DIVING HOLIDAYS IN EGYPT
The Nile, the temples, pyramids, the valley of the Kings and the Queens, these are the sites that truly put Egypt on the tourist map. Ancient Greeks, Christians, Romans, pharonic nations and Arab dynasties have all played their part in building Egypt’s impressive architectural and cultural heritage and Cairo’s medieval core. The Western desert extends infinitely into the Sahara, dotted with oases feeding quiet islands. South down the Nile are Luxor and Aswan with their Temples and ancient burial grounds.
Stretching from the dive sites of the Sinai Peninsula to the reefs of St Johns and the Sudan border, Egyptian waters enclose some of the Red Sea's finest diving. An extension of the Great Rift Valley the Egyptian Red Sea is famed for its mix of deep walls, gentle coral gardens and wreck graveyards.
Planet suggested tour itineraries
The Oberoi Zahra Luxury Nile Cruise
Luxor Land And Dive Tour
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DIVING EGYPT RED SEA
At the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula stark desert landscape contrasts beautifully with the crystal waters of the Red Sea. Dahab is still a sleepy little resort with some big name dive sites like the canyon and the Blue Hole. Set against a backdrop of rugged mountain peaks is the stylish resort of Sharm El Sheikh, with Na’ama Bay at its heart. Diving the South Sinai encompasses the dive sites of the straits of Tiran, Sharm’s ‘Local Dives’ and Ras Mohammed. Day boats can access some sites in the Straits of Gubal, including the Thistlegorm, but this area is largely the preserve of the Red Sea liveaboard.
Relatively undeveloped the Southern Egyptian coastline is gradually opening up to traveling divers. The Marine Park Islands’ diving can only be accessed by Red Sea liveaboard. The Marsa Alam Marina, Port Ghalib, and the new hotels between Marsa Alam and Hamata are opening up the south to Land based divers. From here you can access many of the other Southern Egyptian Red Sea sites, including Elphinstone and Fury Shoal.
DIVING SEASONS IN EGYPT
Egypt’s climate is easy to summarize: hot and dry, with the exception of the winter months of December, January and February, which can be quite cold in the north. The best time to visit Egypt depends on where you want to go. Generally speaking, winter (December to February) is the tourist high season and summer (June to August) is the low season in all parts of the country except on the coasts, and to a lesser degree in Cairo. Hotel prices reflect this.
Best Time to Visit: All Year Round
Average Temperature: 26°C to 32°C
Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced
Current Strength: Gentle to Strong
Average Visibility: 20m to >40m
Water Temperature: 22°C to 30°C
Number of Dive Sites: 200+
The Egyptian Red Sea is fantastic for diving expeditions all year round, with a warm tropical climate and a stunning range of dive sites that can be enjoyed at any time. The Northern Wrecks and Reefs make for spectacular viewing at any point in the year, as do the Southern Marine Parks and the Deep South; however, for those that enjoy the quieter seasons of the reef – it is advised to travel outside of the months April to October, as this peak time is considered the busiest and most active for The Deep South. There are many less southern Red Sea itineraries running in the winter months (November – January) because slightly rougher seas make the long journeys between dive sites a bit rockier, but they are still possible.
TRAVEL HEALTH FOR EGYPT
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all travelers, regardless of the region they are traveling in, should be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, as well as hepatitis B.
Advise changes from time to time however so we ask that you ask your travel health expert (e.g. GP, practice nurse or travel clinic) to provide you with the most up to date information and vaccines to ensure your travels are safe and enjoyable.
It is vital to ensure that all members of your party have adequate health and travel insurance cover, which includes cover for any ‘higher risk’ activities you are likely to take part in.
By international standards Egypt is still fairly cheap, though admission fees, guided tours and private transportation can really hike up the price. The official currency is the Egyptian pound (E£) – in Arabic, a guinay. One pound consists of 100 piastres (pt). It’s possible to travel in Egypt now relying solely on plastic as ATMs are becoming more and more widespread. Of the numerous types of ATM in Egypt, the vast majority are compatible with Visa, MasterCard and any Cirrus or Plus cards. Money can be officially changed at Amex and Thomas Cook offices, as well as commercial banks, foreign exchange (forex) bureaus and some hotels. Rates don’t tend to vary much, especially for the US dollar, but if you’re keen to squeeze out the last piastre, then the forex bureaus generally offer slightly better rates than the banks, and usually don’t charge commission. While there is no problem cashing well-known brands of travellers cheques at the major banks such as Banque Misr or the National Bank of Egypt, many forex bureaus don’t take them. Cheques issued on post office accounts (common in Europe) or cards linked to such accounts cannot be used in Egypt.