel that was laden with gold when she sank in 1869, making her the oldest wreck in the Red Sea. After running aground, she took over 24 hours to sink allowing the crew to escape, some of whom perished awaiting rescue on the nearby island. She is in 24m of water and 90m in length making her an ideal wreck to explore, lying on her port side she is in two pieces and good conditions. Encrusted in coral with nudibranchs and scorpionfish covering her hull the iron structure is clearly seen after the wooden flooring has rotted away. Her gold cargo was recovered fully but some wine bottles remain in the hold. Sweepers and glass fish fill the vessel and batfish hang around the structure. There is a reef close by to end the dive or a decent line can be used on the bow at 12m.

Kimon M

A German cargo ship that hit the reef in 1978 and sank quickly, all crew were rescued after a distress call. She sits at 32m on her starboard side making her the deepest wreck within recreational limits here. At 120m in length there is a lot to explore and many swim throughs, her cargo of lentils was removed as were her engines but there are many pipefish to be found here.

Chrisoula K

A Greek freighter that was transporting Italian tiles when she sank after a collision with the reef in 1981. Her depth ranges from 3m to 26m where the propellor is and she sits upright so is ideal for divers to explore. There are many swim-throughs and careful penetration is allowed in the engine room area. Coral encrusted and home to various flatworms, triggerfish, wrasse and lion fish, with the occasional dolphin known to pass by.

Giannis D

Another Greek owned cargo vessel that sank in 1983 whilst transporting timber.The 100m vessel is in 24m of water and intact but sitting on an angle. There are many passageways to explore and the glass fish filled engine room at 14m can be penetrated easily. She is famous for the funnel with the D clearly visible on it, marine life includes morays, nudibranchs, octopus and scorpionfish.

The Sea Star is the 5th vessel sank here but sits in 90m of water so not within recreational limits.

Red Sea Wreck Highlights

El Mina Wreck

A 58m Egyptian minesweeper located outside the Hurghada harbour sank by Israeli jets during the conflict sometime between 1967 and 73. There is the start of coral coverage on the structure and cleaner shrimp, pipefish and ornate ghost pipefish can be found as well as the many glass fish inside the structure itself. Lying on her port side at the shallowest point of 20m of depth she is in good condition. The contra air guns can be clearly seen with bullets that are now coral covered, a large chain lies on the sea floor and a torpedo near the bow. The hole that caused the vessel to sink is on the starboard side of the bow and worth investigation with a torch.

Guble Barge Wreck

In the north of the Red sea and suitable for all divers or night dives as she sits in only 15m of water. A smaller wreck at 35m of length she has some degredation but good coral coverage along with scorpionfish, octopus, crocodile fish, shrimps and crabs. A close by reef allows divers to continue the dive and enjoy a sighting of a Spanish dancer.

Kingston Wreck

A steamship located on Shag Rock, (named after the seabird), close to the Thistlegorm wreck, where she sank in 1881. Her 78m hull is well intact and she sits upright at 15m of depth close to the reef. The hull can be penetrated and offers protection from the sometimes strong current, but surge conditions can often happen here. There are swim-throughs in the deck area, on the deck is a spare propeller and two large boilers. The vessel is home to macro life in the cracks, crevices and coral coverage with groupers and puffer fish. Larger life include the Napoleon wrasse and schools of snappers. Divers can move to the reef after exploring the wreck which is close by.

Rosalie Moller

A deeper wreck for advanced divers that descends to 50m from 25m at the shallowest point. A coal filled 110m cargo ship, she was sank in 1941 by German bombers located just north of Hurghada. There is no reef close by as a reference so a blue water descent with a line is needed to 32m where the main deck starts. Penetration of the cargo area is not recommended due to the depths and silty conditions, but there are some swim-throughs in this area. The stern has a collapsed funnel and the bomb blast can be clearly seen here, the bow has the bridge, saloon and a winch area, the large anchor is still visible in the raised position too. The deep area has the propeller, engine room and rudder but this is beyond recreational dive limits. The marine life surrounding this structure is amazing, tuna, jacks, snapper and trevally are seen hunting the many glass fish and juveniles covering the wreck.

The Ulysses

A wreck that was a 95m British cargo vessel that sank in 1887 near Gobul Seghir at 30m. She is completely encrusted in coral almost blending into the reef, the stern is in the deeper section and more complete than the shallower bow, but penetration is possible in the stern with a torch light to the glass fish filled engine room. The funnel is in the shallow water and ghost pipe fish are often seen in the gorgonian sea fans anchored onto this. Moray eels, groupers, crocodile fish and seahorses can also be found, dolphins are sometimes seen here too.

Ras Mohammed National Park Highlights

The area was first designated a marine park in 1983 by the government due to the scientific significance of the area. Initially only 97 km2, this was increased to the 480 km2 it is today, there are designated dive areas. Local awareness and marine park rangers have made the park very successful in preserving the varied marine fish, sharks and turtles of the popular dive destination.

Ras Ghozlani

This site generally has strong currents and was closed  for many years to preserve the area. It has great biodiversity and healthy coral coverage and is relatively undived. The site is a steep slope with coral bommies to 15m that changes to a wall as it descends further. Eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse, groupers and pufferfish are common here, as are larger pelagics that can be passing at any point on the wall.

Ras Za'atir

A deep dive in the north of the peninsula that is a wall with overhangs, crevices and chimney-like structures that create interesting topography with swim-throughs and caves. The caves and caverns have interesting lighting that is filtered through the reef and wall structure and they are filled with glass fish, soft and black corals. Look for lingoes hawkfish, tube worms and many invertebrates here. After following the wall this will change to a sandy slope with coral blocks, this is the area to look for sharks and eagle rays, lucky divers may even find a manta ray.

Shark and Yolanda Reef

These sites are often called the best dive sites in the Ras Mohammed area and with good reason. The reefs offer diverse and plentiful marine life with shark diving and a shipwreck, something for every diver in the combined dive sites. These two reefs come from deep water pinnacles from a seamount that are separated from the mainland by a channel. The dive usually begins at shark reef where a quick entry and decent is required to prevent drifting past this 800m deep wall. Schooling batfish and barracuda are always in this area along with surgeonfish, large tuna and napoleon wrasse. Shark reef does live up to its name with grey and black tip sharks and the rare hammerhead sometimes passing. The current will move you between the two sites where in the blue water look for schools of jacks with more than 500 individuals and some larger palagics that may be passing. Yolanda reef is named after the wreck from the 1970’s that now sits at 160m, far too deep to be explored. The cargo of bathroom and toilet parts is the only visible sign in the shallow water sea bed. In the sand look for stingrays and the reef has large morays, scorpionfish and hogfish.

Anemone City

Is usually dived in conjunction with Shark Reef as it is a drift dive and a smaller site. As the name would suggest, there are many anemones here  in the shallow water with their resident anemone fish guarding them. There is also a large coral encrusted anchor on the steep sloping reef with shelves or plateaus breaking it up. Coral coverage here is excellent which results in many reef fish being present such as angelfish and the endemic butterflyfish, with schools of barracuda near the surface. At the end of the dive, as you transit to Shark Reef, there is only blue water before the wall appears.

Jackfish Alley

Is to the north of Ras Mohammad and usually a gentle drift dive that starts as a wall with many crevices and holes and even some caves with alternate exits. There is a sandy plateau that is separate from the main reef where white tip reef sharks can be found sleeping during the day at 20m. The plateau runs into an alleyway that gives the dive its name where there is a coral bommie swarming with glass fish, jackfish swoop in to feed on them and often stingrays are found in the sand here. Reef fish include many varieties of angelfish and butterfly fish.

Shark Observatory

Named after the observatory on the cliff above the dive site is a fantastic sheer wall dive down to 90m. Sharks were numerous before but now are seen only in the blue water where grey reef or black tip reef sharks are passing by. The wall has many overhangs, inlets and small cave systems filled with glass fish which has light from the above entering via the coral plates. Coral coverage of both hard and soft varieties is good and there are many gorgonian sea fans, Napoleon wrasse, large groupers, schools of jacks, unicornfish, surgeonfish are brought in by the currents as well as swarms of anthias.

Dunraven Wreck

A steamship from England that sank in 1876 after hitting the reef despite the crews attempts to refloat her. She was carrying cotton and wool and lies in 30m of water upside down, she was lost for many years and only ‘rediscovered’ in 1979. Split into two sections she can be penetrated from the stern through the whole length of the ship to the bow at 15m. Encrusted with soft corals and black coral, inside are many glass fish and some groupers and moray eels. The outer structure has whip coral and gorgonian sea fans with nudibranchs and scorpion fish. The nearby reef is a good place to spot turtles and Napoleon wrasse.

Ras Um Sid

At the north of Sharm Harbour and is a reef descending to 22m where it meets the sandy bottom where crocodile fish are found. Currents often run fast here which means there is a good potential for pelagic sightings of Napoleon wrasse, turtles and sharks with the occasional manta ray, resident are schools of snappers, jacks and barracuda. Topography varies on the site with a wall, plateau and coral bommies all being present. The wall has amazing gorgonian sea fan coverage and the pinnacles are covered in fire coral and acropora coral. Look for lionfish, morays, nudibranchs and schooling batfish.

HMS Thistlegorm

Probably the most famous wreck dive in the Red Sea and high up on any wreck enthusiasts list of must see sites making it one of the most popular dives world wide. The 125m British freighter was sank by German bombers in 1941 and now sits upright in 30m of water. Her cargo was wartime army supplies and included tanks, aircraft, jeeps, trucks, trains, motorcycles and ammunition. She was hit one time by the bombers ripping a hole in a cargo hold which in turn ignited the munitions causing major damage resulting in her sinking. She is intact except for this damage that caused the stern section to separate from the main body of the vessel. Divers can clearly see the damaged area on the wreck where a tank lies on her port side and a train engine sits on the seabed ejected by the blast. Unusually, she has an antiaircraft gun and machine gun that were fitted when she was called to duty as a private vessel, these are clearly visible today on the wreck at the port side of the stern. The propeller is at 32m for divers wishing to visit this. The cargo holds have much fascination and are easily accessed from the bow of the vessel, there are two levels of holds and they are connected so can be traversed. Inside you find BSA motorbikes, cars and trucks all packed tightly ready for use once they would have arrived at their destination, many have windows and tyres still intact. Riffles, bombs and munition including grenades and mines are found with boots and shoes in one of the holds. No coral growth is present and the holds are silted. Outside the wreck you can find turtles, crocodile fish, batfish and fusiliers.

Straits of Tiran Highlights

Egypt liveaboards visit the Straits of Tiran, a shipping channel connecting Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan which has deep water and a huge area of shallow reefs.

Diving in this area of the Sinai is for advanced divers due to the deeper depths and strong currents that can be found here, some sites are open for beginners too.

The straits are split into four reefs, Jackson Reef, Woodhouse Reef, Thomas Reef and Gordon Reef named after the cartographers who created the nautical map.

Jackson Reef

The most northern reef in the Tiran Straits and is best known for the Lara wreck of a merchant ship that sank in 1981. Dives start in the southern area where there is protection from the strong currents with a wall that descends to 40m. Garden eels can be seen in the sandy substrate, gorgonian sea fans and anemones cover the walls and there is fire coral to be aware of.

If current runs favourably, the east side of the reef can be dived where at 15m there is a ledge that descends into the blue. Here Turtles and larger pelagic life can be seen. Shark diving includes white tip and grey reef sharks, with scalloped hammerheads present from July to September not only here but also around the Lara wreck.

Gordon Reef

The most southern in the area and easily recognised by the shallow wreck of the Lovilla which breaks the surface after running aground in 1981.

The site is a large plateau with drop offs, coral coverage is good and some large pelagic life can be found here. Tuna, white tip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and eagle rays can be spotted.

Marine life includes nudibranchs and fields of garden eels and there are some coral encrusted drums.

Currents in the southern area can be very strong.

Thomas Reef

The smallest but most popular of the four reefs, there are strong currents to the north and south of the reef and the site is a drift dive due to there being no moorings here. The dive starts at the south heading to the east side where there is a plateau at 25m where sharks are often seen sleeping in the sand. Large gorgonian sea fans surround the area with whip and black corals. The wall descends to the deep here and there is a canyon with arches that can have strong currents. The northern part of the reef has caves and crevices where turtles with plentiful reef fish and pelagic life are found.

Woodhouse Reef

A long site that is dived as a drift from south to north. The south is a coral covered wall descending to 30m with a sandy substrate where sharks are often sleeping. There is a canyon at 25m  that changes to a coral garden with sand chutes, the current generally increases at this point. The reef is connected here by a saddle to Woodhouse Reef and is often called the washing machine due to the multi-directional strong currents. Here jacks, turtles and sharks can be seen.

Marine Park and Conservation in Egypt Northern Red Sea

Ras Mohammed National Park includes both marine and terrestrial areas of Tiran Island and the southern area of the Sinai Peninsular. It was the first of the Egyptian marine parks to be founded in 1983 and covers an area of 850 sq km.