Top 10 Diving Sites
Shipwrecks, hammerhead sharks and coral reefs. The real beauty of Sharm El Sheikh is under the surface. Find your diving site here:
1- Ras Mohamed
National park at the peninsula on the southern tip of the Sinai. Its very deep waters and the reefs are heading vertically down from the surface. This is where the waters of the Gulf of Aquaba and Gulf of Suez meet, so the currents can be unpredictable and very strong. Best suited for the experienced diver.
Shark and Yolanda Reef isvery popular diving sites, and among the top ten dive sites in the world.
This site is spectacular from mid June to mid August when the fish are mating.
2- Dunraven Wreck
This wreck of a British Steamer is on the Southern edge of Sha’ab Mahmoud, known as Beacon Rock as the wreck is directly below the South Cardinal beacon. The Dunraven was built in 1873 in Newcastle and hit the reef in 1876 on its way to Bombay. It sunk in 30 meters of water right next to the reef wall and lays upside down in two sections. She is 85m long and 10m wide. The cargo she was carrying, cotton and timber, was destroyed when the boat caught fire before sinking.
The stern section is in about 29m of water and there are 3 entry points for those wishing to go inside, stern, midships and bow. Exit is normally through midships where grouper, glass fish and lion fish are abundant. After the bow section the dive continues over the hull which is covered in coral and then moving onto the reef wall, where stone fish are common. This diving site is another hour boat ride past Ras Mohammed and is exposed to the weather. Once at the reef there is some protection from the waves but it can still be a little rough, although the zodiacs enable the boat to moor inside the lagoon for calmer waters.
3- Shab Ali
Sha’ab Ali is located on the north side of the Straits of Gubal in the Gulf of Suez, stretching 8.3 miles and is separated from the coast by a deep water channel with a depth range from 5-30 m. This area contains the famous Thistlegorm wreck, among many other diving sites, and safari boats will normally make use of the nearby lagoon overnight to ensure close proximity for morning dives.
4- Wreck diving – Thistlegorm
The Thistlegorm was built in 1940 as a merchant vessel. She was 126m long and 17.5m wide and was commanded by the british navy during the World War II. In October 1941 the vessel had made its way round Africa and into the Red Sea on route to Lybia, with a cargo intended for British troops. She anchored on the holding area, safe anchorage F, with the intention of moving towards the Suez Canal.
In the early hours of the 6th October two German bombers from Crete found her. The bombs landed in number four hold, which contained ammunition, ripping the stern section off and folding some of the deck back on itself. The ship went down and landed upright The wreck was first dived by Cousteau in the 50’s. However its position was not rediscovered until the early 90’s. Since then it has become one of the most sought-after wrecks to dive. The holds are open and easily accessed showing the full range of cargo carried – trucks, motorbikes, plane wings and engines, trains and tenders, ammunition and armored vehicles.
Currents can be very strong and the dive itself requires a depth of 29m, where the stern came to rest, therefore it is recommended for experienced divers.
5- Wreck Diving – Giannis D
In April 1983, the Giannis D was being loaded with sawn softwood at the Croatian port of Rijeka. Part of this cargo was destined for the Saudi Arabian Port of Jeddah, with the remains to be sailed to Hodeidah on the coast of Yemen.
The Giannis D was now in the upper reaches of the Gulf of Suez – a long narrow stretch of water. The Coral Reefs lurked menacingly just below the surface – as many a Captain has discovered on this coast…
The Giannis D hit a reef and started to take water and sink, but the crew had enough time to safely disembark onto a passing ship before the boat sank. The ship came to rest at 27m at a 45 degree angle on the bottom. The visibility in this area is normally excellent, but rough sea makes this site mostly dived from zodiacs.
6- The Carnatic
This boat went down in 1879 after hitting the reef, after a strong current put the boat off course. She is found at the base of the Reef, laying parallel to it. She is on her port side with the bows facing east. There are three distinct elements to this dive; The fore and aft sections are still largely intact and are joined together by the most damaged area where the ship was broken and the engine room was located.
The cargo was cotton, mail for British troops and wine and soda bottles, which were still visible until a few years ago. The ship itself is mostly corroded and covered in soft coral. This site is dived at 27m and is considered a relatively easy wreck dive, although rough sees can make it more difficult.
This site is known to locals as ‘the seven pinnicles’, but by divers as Alternatives due to its sheltered position and provides dives if the weather is rough. The alternatives are a chain of shallow patch reefs running from Shaab Mahmud eastward toward the Ras Muhammad coast.
The Alternatives is a fringing reef and has a large lagoon in the middle of several submerged islands that form a ring. The boats will usually moor in the lagoon. The outside walls of the islands offer the best diving. They have small walls and many large corals heads that contain a large variety of marine life. Night dives are very popular here as well because of the safe mooring.
This diving site is just offshore of the island of Tiran close to Sharm El Sheikh. This dive site has more anemones and clown fish than any other area. This site is also famous for being the location where the Cunard liner went aground resulting in a fine by the Egyptian government of about $20 Million. The area that it hit has no coral remaining though the reef is slowly recovering. The dive is now usually conducted south of the impact area.
The dive is done from by the southern point of the reef, where often sharks sleep on the plateau, and then drift gently along heading north. There are large table corals and patches of anemones all along the slope.
9- Straits of Tiran
This dive area is found in the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba and is only accessible by boat. Unpredictable currents around the reefs and steep drop offs require good diving skills.
Four coral reefs lined up in a row are visible on the surface, named after the British cartographers who mapped the area in the 19th Century – Gordon, Woodhouse, Thomas & Jackson. This area is world famous for its extraordinary diversity of corals. Sights of sharks, turtles and other big fish are possible. Each reef can be dived in a variety of ways depending on the currents on the day.
2 wrecks remain on the outside of both Gordon and Jackson reefs, serving as a warning to ships navigating in the narrow straits.
The Temple is located on the north side of Sharm El Sheikh Harbor. It is a group of three pinnacles that rise up from 18m below to the surface.
This is a flat, sloping reef with two major, and a few minor, pinnacles adding contour to the reef face. The largest of the pinnacles is ‘The Tower’. All the pinnacles hide a surprisingly rich variety of reef animals.
Coral growth throughout the site is good, with a density and mix of species difficult to match in the immediate area. The fish are as pleasant a surprise as the coral, with a truly amazing range of species colonizing the reef. There are lion fish all about, as well as stone fish that do not move and are camouflaged. Around the pinnacles are schools of glass sweepers that move together.
Because of the sheltered conditions and lack of current, this is a very popular night dive sight.