Whenever we sing the praises of scuba diving in Egypt, and how incredible the reef and marine life of the Red Sea is, we’re almost always met with shocked reactions. Most people immediately think of deserts, camels, and pyramids, they often have no idea that Egypt offers some of the best diving in the world.
As someone who has spent a lot of time exploring the dive sites in Egypt, as well as taking a few of my PADI dive courses here, I can certainly vouch that scuba diving in Egypt needs to be on every scuba addicts to dive list.
But don’t just take it from me. The Red Sea is consistently listed within the top 5, sometimes even top 3, scuba diving destinations in the entire world. From Egypt, you can access the very best of dive sites the Red Sea has to offer, including the world-famous Thistlegorm wreck.
In this guide, we’ll cover the best scuba diving locations in Egypt, and show you why Egypt is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.
Where to Dive in Egypt
From Egypt you can access almost all of the best dive sites in the Red Sea, many of which are consistently ranked amongst the top 100, and even top 10, dive sites in the whole world. From world-famous wrecks to deep walls, vibrant coral gardens to dramatic pinnacles, Egypt has a LOT to offer. You’ll find both shore dives, day boats, and liveaboards on offer in most destinations.
Located in an obscure dot in the South Sinai, about an hour’s drive from Shark El Sheikh, Dahab has some of the most amazing dive sites in the whole country. From the famous Blue Hole to The Canyon, Lighthouse, Islands, and many others, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm, also in the South Sinai, is a much bigger city than Dahab and is surely where you will land by plane. You probably want to get to the much quieter Dahab, but there are some good sites around Sharm as well. One of the best, that you can’t miss, is the famous Thistlegorm wreck. You can also do day trips to the wreck and other sites around Sharm, from Dahab.
El Gouna and the Strait of Gubal offer lots of shipwrecks, pristine coral reefs, and colorful marine life. We think you’ll like staying in this quiet little diver’s haunt, and you’ll definitely enjoy the diving!
Hurghada is more established with more amenities than El Gouna, with more dive resorts and liveaboards to choose from, and a livelier nightlife. Both offer world-class scuba diving. It used to be a quiet fishing village but is now the second most popular scuba destination after Sharm and Dahab.
Another remote, and lesser-known dive location, is St. John’s, Zabargad & Rocky Island in southern Egypt. These guys are definitely worth the trip to get down here, with some amazing dive sites, minus the crowds.
Marsa Alam also used to be just a sleepy fishing village, until 2001 when an international airport was built, and the dive industry and tourism took off. Although it’s still significantly less crowded than Sharm and Hurghada. And the diving is just as spectacular.
Alexandria isn’t really known for diving, and the locals normally head to Sharm of Hurghada for that, but if you are into history, archeology diving is now a thing here. “Alex” is much different diving, as it is the Mediterranean as opposed to the Red Sea, but it is a unique opportunity to see ancient ruins and statues underwater.
Makadi Bay and Safaga are some of the lesser-known areas to dive, but there are still some awesome dive sites that are worth exploring if you’re in the area. Here you’ll find some beautiful rock formations, intriguing caves, and probably spot some of the big pelagics. And, of course, there are some gorgeous coral reefs here too.
If you are looking for one of the more quiet resort areas of Egypt, with superb dive sites and great sandy beaches, then El Quseir is worth a visit.
You are probably going to run into countless wrecks here, as it is located in the Gulf of Suez. Some wrecks are well known, while many are yet to be mapped or explored.
Check out this video for a rundown of the 5 best dive sites in Egypt…
Best time to dive in egypt
Another great thing about scuba diving in Egypt is that it’s possible all year round, the visibility rarely drops below 20m (and that’s considered a bad day!). Water temperatures vary across the seasons ranging from an average of 28°C (82°F) in the summer months and dropping to around 21°C (70°F) in the winter.
April and October tend to be the busiest months for diving in Egypt, and tourism in general, as these months, offer the most optimal temperatures both on land and in the water. During the summer months, the outside temperatures can be quite unbearable, and in the winter the water can be a little chilly for some. That being said, you can find some seriously cheap deals on diving and liveaboards in Egypt during these months.
The best time to see Hammerhead sharks in Egypt is between June and September. And if a whale shark is on your bucket list then try between May and August, although they can be spotted any time but are more frequently sighted during these months.
Why go scuba diving in Egypt
Well if you weren’t convinced already by the sheer number of epic dive sites in Egypt then here are a few more reasons why to go diving in Egypt.
Dive conditions are incredible
The conditions for diving in Egypt are among some of the best in the world with calm waters and visibility often reaching 40m+ on many dive sites (even 50m isn’t uncommon!). The water temperatures vary slightly with the seasons but overall it’s a very pleasant temperature. During the summer the water is between 26 °C (79 °F) and 30 °C (86 °F). In the winter it usually hovers between 22 °C (72 °F) and 26 °C (79 °F), but can fall below 20 °C (68°F) especially on deeper sites. As you’d expect, the south is usually warmer than the north.
The insane visibility combined with the easy access to depth, and an array of interesting wrecks, make Egypt a hotspot for technical diving and training. But there’s such a wide array of dive sites that there really is something to satisfy every divers taste and experience level in Egypt.
Rich marine biodiversity
Egypt’s coral reefs are teeming with life; vibrant corals and abundant schools of fish create a truly magical kaleidoscope of color as soon as descend below the service. But it’s not just about the colors, the Red Sea is also home to pretty much all of the favorites, from the weird and wonderful macro critters to those bucket list pelagics, the Red Sea almost has everything a scuba diver can dream of. Reef sharks, hammerheads, threshers, and whale sharks can be spotted, plus dugongs, dolphins, and even the magical manta rays. Plus seahorses, frogfish, and a whole range of nudibranch.
Easy to access and cheap!
Both in terms of the proximity of the dive sites, the experience level needed, and in terms of the cost of diving. In comparison to the world’s other top diving destinations, Egypt is by far the cheapest. This makes diving here a great option for those who are looking for a world-class diving experience on a budget. Of course, you can always opt for a super luxurious liveaboard but even those are relatively accessible here!
It is no wonder that Egypt is a popular dive destination for Europeans, it has significantly better reefs and a higher variety, and number, of critters. Plus it’s much cheaper than diving in Europe, and most other top dive destinations.
How to get to Egypt
Chances are you will be arriving by air, which either means Cairo International or Sharm El Sheikh. There are even a few flights that get down to Hurghada.
Some people arrive in Egypt overland from Israel, or by ferry from Aqaba, Jordan. If you arrive by land in the Sinai, you’ll have to take a taxi, bus, or car down the coast to Dahab or Sharm from there.
Highlights of Egypt
In our humble opinion, Egypt has better diving than anywhere in the US or Europe, for anyone wanting to see healthy corals, and a huge variety of marine life. Not to mention some world-class wrecks.
But if you are going all the way to Egypt for the dives, you should make the most of your trip and see some of the famous attractions around the country too. From ancient wonders to modern cultures to food tours and more, there is so much to see and do.
Of course, if you haven’t done so already, schedule a stop in Cairo to see the Pyramids of Giza. No visit would be complete without that. And if you are a history lover, be sure to check out the amazing Ancient Egypt museum in Cairo as well.
We highly recommend taking a sailing tour down the Nile to the south, and visiting some of the most amazing ruins in the world, around Luxor, and on further to Aswan. These are some temples and ruins you will never forget.
There are countless things you should experience in Egypt, but make sure diving is at the top of your list You will thank us later!
Geography of egypt
Egypt is a Middle East nation, chock-full of ancient history and wonders. The total area is 1,010,407.87 km2 and the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world where the population is approximately 95,977,300.
Egypt is rich with famous landmarks and tourist destinations like the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings.
Capital city of Egypt: Cairo
Closest neighbors to Egypt: It is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west.
Currency of Egypt: Egyptian pound (EGP) is the currency of Egypt.
Official Language of Egypt: Egyptian Arabic is the official language of Egypt.
UNESCO World Heritage sites in Egypt: There are 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Egypt and 33 on their tentative list. To read more information about all of Egypt’s UNESCO sites, click HERE.
Time zone: UTC+02:00
Calling code: +20
Closest airport: CAI
Plugins: 220-240 V
Have you been scuba diving in Egypt? Let us know your experience in the comments below!