Liveaboard Holidays In The Sudan Red Sea
Sudan's marine life is so rich that it ranks amongst the world’s top dive destinations. Reefs are mainly offshore, therefore only easily accessed by a liveaboard. A mix of reef walls and plateaus Sudan’s diving has everything you might expect from the Red Sea and more. Just outside Port Sudan is the wreck of Umbria, a classic dive with huge intact propellers. At Sha’ab Rumi, Jacques-Yves Cousteau carried out his Conshelf II underwater living experiments, remains which still lie on the reefs west side. Then there are the sharks and mantas which seasonally mass around Sudan’s reefs for the amusement of the adventurous diver.
With such great diversity comes great responsibility in choice, but with the additional dives that our liveaboards supply in abundance - you can at least get somewhere near to appreciate the magical underwater marine life of the Sudanese waters. The Sudanese Red Sea is home to a vast entourage of large pelagics, over 1,500 species of fish and an intricate ecosystem that houses more than 400 types of coral. The clear waters are a wonderland of marine life and submarine seascapes - packed full of a spectacular crowd that provide truly great viewing for divers who are more advanced. The fascinating range of wreck and coral dives found along the coast of the world’s sixteenth largest country are quite unique and makes Sudan the perfect destination for an unforgettable liveaboard diving holiday.
Why Choose A Sudanese Red Sea Liveaboard
Sudanese liveaboards remain the only way to dive the Sudan's Red Sea dive sites. There are no land based resorts or dive operators. There are only a handful of liveaboards operating in the Sudanese Red Sea and the quality of their boats and services vary. Planet Dive only work with the best liveaboards. It is of the utmost importance that when diving in these remote waters, which offer little in the way of support services, to choose the right boat with a crew that know the waters and understand the diving.
With the right Sudan liveaboard you can access just about all the signature dive sites off the extensive Sudanese Red Sea coastline. What's more with so few Sudanese liveaboards operating in this vast area of the Red Sea, you are guaranteed a week of isolation both above and below the waves.
Diving The Sudanese Red Sea
The long Sudanese Red Sea stretches along 650km of coastline with fringing and offshore reefs and small islands in the south. Sudan is a vast country that sits just beneath Egypt and enjoys a similar warm climate all year round. The Red Sea sneaks over the border into Sudan with abundant and diverse marine life. Unlike Egypt, Sudan is reasonably undiscovered, meaning you are away from the crowds.
Large pelagics, such as hammerheads, tiger sharks, grey reef and mantas make Sudan the place for serious big fish lovers. Also, the WW2 wreck of the Umbria and Cousteau’s visionary Con Shelf II, Sudan has plenty to offer the diver looking for somewhere a bit different for their dive destination. The local and international connections in Sudan have improved greatly of late and the country welcomes divers to her shores.
Considered one of the planet’s great pelagic feeding grounds, Sudan waters are blessed with some of the big boys, and in great numbers too. Several species of whale are found swimming these waters, including the 15m long blue whale and the fisherman-befriending whale shark.
With more than 320 species of shark, 400 species of coral and over 1,500 species of fish including; salmon herring, giant herring, soldier fish, tarpon, milkfish, goggle-eye cod & rock cod. The underwater world in the Sudanese Red Sea is so diverse and unparalled that it really requires the added dive time a liveaboard is designed to provide.
Sudan offers high adrenalin diving coupled with the luxurious liveaboard experience that is so familiar to our customers. Sometimes challenging and always rewarding, the tropical waters of Sudan make it an ideal destination for recreational and technical divers alike. From the vast reef systems to dramatic drop-offs, awesome encounters are waiting for you to discover. Sudan truly deserves its growing reputation as a must-see destination.
Sudan is rated as one of the top dive destinations by many enthusiasts, as the fantastic variety in seascapes and the diversity in marine life supported is truly spectacular. From the perfect photo moments at the wreck of Umbria to the underwater village created back in the 1960s known as Sha'ab Rumi; the fantastic range of dive sites in Sudanese waters provide great choice in fascinating explorations.
Whilst there are a great number of wonderful dive sites in Sudan, here are a few of our favourites:
Umbria Wreck of Wingate Reef is considered by many as the Red Sea’s most photogenic of wrecks - situated just 35 minutes from Port Sudan. Scuttled by an Italian crew avoiding British capture en route to Calcutta during the 1940s, the 150m long wreckage was carrying an astonishing cargo of 350,000 bombs, three Fiat cars, hundreds of car tyres and crates of wine. At just 18m, the intact starboard propeller makes for a scrap book favourite - along with some of the new marine life the ship now supports, such as: octopus, lobsters, crabs, spanish dancers and even sharks.
Sha'ab Su'adi & the Blue Belt Wreck
Known locally as The Toyota Wreck; the Blue Belt cargo ship missed a passage and hit Sha’ab Su’adi back in the 1970s and is now a great wreck dive site. At a depth of between 18m and 70m+, the ship faces the reef and the surrounding sea bed is littered with the remains of the cars and tractors it was carrying.
The magnificent reef of Sanganeb stretches 800m from depth to surface and attracts a great range of marine life, including dolphins, manta rays and many species of sharks, such as; hammerheads, white tip reef sharks, oceanic white tip sharks, grey reef sharks and silky sharks.
The quite unique Sha’ab Rumi has a plateau at 9m and a steep drop-off. It once housed five men in an underwater village for a month during a scientific experiment in the 1960s and the remains make for some fascinating viewing.
Renowned for attracting schools of manta rays, the glorious Ma’Sharriff Reef is a hot spot between the months of March and May - and is one of the recommended dive sites of Sudan.
Not far from Angarosh lays the Merlo Reef, another of the great Sudanese dive sites. Merlo comes with a 450m reef on a soft slope - which allows for some close-up and fascinating coral diving and manta rays. The wreck of The Freedom liveaboard boat which sank in the 1990's also makes for some interesting viewing in the area.
Diving Seasons In The Sudan Red Sea
Most species of shark that inhabit the waters do so all year round, however, they are most visible when the waters of the Sudanese Red Sea are cooler. Between January and April you will see Hammerhead Sharks and during September to October it is the Manta Ray season.
The hottest summer months are July, August and early September bringing sand storms reducing visibility above the water and little diving is done over this period. December and January the air conditions can be cool and weather unsettled. Therefore, the best time to dive in the Sudanese Red Sea is late September through to November, then February through to June. Average air temperatures are 29°C to 32°C with water temperatures ranging between 26°C to 30°C and visibility is 10m to 30m.
Top Tips For Diving Around Sudan
You will need to purchase a visa to enter Sudan and Egypt (which can be paid upon arrival at Marsa Alam and Port Sudan). This visa is exensive, so please enquire for the latest price.
Your passport must be valid for at six months after your return date and have at least four free pages and have no Israeli stamps.
It is recommended that you check with your GP or travel clinic exactly which vaccinations are needed, as these are subject to change and must be confirmed before your departure. Recommended vaccinations: Meningitis C, Cholera, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Tetanus.
You must have an SMB and reel as the currents can be quite strong.
Sudan Liveaboard Frequently Asked Questions
Do I require any special gear to dive in the Sudan?
A computer, delayed SMB and reel are a must. Underwater and surface signalling systems should also be carried on every dive.
How do I get to Sudan?
Planet Dive can arrange your flights as a part of your holiday package. For liveaboards departing from Egypt, we will fly you to Marsa Alam, then you will sail into Sudanese waters and return to Egypt for your flight home. For liveaboards departing from Port Sudan, we will fly you via another city, normally Cairo or Dubai.
Are there any special Passport requirements?
Your passport must be valid for at six months after your return date, have at least four free pages and have no Israeli stamps.
Do I need to get a visa for Sudan before I arrive?
You do not need a visa in advance. Your visa will be arranged for you as it can be a complex process and we will ask for your passport details in advance. There is a substantial charge paid in addition to your liveaboard safari and flight. This will vary with different itineraries, so please ask for details.
Are there any special health requirements?
Ask your travel health expert (e.g. GP, practice nurse or travel clinic) to provide you with up-to-date information and vaccines to ensure your travels are safe and enjoyable. It is vital to ensure that you have adequate health and travel insurance cover, which includes cover for cancellation and the kind of diving you are likely to take part in.
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