Let’s face it, after the umpteenth time of clubbing at the same places and meeting the same people, the city starts to reek of routine and upper-class swill. Thankfully, some of the best vacation destinations in the world are only a couple of hours away. The Red Sea has recently become one of my favorite places to soak up some sun and ocean air far, far away from the regional neon battery farms. What I’m talking about is a complete anatomical detox that can only be achieved via weekend diving trips.
With its impressive marine life, clear waters and balmy temperatures, the Red Sea has consistently appeared on every list for the best diving locations in the world. There are over 100 diving spots along the Red Sea alone and all of them contain enough marvels to warrant a visit. Here are a few of my favorites:
GOTA ABU RAMADA
A popular tourist spot, the site holds massive reefs and coral gardens frequented by an incredible variety of colorful fish as well as a few stingrays and eels secluded towards the bottom. It’s a nice site for beginners as the current is weak and the depth won’t cause too much pressure.
RAS MUHAMMAD NATIONAL PARK
(South of Sinai Peninsula)
Known for the absurd amount of corals thriving in the area, the popular sanctuary also houses many different types of sea turtles as well as the wreck of the S.S. Yolanda. During the summer, a few species of sharks visit the area. This dive spot is technically for more experienced divers as the current is strong and the depth exceeds 800m.
Probably one of the best places for drift dives as the waters are pretty shallow and the vibrant coral walls attract blue-spotted stingrays, Moray eels, and puffer fish.
SHA'AB SAMADAI REEF
The only place in the Red Sea where divers can swim with the hundreds of dolphins that frequent the location as a resting spot after night-hunts. Conservation laws are pretty strict in these waters and respect for the marine life is an absolute must. Besides dolphins, the spot also contains huge coral reefs, small sharks, sea turtles and even a couple of dugongs.
(Off Al Qusayr shore)
This diving spot is absolutely legendary. Only open to experience divers, the current is strong and the sharks are aplenty. There are also two wrecks near the islands that are open for exploration; the Numidia and the Aida. With a 400m-long plateau , the coral forest attracts an abundance of marine life.
It’s always recommended that you never dive alone and since most of us don’t dive frequently enough to justify buying personal gear, so the obvious choice becomes booking through diving centres. There are many centres throughout the Red Sea area and all of them are more or less the same in terms of price and anchorage points. My all-time favourites though are located in Hurghada inside the Desert Rose Resort and Dana Beach Resort.
So it turns out that there's more to Egypt's beaches than alcohol and drugs. Who knew?!