In the light of the COVID-19 outbreak all over the world, the whole globe is in lockdown and almost all the international flights have been cancelled! Yet, we still have the opportunity to read, know and discover new things and places, which we hope to visit one day.
Marsa Alam, Egypt’s Red Sea features over 400 species of coral and reefs, in addition to hundreds of magnificent fish species, sea animals, anemones, urchins, and more. Here we are going to highlight the ultimate beauty of Marsa Alam’s diving spots.
Marsa Alam is perfectly located on the western shore of the Red Sea, Egypt. Recently, it is chosen as one of the best diving spots in the world, from which you can completely explore the southern Red Sea’s wonders. In addition to that, Marsa Alam offers several world-class resorts that line the coastlines charming beaches, and what makes it more interesting, it is only about 4 hours’ drive away from Hurghada.
Marsa Allam makes a perfect diving spot for those who are looking for new challenging dives and unique wildlife experiences. Its sites offer a real opportunity to dive with unique species of sea turtles, cute dolphins, dugongs, and manta rays.
Actually, the diving season in Marsa Alam is year-round, yet the perfect time to dive in Marsa Alam is from May through August. We recommend visiting Marsa Alam in autumn when it is quieter and the water temperature is still balmy. You should expect water visibility up to 100 feet (30 m), but make sure to ask an expert about the perfect local dive sites and sea conditions before diving unguided. Pack a 3 mm or 5 mm wetsuit; depending on your cold tolerance, and always carry a dive knife, torch, and DSMB.
Best diving spots in Marsa Alam
Abu Dabab Beach
Diving depth: Up to 25 meters
Location: 30 km north of Marsa Alam.
Water visibility: 5-20 meters; better in the deeper areas
Suitable for: All diving levels.
Abu Dabab is considered one of the most popular beaches in Marsa Alam; it features many turtles and dugongs. It is also a dive site suitable to all skill levels, although it doesn’t contain any coral reefs and not infrequent poor visibility. Professional divers count it as the best place to get close to sea turtles and the dugong.
Fortunately, the bay has recently been closed to boats making both snorkeling and scuba diving easier and more relaxing. You can divide among a group of the imperiled shark species – one of the world’s rarest sharks. It has bizarre but beautiful looks as if a stingray had been crossed with a real shark. Nothing to worry about, it’s not aggressive at all. However never touch them as a flip of its tail could dislodge your mask.
Elphinstone Reef (Sha’ab Abu Hamra)
Diving depth: From 20 up to 70 meters (60 – 200ft)
Location: 50km northeast of Marsa Alam, and 10km from the shore.
Water visibility: 20-30 meters
Suitable for: Experienced divers only
Amazing reef line lies in the open ocean, a little over seven miles (12 km) from the Marsa Abu Dabbab coastline. It takes around 20 minutes to get there via Zodiac from Marsa Alam. It is considered as one of the top reef plateaux in The Red Sea; it’s about 300 meters long, 30 meters wide, and 40 meters deep. Yet, at its edges, there are near-vertical cliff walls. The west drop off is a little less vertical than the east and sandier with some overhangs and small caves.
Elphinstone makes a perfect option if you are looking for shark encounters, particularly the large and usually solitary oceanic whitetip. Many divers report up to four sitings on a single dive! Please be cautious of these magnificent animals and never feed them. You can see sharks year round, but they are most numerous from October to December.
The reef there attracts an enormous variety of sea life including jacks, tuna, blue lunar fusiliers, black snapper, and lone giant barracuda. So, it’s better to watch the reef from a distance.
It is still not yet as well-known as other diving spots in Marsa Alam; few of the tour operators currently visit it. Yet, this gave it an additional privilege that makes of it a special reef to visit. You probably stand a better chance of swimming close to dolphins as contrary to what you might believe, these friendly but easily stressed animals. So, try to avoid areas where there are too many people and boats.
Samadai Reef (Dolphin House)
Diving depth: from 10 up to 15 meters (32 – 49 ft)
Location: approx. 20km SE of Marsa Alam
Suitable For: All diving levels
It is one of the most popular reefs in Marsa Alam; you can consider it one of the world’s most important dolphin habitats. It’s home for a large family of around sixty spinner dolphins. They are nocturnal animals and return every morning to the shallow waters of the reef to rest. It’s better not to feed or play with the dolphins as it is not natural for them and may cause distress.
Samadai Reef is crescent-shaped with a small lagoon of sand and sea-grass within, which is rich in marine life including the usually elusive sea horses. You can also explore some underwater caves and at least twelve coral towers! Remember, you should only explore the caves with an experienced guide.
Hamada Wreck (Abu Gosoon Shipwreck)
Diving depth: from 0m up to 18m
Location: 68km SSE of Marsa Alam
Water visibility: 15 to 30m
Suitable for: all diving levels
The Hamada sank off a secluded shoreline south of Wadi El Gamal National Park in 1993. The wreck is unique as it’s suitable for snorkelers, as well as experienced and novice divers.
It is home to young corals, while the wreck itself is home to a number of species, including hump head wrasse, lionfish, butterflyfish, and moray eels. It is fringed with some of the most beautifully colorful coral reefs in the world due to its sandy white beaches. It’s an enchanting site for diving that is perfect for experience the delicate harmony and balance between man and nature.
Sherif Khalil is Owner of Dunes & Beyond. Dunes & Beyond offers luxury tours, Nile cruises and desert safaris in Egypt.