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Marsa Alam is the newest Scuba Diving destination of the Red Sea in Egypt. It offers excellent chances to spot Dolphins, the very rare Dugongs, the curious Oceanic Whitetip Shark and Hammerheads Sharks!!!
A few years ago, Marsa Alam was still just a quiet fishing village of South Egypt, but since the construction of the International Airport in 2001, the place attracts more and more divers every year. They come here for pristine reefs and to avoid the crowded dive sites of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada in the north of the Red Sea.
In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Marsa Alam.
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Marsa Alam offers the best scuba diving of the Red Sea and In Egypt. The marine life is amazing and most of the dive sites are still unspoiled with pristine reefs and excellent coral. If you are tired of the crowded dive sites of Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada, this is a good spot for you.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2007828/2232052889/
You have excellent chances of meeting some Bottle Nose Dolphins or the Spinner Dolphins as well as Sea Turtles and the very rare and endangered Dugongs! If you dive the famous Elphinstone Reef, you might spot the rare and curious Oceanic White Tip Shark or even schooling Hammerhead Sharks!
Other types of Sharks like the impressive Silvertip Shark or the Grey Reef Sharks can also be spotted. This area is perfect to encounter pelagic fishes such as Tuna and Barracuda too.
Marsa Alam is mainly a destination for experienced divers with challenging dive sites but the local dive sites are also very easy and perfect for learning to Scuba Dive.
The best scuba diving sites in Marsa Alam (and probably in Egypt!) are:
- Elphinstone Reef: One of the best dive sites in the World. It is an offshore Reef offering spectacular wall drift diving with wonderful Coral and amazing Marine Life. This place is famous for regular encounters of schooling Hammerhead Sharks and the potentiall dangerous Oceanic Whitetip Shark! This site is reserved to experienced divers only!
- Dolphin House (Sha’ab Samadai): This wonderful reef creates a lagoon where the visibility is usually very good. It offers wonderful scuba diving or snorkelling but the highlight here is the resident spinner dolphins pod. It is often possible to swim or to dive with these intelligent and fascinating creatures, making it a truly unforgettable experience!
- Abu Dabbab: The most popular dive site of the area. It is one of the few places in the world where you can dive with the very rare and endangered Dugongs! This shallow bay is also home to many big Green Sea Turtles. The rare guitar shark can also be found in Abu Dabbab. This is an excellent spot for underwater photography (but don’t put your macro lense ;-))! This is a popular snorkelling spot too.
- Fury Shoals: The most pristine reef of the area with amazing hard and soft coral!
- Wreck of the Hamada: Marsa Alam doesn’t have many interesting wrecks to dive. However, the Hamada wreck, a former 65m long ship that sunk in 1993 is an easy and spectacular shore dive. It is a great place for underwater photography, so don’t forget your camera!
Scuba Diving in Marsa Alam is really great for underwater photography because of the excellent visibility and the amazing marine life you can encounter. However, it is not really the best place for Macro and Critter lovers. If you are looking for excellent Macro and Muck Diving, try the Lembeh Strait or Wakatobi in Indonesia and Mabul Island in Malaysia!
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amanda63/4321805965/
How to dive Marsa Alam?
Liveaboard trip or Marsa Alam Dive Centers?
Stunning world class dive sites can be reached on day trips from Marsa Alam and will keep you busy for your whole trip! However, if you do want to explore the excellent and more remote dive sites of the Brothers Islands, Daedelus Reef, Geziret Zabargad, Rocky Islands and St. John’s Reef you will need to take a liveaboard trip for a few days. These cruises are reserved for experienced divers. I usually use this website to book in advance my Liveaboards in the Red Sea as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because they have an easy booking system.
Where to stay?
I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Marsa Alam as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.
Lowest Price Guarantee: if you can beat our price, we will pay you twice the difference!
Best time to dive in Marsa Alam
It is possible to dive in Marsa Alam all year round. There are different seasons:
- Around April and May, the visibility is sometimes reduced by the plankton bloom but that is what attracts Manta Rays and Whale Sharks!
- Coldest water occurs in January and is about 24°C
- Whale Sharks can be spotted between May and June
- From November to February, the wind can be strong and the sea quite choppy. It can sometimes prevent offshore dives from happening such as at Elphinstone Reef.
- Best scuba diving conditions are during Summer with water temperature of about 30°C!
- Hammerhead Sharks and Manta rays season in Elphinstone Reef runs from May to August
- The famous Oceanic Whitetip Shark season runs from October to December in Elphinstone Reef
Top liveaboards in Marsa Alam according to divers reviews
Scuba Diving conditions
The south or Red Seas usually offers very good conditions.
Visibility: Great, it ranges from 20m to 60m.
Current: Varies greatly depending on the location and there are easy dive sites with no current for beginner divers as well as spots with very strong current for more experienced divers.
Water temperature: Ranges from 24°C around January and a nice 30°C during the Summer Months.
Marsa Alam is a windy destination and the sea can be choppy especially from November to February. It can sometimes forbid diving on the more exposed dive sites.
Snorkelling in Marsa Alam
There are several very good snorkelling locations around Marsa Alam. The dive operators usually offer Snorkelling day tours allowing you to explore the best spots of the area. You can also go snorkelling off the shore from one of the Marsa Alam beaches.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlo_be/4714491412/
If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Marsa Alam, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.
Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Marsa Alam Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.