Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula lies at the extreme northern end of the Red Sea, cut off on its west coast from the Egyptian mainland by the Gulf of Suez, and from the Arabian peninsula on its east coast by the Gulf of Aqaba. This area has had a rather bloody past but that doesn’t stop scuba divers flocking to see this underwater wonderland now.
Sharm El Sheikh, located quite close to the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, is the most popular dive destination in the Red Sea and is the departure port for many liveaboard safaris around the peninsula and the northern Red Sea, as well as for diving day trips from the local holiday resorts.
The local Sharm El Sheikh dive sites are often used for student diver training and for introduction dives. However, you don’t need to travel far before you reach the exciting stuff.
To the east at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba lies Tiran Island and the Straits of Tiran, famed for their superb reefs and large fish and shark action. To the south lies Egypt’s first marine protected area and national park, Ras Mohammed, with its colourful soft coral walls and buzzing marine life. And over on the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula, but still easily accessed from Sharm El Sheikh, is the world famous Thistlegorm World War II shipwreck. No trip to the Red Sea would be complete without a dive or two here.
It should not be forgotten too that Sharm El Sheikh is not so far from the northern Hurghada dive sites so wrecks such as the Rosalie Moller and the Abu Nuhas family of wrecks are often visited by Sinai liveaboards departing from Sharm.
Sharm El Sheikh is Egypt’s premiere dive destination and offers its tourists everything they could wish for. Nightlife, choice restaurants, shopping opportunities and desert safaris, scuba diving in Sharm El Sheikh is convenient, varied and great value for money.
HMS Thistlegorm — with its historical cargo of World War II machinery and equipment, all neatly stowed in its open holds, the Thistlegorm would be a diving highlight anywhere in the world, not just in Sharm El Sheikh. This most famous of Sinai Peninsula dives has to be experienced to truly appreciate its wonders.
Straits of Tiran — the 4 reef systems that make up the Tiran area — Jackson Reef, Woodhouse Reef, Thomas Reef, Gordon Reef — are popular with experienced and adventurous scuba divers. The coral reef plateaus are loaded with fish life and the deep wall drop offs offer the opportunity of encounters with hammerhead sharks, pelagic fish and occasional tiger sharks.
Ras Mohammed — still Egypt’s most popular marine park, Ras Mohammed’s waters, off the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, have been protected from fishing since the 1980s, and it shows… Drifting along the wall from Shark Reef to Yolanda Reef, you are often likely to encounter passing trevally and barracuda that frequent the Sharm El Sheikh diving region for breeding. The reefs have become safe havens to many of the Red Sea’s endemic fish species.