WHERE ARE WE GOING?

Today we are scuba diving in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt!

WHY ARE WE DIVING IN SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT?

Sharm El Sheikh sits alongside the coast of the Red Sea. And it is the base for some of the most famous dive sites around the world. The dive sites are varied and all divers will find a range of dive sites suitable for their level and interests.

Diving and courses here are cheap (similar to diving in Koh Tao or Gili Air) and the diving is accessible all year. From June to September you can see big fish schooling; whale sharks, manta rays, and Mobula rays. In the autumn, you may see Hammerhead sharks. The rest of the season also is beautiful because of the amazing amount of different corals, the white-tip reef sharks, turtles, Napoleon Wrasses, eagle rays, and so on.

An eagle ray swimming off
An eagle ray. Photo courtesy of Nicole Rossi

HOW DO WE GET TO SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT?

Sharm El Sheikh is located at the south end of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba.

Sharm El Sheikh has an international airport. It is only around 10 to 20 minutes with the bus or the taxi to your accommodation as the city is quite small.

If you arrive in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, you can take a bus to Sharm El Sheikh for 10 Euros. It is a 6-hour journey.

Or if you are in Hurghada city (another diving destination) you can take the ferry for 40 Euros. This takes 2 hours. You will need to check the departure days and time as we are in Egypt, where public transportation works a bit differently. 😉 But if you take the ferry you will save one day instead of traveling by the bus from Hurghada to Sharm.

You can just see a motorbike hidden in this wreck in Sharm El Sheikh
Parts of a wreck. Photo courtesy of Nicole Rossi

BEST DIVING IN SHARM EL SHEIKH

SS Thistlegorm Wreck

One of the most famous Wrecks around the World. It is located between Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. It is a full day trip and usually starts at an early 6 am but it is definitely worth going early. The Wreck was bombed in 1941 by German bombers. You will do two dives here, usually one inside and one outside the wreck.
Inside: trucks, motorbikes, cargo, and hallways.
Outside: tanks, walls, trains, guns, and more.

To get to the wreck, you will have to do a blue water descent on a rope. The current can be strong because the wreck is not protected from a reef. This dive is for experienced divers only.

Ras Mohammed National Park

Shark and Yolanda Reef: One of the top 5 dive sites around the world. Shark Reef has a 700-meter vertical wall where you will find many fish. Yolanda is famous for the cargo of a wreck, toilets, and bathtubs. The coral population here is amazing. This spot is located at the very end of the peninsula. The Gulf of Aqaba, the Gulf of Suez, and the Red Sea meet here which leads to really special current conditions and is only possible to dive here with experience.

Shark Observatory: A vertical beautiful wall.

Jackfish Alley: Completely covered with hard and soft corals, Jack fish and tuna schooling in the summer.

Ras Za`atar: A beautiful wall with the chance to see Mantas at the corner in the blue.

Marsa Bareika: Famous for the canyon. 

Ras Ghozlani: This dive site always surprises me. Everything can pass by. You will always find many anemones with huge Clownfish families inside.

A school of batfish in Sharm El Sheikh
A school of batfish. Photo courtesy of Nicole Rossi

Straits of Tiran

Jackson Reef: Again one of the famous dive sites here. Everyone diving in Sharm El Sheikh will see Jackson Reef, listed in the top 10 dive sites around the world. The corals here are great; schools of Bannerfish on almost every dive. All the reefs in the straits of Tiran can have currents and you will need experience to dive here.

Woodhouse Reef: Woodhouse is 0.8 miles long and I especially love the north end because of the corals.

Thomas Reef: The smallest reef here is famous for the big fan corals and for the interesting current situations. 

Gordon Reef: This site is famous because of the Louilla wreck, a cargo ship that hit the reef in 1981. The wreck is on the top of the reef and during the dive, you will see cargo with a lot of oil barrels all covered with corals.

A wreck in Sharm El Sheikh. A woman floats in front of the gun.
Amazing history in Sharm El Sheikh. Photo courtesy of Nicole Rossi

Local Dive Sites

The local dive sites are perfect for beginners but also very popular for experienced divers. All of them are really nice.

Ras Ghamila: The many table and fan corals are the biggest I have ever seen. A fairy tale world.

Ras Nasrani: Beautiful, and covered with different types of corals. 

Ras Bob: Especially shallow and super colorful. 

Sharks Bay: Beginner dive site and possible to dive from shore.

The Gardens: 4 dive sites (Far, fiddle, middle, and near garden) Each of these sites is different. Some walls, sandy spots, coral blocks. I often dive here because of the possibility to see the big ones! 😉

Na`ama Bay: This is the House Reef for many diving centers and is home to big green turtles and eagle rays. I teach Open Water Courses here.

Pinky Wall: The name comes from the soft corals at the wall, which are pink!

Amphoras and Paradise: Great coral formations.

Ras Umm Sid: Possible to dive from shore or boat, famous because of the sea fan coral ‘forest.’

Temple: Beginner dive site which I really love because of the big coral blocks where you always find something beautiful.

Ras Katy: A great site to spot eagle rays.

TELL ME MORE

Boat diving in Sharm El Sheikh
Boat diving in Sharm El Sheikh. Photo courtesy of Nicole Rossi

Boat diving is the most popular way of diving in Sharm El Sheikh. Our daily boats are super comfortable with the main deck with the salon, toilets, shower, and diving platform, and upstairs is the sundeck for relaxing between the dives. Lunch is cooked by the crew and always super yummy local food. A bar with soft drinks, coffee, and tea is also on each boat.

To Tiran and Ras Mohamed National park, the drive is around 1 – 1.5 hours depending on the boat, sea conditions, and where the jetty from the boat is located. The local dive sites we reach between 5 – 60 minutes.

For the shore dives we drive between 5 – 20 minutes with the bus.

DO I NEED ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT?

We have two seasons: Summer and Winter 

In the Summer with 28-30°C water temperature, it is, for some people, enough to wear a rash vest, skinsuit, or a shorty wetsuit. I personally feel the cold fast as I am diving every day, so in the summer I use a 5mm wetsuit.

In the Winter with 20-22°C water temperature, I recommend at least a 5mm wetsuit or more. Many of our guests will even use a 7mm with a hood (during the months of November – March) as we also have more wind which affects us during the surface interval. I go with a drysuit during this time! Here is how a drysuit works in keeping me nice and warm.

Dive shops will provide you with everything you need. Also with torches for the night dive.

Gloves, knives, hooks and sticks are not allowed.

Lots of tiny glassfish around a wreck
Lots of life in Sharm El Sheikh. Photo courtesy of Nicole Rossi

WHAT LEVEL CERTIFICATION SHOULD I BE?

We have a large variation in dive sites and everyone will find places that match their certification level. For the National Park and the Thistlegorm wreck, you should have an Advanced certification and/or good experience. Check with your dive shop. 

Diving in Sharm El Sheikh is a good place to improve your skills with specialties, Advanced Open Water course, the Rescue Course or going professional here with Divemaster training!

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS?

The water is in the winter is around 22°C going up to 30°C in the summer.

The weather is great with only 2 rainy days each year. A lot of sunshine is guaranteed. This affects the visibility positively as there is always a lot of light in the water. The visibility is generally between 20-50 meters around the year.

The sea is in the winter is sometimes rough. Some divers will use an anti-seasickness tablet.

The air temperature in the summer goes up to 45°C with little humidity. The nights are very warm during this time but your accommodation will have air conditioning. In the winter the temperature is around 20°C, and in the evenings it can drop to 10°C where you may need long trousers and a jacket.

HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND?

One dive is around 40 Euros.
Packages are available with general prices being; 2 dives 70 EUR, 6 dives 180 EUR, 10 dives 290 EUR, and 20 dives 530 EUR.

These prices include tanks, weights, a dive guide, transfer from and back to the hotel. Many dive shops also offer free Nitrox if you have the certification for it.

When diving in Sharm El Sheikh, you can expect the course prices to be around; Open Water 320 EUR, Advanced Open Water 240 EUR, Rescue Diver 320 EUR, Enriched Air Nitrox 110 EUR with all equipment included.

Certification fee and books are not included in these prices, but always check with your dive center when booking.

WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION IS AVAILABLE?

Sharm is famous in Europe for ‘All Inclusive Holidays’ at the beach, where everything at the resort is included. This means you can find cheap packages. If you book a hotel in Sharm, the dive shop will pick you up and bring you to the Jetty, beach, or dive shop. I recommend taking a look at where your dive shop is located, to minimize the transfer time on the diving days. From one side of Sharm to the other the drive takes about 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you can book everything separately. There are some guesthouses, Airbnb, and flats to rent. This is a cheaper option if you are traveling around Egypt. But if you only plan to visit Sharm El Sheikh then it’s usually cheaper to book the flight and the hotel in a package deal.

WHERE DID YOU STAY?

I am living in a small flat, European standard with air conditioning and hot water. It is close to the dive shop where I work. I have everything i need for my life here, shops, restaurants, and bars.

It is a long term contract and I am paying 200 EUR per month.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I love diving here, which is the reason why I choose to work here as a scuba diving instructor. The reefs are in good condition, and the diving is varied and exciting. You can see small creatures, different corals and fish and if you are lucky also some big fish!

Driving out with the boat you can see the coast with the mountains of the Sinai in the background. For me, this is one of the most beautiful views I have seen.

Sharm El Sheikh at night
Sunset over Sharm El Sheikh. Photo courtesy of Nicole Rossi

WHAT DO WE DO ON SURFACE INTERVALS?

Sharm El Sheikh is in the middle of a desert. Far away from the bigger towns. The main attraction for sure is the Red Sea and watersports; snorkeling, diving, kite surfing, and more.

If you want to stay dry, you can ride a camel, drive a quad bike up and down the sand dunes, visit a waterpark with slides, or visit a historic mosque.

You can also visit the Ras Mohammed National Park. There are nice beaches, mangroves, and some little hikes to viewpoints where the sea is always next to you. I also highly recommend having lunch or going camping at the Bedouins place in the park which is one of the musts here! There is an amazing night sky with thousands of stars guaranteed.

Saint Catherine’s Monastery and Moses Mountain are two really famous places to see. Or you can visit Dahab or Taba which is located more north. All of these can be done on a day trip. We are close to Jordan and Israel too so it is possible to travel easily from Sharm to these countries.

Nicole is originally from Switzerland and is 38 years old. For the past year she has been living and working in Sharm El Sheikh as an instructor. She started diving over 10 years ago, and has dived in Egypt, Maldives, Mexico (Caribbean Sea, Cenotes, Pacific, Revillagigedo) and the Galapagos. She has a keen interest in underwater photography.

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