LIVEABOARD HOLIDAYS IN EGYPT RED SEA
Egypt liveaboards undoubtedly offer some of the best value and choice for your scuba diving holiday, as the varied dive sites coupled with the spectacular seascapes ensure there is something for everyone. Whilst many tourists are attracted to Egypt in search of the historic pyramids and sphinx of the Pharaohs, the underwater royalty found roaming these Red Sea waters is every bit as magnificent - and can hold a much greater impact upon keen diving enthusiasts.
Surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery found anywhere in the world, the diving experiences of Egypt are segregated into three main areas and types - providing an attainable level of choice for divers of all abilities. From the wide-eyed novices through to the seasoned technical pros; the sheer scale of what is readily available with an Egypt liveaboard can nigh on guarantee suitable satisfaction, wherever you decide to drop anchor and explore in the Red Sea’s most popular diving location.
Diving holidays in the Egyptian Red Sea are considered by many to be the best value of all our liveaboards - as the mixture of reefs, wrecks & marine life combined with the number of boats and ease of access from the UK provide the perfect platform for divers to enjoy an endless amount of unforgettable diving expeditions.
The Northern Red Sea is of course the most popular region for Egyptian liveaboards, as the gentle diving conditions combined with the stunning visuals of the overturned ships littering the seabed offer a perfect introduction for beginners and enthusiasts alike. With huge numbers of these fascinating wrecks, virtually no minimum dive restrictions and great diversity in diving discovery, including the magnificent night dives; The Northern Wrecks & Reefs itineraries provide some of ‘cheapest’ options in terms of the great value you can get from one of these liveaboards, plus there are many flights from the UK to this region of the Red Sea.
The Southern Marine Parks of Egypt offer a much more challenging set of diving conditions for the more advanced divers, and with a mandatory pre-requisite of at least 50 logged dives – are definitely not for the novice. These areas are much less crowded than the Northern Red Sea and provide an intriguingly diverse range of dive sites in much more isolated waters – free from the populations of novice divers and day boats from the mainland. The southern marine parks are comprised of Brothers Islands, Elphinstone, and Daedalus reef. These sites are underwater pinnacles far from land, so these sites require longer boat journeys from land. In exchange, divers are given excellent opportunities to dive with various species of sharks (hammerheads, oceanic white tips, reef sharks, silky sharks, and thresher sharks). There are also a few wrecks to explore on these reefs.
The Deep South itineraries take divers to the most remote dive sites of the southern Red Sea, including St. Johns and Fury Shoals. These remote sites are some of the best for pelagics and it is very rare to run into other dive boats there.
WHY CHOOSE AN EGYPT LIVEABOARD
Liveaboards in Egypt are without any doubt the best way to maximize your experience in the Red Sea’s glorious underwater offering, as the additional time in the water and increased access to the more remote dive sites afforded by the luxury cruise boats really give an edge over land based tours.
The added social benefit of a liveaboard is also a popular aspect to trips like this, as the shared dining facilities and close knit nature of the luxury cruise boats ensure you’ll have plenty to talk about with like minded people sharing your passion for Egyptian diving. Discussing your pre-dive aims and post-dive findings over dinner or evening drinks can open up your experience to a new level, and sharing the secluded secrets from below can very often improve your future dives.
MARINE LIFE OF EGYPT
As one of the world’s most popular dive sites, Egypt is naturally blessed with some quite astonishing marine life in every nook & cranny of the vast and historic waters. The famous dive sites are well documented for hosting an endless amount of magnificent creatures – from the macro-life hiding away in the corals and wrecks to the large pelagics feasting on the rich currents; the submarine activities of the Red Sea comes in a more than plentiful supply.
The impressive spectrum of invertebrates found throughout all three areas, but particularly around the Southern Marine Parks and The Deep South are of particular interest to the more experienced divers, as the range of hard and soft corals play host to many spectacular submarine species. Attracting large schools of hammerhead, the corals also inhabit and support many types of crustacean, sponge and hundreds of fish species. With crystal clear waters, a littering of glorious wrecks and miles of picturesque sea bed - the marine life occupying the Egyptian Red Sea is a photographer’s dream that provides an endless range of opportunities, and comes highly recommended as one of the world’s Must See Diving Locations.
BEST DIVE SITES IN EGYPT
Egypt’s best dive sites are found all across the vast openness of the waters, and vary greatly between locations. From the photogenic wrecks littering the sea bed to the mesmeric corals of The Deep South – the diversity in dives for experienced divers is just perfect for the additional time in the water afforded by a liveaboard.
Northern Red Sea
The Northern Wrecks and Reefs are the most popular dives in the Red Sea and are perfect for the less experienced divers. With crystal clear waters and 16 major wrecks scattered across the sea bed, the dives here are close to the shore and never get old, as even the most experienced divers are happy to spend the entire holiday exploring this shipping lane ‘scrap yard’ alone.
Wrecks Include: The Agia Varvara, The Aida, The Carnatic, SS Dacca, The Chrisoula K, The Dunraven, The Giannis D, The Kimon M, The Kingston, The Maidan, The Million Hope, The Numidia, The Rosalie Moller, The Salem Express, The Thistlegorm, The Ulysses.
The Ras Mohammed is another of the best known dive sites of the Northern Red Sea, as the food transporting currents of the area that separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the Gulf of Suez are a hot spot for reef fish and many pelagic species. The steep walls and drop offs found here are also very good for tech training and for guided technical dives.
The Southern Marine Parks are ideal for the more experienced divers, as the remoteness of dive sites and the lack of crowds found with The Northern Wrecks and Reefs allow advanced divers to experience some challenging conditions way off shore. With a mandatory 50 logged dives required to dive here, these waters provide more difficult conditions, but supply more unusual marine life and more pelgaics.
Most Famous Southern Marine Park Dive Sites Include:
The Brothers are two small isolated reefs nestled around five minutes apart from one another 33 miles North East of El Quseir, and around 200km South of Ras Mohammed. The cone shaped reefs were likely formed by volcanic eruptions and are barely visible from above the sea – except for the British built lighthouse standing 32m out of the water. The diving at The Brothers is considered some of the area’s finest - and something of a delicacy amongst diving enthusiasts. Brothers Islands are sometimes included in northern itineraries, so please enquire.
- Big Brother is one of the most magical dive sites in the Red Sea, with a fascinating combination of underwater visuals and the marine life it inhabits. With a fringing reef and a sheer drop to a quite daunting depth, the challenge of diving Big Brother Island is more than worth the effort as the reward is great. Deep wrecks adorn the sea bed and throngs of tuna and barracuda swim the waters, along with great schools of scalloped hammerhead, oceanic white tip, silky and reef tip sharks.
- Little Brother is reputed one of the most scenic of dive sites found anywhere in the Red Sea. With a drop off of over 40m, the picturesque walls are covered in sponges, anemones, soft corals and black coral – with huge gorgonian fan corals stretching more than 3m in height. In the shallower part of the reef, caves, holes and overhangs make for some truly spectacular explorations, whilst the marine life occupying the surrounding waters also ensure the dive sites here are is of the highest quality. With little shelter, strong winds and very strong currents; access to Little Brother can be limited and relies heavily on the weather conditions.
Daedalus is the furthest offshore-reef dive site in the Red Sea and consists of a massive triangular reef with a vertical drop-off to rival that of the magnificent Brothers mentioned above. With giant hard coral structures adorning the walls, large schools of hammerheads are attracted in their numbers and circulate around the Northern point. The strong currents support a garden of anemones, whose damsel residents swim between tentacles in quite spectacular fashion. Unfortunately night dives are not permitted here.
Elphinstone is considered a hot spot of marine life and the ideal place to see larger pelagic fish, including some quite wonderful shark encounters. Whilst diving Elphinstone, you could expect to see white tip, hammerhead, grey reef and thresher sharks in amongst many species of fish, such as: barracuda, angel fish, zebra angel fish, emperor fish, anthias, suez fusiliers and giant morays.
The Deep South offers some fascinating diving conditions for more experienced divers, as the waters South of Marsa Alam up to the Sudan border are a challenge worth diving for. With a glorious underwater offering, the isolated remoteness of these dives are some of the most spectacular in the Red Sea – and come highly recommended with Planet Dive’s stamp of approval. Two of the best dive sites in The Deep South are:
Zabargad - the largest of Egypt’s four Southern Marine Parks lies just 7km North of Rocky Island in The Deep South. With exquisite turquoise bays, sandy beaches and a fantastic range of wall dives, shallow dives and even a wreck dive; the visually spectacular Zabargad attracts many tropical groupers – which you can get up close and personal with for some memorable photo opportunities. With dozens of coral towers amongst the awesome seascape scenery, you can expect to see octopus, crustaceans and nudibranches in the coral grottos alone, and much more in the surrounding waters.
Fury Shoal is another of the best Deep South dive spots, as the glorious range of caves, passages and canyons attract many groupers and morays – making for some memorable dives for experienced divers. The marine life readily on display at Fury Shoal includes: hammerhead sharks, silvertip sharks, white tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, bumphead parrotfish, turtles, spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, surgeonfish, jacks, tuna, reef fish, colourful coral and sponges…to name but a few!
For any liveaboard, we recommend that you have the following:
- Surface Marker Buoy (SMB)
- Torch - Dive Computer
- Certification Card
- Dive Insurance
- 6 Months Passport Validity
- One Blank Passport Page for Your Egyptian visa.
Egypt Flight Information:
London Gatwick & Manchester direct to Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh and Marsa Alam:
- Flight duration: 5 - 5½ hours.
F.A.Q. REGARDING EGYPT LIVEABOARDS
Where is best for beginners?
The diving conditions in the Red Sea can vary from flat calm seas with excellent visibility to the much stronger currents found off shore. With more challenging conditions of The Southern Marine Parks and The Deep South, it is generally advised that the novice and beginner divers try the Sinai area and The Northern Wrecks and Reefs – as the shallow waters and gentle conditions are ideal.
What Vaccinations are Required for Egypt?
There are no compulsory vaccinations, however we recommend protection against: - Typhoid - Tetanus - Hepatitis A - Polio. Though malaria does exist in Egypt, it is generally not present in the coastal resorts. These are only guidelines, you must consult your GP and travel clinic as these are liable to change.
Passport Requirements for Egypt:
Passports must have at least six months validity from the date of departure from Egypt.
Visa Requirements for Egypt:
A single entry tourist Visa for Egypt is required for all nationalities. British passport holders with British citizenship can easily obtain this on arrival to Hurghada Airport. Other nationalities should check with the consular office first.
What Currency Should I bring?
All major credit and debit cards are accepted, inc. Amex, Maestro, Visa & MasterCard are accepted, whilst Euro, Sterling, Egyptian Pound (LE) and USD are also fine. You won’t really need any cash to spend, as you can use cards and international currency in the airport and you can pay for all of your on board expenses with a credit card.
Do people speak English there?
English is very widely spoken in the Red Sea tourist destinations.
What Wetsuit Should I bring?
Due to the extended time in the water of a liveaboard, we recommend a 5mm shortie or 3mm long suit. With repetitive diving and strong thermoclines, temperatures can vary greatly.
Can a non-diver go on a liveaboard holiday?
Non-divers and snorkelers are welcome on all liveaboards, however there is very rarely any discount.