With fascinating natural seascapes and underwater environments, surrounded by towering red mountains and vast expanses of arid desert, the Red Sea is one of the most popular liveaboard diving destinations on our planet, and includes both Egypt and Sudan. As interesting as it is unique, the Red Sea is a body of water in the form of a cul-de-sac, resulting in an array of unusual marine life indigenous to the region.
From the Sinai Peninsula in the north through to St. John's pristine reefs at the Sudanese border in the south, the Red Sea shimmers as an example of dedicated environmental conservation. The success of the region's sea life is largely thanks to conservation efforts implemented in the early 1990's. The Egyptian government is planning further expansion of their conservation effort, which is good news for scuba divers, like you!
In the north, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula provides the opportunity to discover sun, sand and sea. With Sharm El Sheikh as your base, Red Sea liveaboard diving cruises to the well-known Ras Mohammed National Park are quick and convenient. Unparalleled diversity with an abundance of coral growth and prolific marine life is the park's hallmark.
The Sinai Peninsula stretches from Ras Mohammed all the way to the Straits of Tiran. Within this area the reefs are healthy and vibrant, with an abundance of coral reef fish and invertebrates, the likes of octopus, cuttlefish and squid. Wrecks are the main attraction including the Dunraven and the spectacular and world-renowned SS Thistlegorm. The dive sites are full of life with the headlines being stolen by hawksbill turtles, sharks and even dolphin sightings.
On liveaboard diving safaris in the Red Sea from Hurghada and further south, the weather plays a slightly more prominent role but rewards scuba divers with awesome visibility, sheer walls, lots of wrecks and pelagic action in droves. Characteristic of the region are sheltered reefs and towering pinnacles, a favourite habitat of a diverse shark populations. Dark clouds of schooling reef fish, swarming snappers and heaps of surgeons also abound. Divers speak in hushed tones of sites such as The Brothers, Elphinstone, Daedalus, St John's and Sudan.
The Northern Red Sea of Egypt encompasses the dive sites around the Sinai Peninsula, as well as the multitude of wrecks and reefs that lie between Hurghada and Sinai. The 'North & Wrecks' region offers a large number of fantastic sites to Egyptian liveaboards, each bringing something unique, but all being fascinating.
Thistlegorm - This is the best known and most popular wreck in the Red Sea and with good reason. She sank with a large inventory of wartime supplies many of which can still be seen today in their watery home: jeeps, motorbikes, rifles and more!
Ras Mohammed National Park - Some 20 km south of Sharm El Sheikh is the most popular national park in Egypt which consists of numerous different dive sites. Including sites such as Yolanda Reef and Anemone City, Ras Mohamed is characterised by a spectacular array of reef and pelagic fish, diverse coral reefs and luxuriant sea walls.
Northern Wrecks - It's a wreck diver's dream come to life with all the choices laid before you. Choose from the wrecks of the Thistlegorm, Giannis D, Chrisoula K, Carnatic, Kingston, Rosalie Moller and the Dunraven, or simply take your time and do them all on one great cruise.
Visit our Hurghada to Sharm El Sheikh liveaboard section to explore your options.
From Hurghada down to St. John's, the south and deep south of the Red Sea possess a plentitude of fine liveaboard-only dive sites, each fascinating in its own right and offering something different. The marine parks' northerly sites such as Brother Islands and Elphinstone form popular routes for dive safaris, as does the southern marine park combination of Daedalus Reef, Zabargad Island and Rocky Island. Highlights further south include St John's and Fury Shoals.
The Brothers - Despite being only accessible by Egypt liveaboards and in an exposed location, this is among the most beloved places in the Red Sea. Flourishing soft and hard coral growth overwhelms sheer walls where many pelagic fish dominate the blue.
Daedalus Reef - Due to its remote location, this is a pristine site and one of the best to visit on Red Sea diving cruises. Currents, while occasionally trying, mean predators such as trevally, tuna and hammerheads are common visitors along with the less commonly sighted thresher sharks.
St John's Reef - In the most southerly of Egyptian waters, this reef system is riddled with tunnels and swim-throughs as well as shallow reef flats and steep walls. It therefore provides something very different from many other areas of the Red Sea. There is a great mix of pelagic action here as well as vibrant reef life.
For more detailed information, visit our Southern Red Sea of Egypt website section.
Visit our Egyptian Southern Red Sea liveaboard section to explore your options.
A little more off the beaten track than the Egyptian regions of the Red Sea is Sudan. Here the diving is a cut above much of what Egypt has to offer. Fewer divers, fewer cruises, more sharks, some incredible wrecks and the ruins of an underwater village, Sudan's liveaboard diving is nothing if not unique!
Many liveaboard divers venture further south to Sudan after they have been to Egypt once or more, so visitors tend to be more experienced and the diving more unusual. The topography varies very much from site to site and includes pinnacles, steep walls and interesting caves. The excellent visibility means that encounters with sharks and manta rays are both common and great photo opportunities.
Cousteau's Conshelf - This is your opportunity to investigate a piece of scuba diving history as you explore Jacques Cousteau's experimental underwater village of the 1960's. Oceanauts stayed here for a month as part of his "underwater living" project and to dive around this shallow site is a completely unique and unforgettable experience.
Sanganeb Reef - Beneath this lighthouse island is a nutrient-rich reef which showcases some of the best elements of diving in Sudan. Large schools of barracuda and jacks swirl around your head. Sharks to look out for include whitetips, grey reef sharks and hammerheads. A beautiful vibrant reef also beckons you to marvel at the robust corals and innumerable colourful reef fish fluttering above it.
The Umbria Wreck - One of Sudan's most legendary sites and a world-famous wreck dive, this Italian war supply vessel is still home to stacks of bombs and vehicles. It is easily penetrated and completely covered in encrusting algae, sponges, corals and featherstars. Marine life includes hundreds of cleaner shrimps, a large school of snappers and barracuda.
For more detailed information, visit our Sudan diving website section.
Visit our Sudanese liveaboards to explore your options.
Egypt's Northern and Southern Red Sea regions favour the diver all year round, with the warmest water in the European summertime (June to August). Sudan tends to follow the same pattern but remains a degree or two warmer.
However, it should be noted that winds can blow here any time of year, especially during the winter months of October to April. There is always the possibility in particular that Southern Red Sea diving safaris in Egypt might be re-routed if the winds make it unsafe to travel.
In May and June oceanic whitetip sharks can be frequently seen at St. John's, and from October until the end of the year at Elphinstone and the rest of the Southern Red Sea. Thresher sharks occur in the Autumn and Winter months around the Brothers and Daedalus Reef. Hammerhead sharks can be seen at Daedalus in the summer time when congregations of females are attracted there. In Sudan, January to April is the best time for hammerheads and August to October is the optimum period for manta rays.
Whale shark and manta ray sightings are best from the end of April until the end of June when they can be spotted mainly on northern Red Sea liveaboards but also occasionally in the south. Hammerhead sharks and schools of barracuda are more frequently seen in the Sinai Peninsula between July and September.
Great for: Wrecks, value-for-money, visibility, wall dives and large animals
Not so great for: Small animals
Depth: 5m - >40m
Visibility: 20m - >40m
Surface conditions: Can be choppy in some places
Water temperature: 22°C - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: >200
Recommended length of stay: 1 - 2 weeks