Sharm el-Sheikh is the most popular scuba diving and tourist destination in Egypt and Red Sea.
You will encounter there very good marine life and coral with a superb visibility and maybe the best ship wreck in the world, the SS Thistlegorm. The surroundings are very scenic with a magnificent combination of Desert and Sea.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/undervannsfotografen/4443408869/
However, the dive sites in Egypt and especially around Sharm are often crowded and don’t expect to be alone underwater!
If you want to dive further and less crowded dives sites, you should take a Liveaboard to explore remote areas.
In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Sharm El Sheikh.
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The scuba diving opportunities are huge around Sharm El Sheikh and can satisfy from beginner divers to very experienced ones. It is mostly reef, wall and wreck diving in the Sinai Peninsula. The main spots to dive are:
- Wreck SS Thistlegorm: It is one of the best wreck dives in the World! The SS Thistlegorm is a former cargo sunk in 1941 during the World War Two. It still contains 2 locomotives, 2 tanks, Motorbikes, riffles and so much more. The wreck also attracts a great marine life with Barracudas and Jacks. You will usually go there on a day trip for 2 dives as it needs 4 hours to reach it from Sharm El Sheikh! You can watch this amazing video of the first dive on the Yongala Wreck by Cousteau:
- Ras Mohammed Marine Park: It one of the most popular dive spot of the Red Sea. It has a teeming marine life with beautiful soft coral. You will enjoy relaxing drift dives along beautiful walls. Watch also the blue to spot the pelagic fishes like Barracudas and Trevallies swimming by! You can also spot there Whitetip Reef Sharks and very rarely the Hammerhead Shark. It takes about 2 hours by boat to reach Ras Mohammed Marine Park. There are 10 dive sites but the most famous ones are Yolanda and Shark Reefs.
- Straits of Tiran: It is a famous spot to enjoy superb reefs but also to spot bigger Sharks like the Hammerhead Shark or the rare Tiger Shark! The Straits of Tiran is more suitable for experienced divers. It takes about 2 hours by boat to go there from Sharm El Sheikh.
Scuba Diving in Sharm El Sheikh is great for underwater photography because of the very good visibility and beautiful wrecks to explore. However, it is not really the best place for Macro and Critter lovers. If you look for excellent Macro and Muck Diving, try the Lembeh Strait or Wakatobi in Indonesia and Mabul Island in Malaysia!
Moreover if you don’t like the crowd and if you don’t like diving with 20 other boats around you, it is maybe not the good place for you or you should consider taking a liveaboard for a few days.
Ohter interesting dive sites around Sharm El Sheikh are:
How to dive Sharm El Sheikh?
Most of the Red Sea Liveaboards start from Sharm El Sheikh. They will take you to the best dive sites of the Sinai Peninsula like the SS Thistlegorm, The Dunraven, the straits of Tiran, Ras Mohammed but also to further spots North of Hurghada like the Rosalie Moller and other wrecks in the area. With a liveaboard you will arrive on location sooner than the divers coming on day trip and like this you will avoid diving on a crowded site! A liveaboard will also save a lot of travelling time.
Liveaboards are not open to beginner divers, you need at least 20 dives before you get in!
So if you come to Egypt just for scuba diving, a liveaboard trip is the solution you may prefer. If you are travelling with non divers, or if you want to visit cultural places, you should go diving with local dive centers.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/womeos/3271732974/
Sharm Dive centers
If you go diving with Sharm El Sheikh dive centres, you will also dive the Straits of Tiran, Ras Mohammed (Yolanda and Shark Reef), the SS Thistlegorm, The Dunraven and also the world famous Dahab Blue Hole on a day trip. However, travelling time to the dive sites can be long, up to 3 or 4 hours, and depending on the season you can spot underwater more divers than Fishes!
There are also local dive sites used for diving courses if you want to get your Padi Open water or your CMAS One Star. Sharm is actually the most popular place for Europeans to learn scuba diving. There are over 50 dive centres in the area and they don’t have all the same level of quality and safety so always choose carefully!
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Best time to dive in Sharm El Sheikh
It is possible to dive all year round in the Red Sea. However the air and the water temperatures can vary greatly throughout the year.
Temperatures in Sharm El Sheikh
- In Winter, From November to March, you can expect temperatures ranging between 15°C and 35°C.
- During Summer, from April to October, temperatures are much higher and range between 20°C to 45°C!
- The water Temperatures is about 22°C in December, January and February, 26°C in October to November and from March to June and a warm 28°C in June to September.
The hottest month is August and you may want to avoid it with air temperature higher than 40°C! February is the coldest month with water temperature as low as 21°C and you also may want to avoid it! The weather is sunny most time of the year.
- There is no really best diving season in Red Sea but if you don’t like crowded dive sites, try to avoid the high season from March to May and from September to November!
- The low season and maybe the best season if you don’t care about the heat is during Summer from May to August.
Take the easy way, Book your dives in advance!
Scuba Diving conditions
The Sea conditions are generally excellent in the North of Red Sea.
Visibility: you can expect very good visibility all year round. It usually ranges from 20 m to 30 m depending on the dive site. At some places you can have up to 60 meters!
Water temperature: It varies a lot around Sharm. The coldest month is February and you can have a chilly 21°C. December and January also have water around 22°C. From October to November and from March to June, you can expect around 26 °C. If you look for warm water, prefer a trip from June to September with an average 28°C.
Current: the current is generally gentle but there are also great drift dives!
Snorkelling in Sharm El Sheikh
The Red Sea offers good Snorkelling opportunities. Most of the dive centers in Sharm el-Sheikh propose snorkelling half day tour and day tour to some of the best sites including the Tiran Straits and Ras Mohammed.
- When Snorkelling in the Red Sea, don’t forget your sunscreen and a T-shirt to protect from Sunburns!
Diving SafetyIf you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Sharm El Sheikh, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this travel insurance as they offer worldwide coverage as they offer worldwide coverage and cover scuba diving up to 50 metres deep, as well as snorkelling and many more water activities.
Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Sharm El Sheikh Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.