With an incredible diversity of diving on offer, from famous wrecks to drop-offs and reefs, there’s something for everyone when exploring the best dive sites in Egypt. We spoke to PADI Professionals, Beth Sanders and Sarah O’Gorman for their top dive site picks in this incredible diving location.

Shark & Yolanda Reef – Ras Mohamed National Park

Maximum Depth: 750m + (2460 feet)

Visibility: up to 50m (164 feet)

The first of the best dive sites in Egypt is located in Ras Mohamed National Park. Made up of three coral pinnacles that raise up almost to the surface. This site features the remains of the wreck Yolanda and its cargo, including the diving world’s most famous toilets.

Kaleidoscopic corals grow here thanks to the diverse currents in the area. Marine life varies from the smallest nudibranch to the laziest turtle, and during the summer months divers are treated to an abundance of large fish schools that gather to reproduce.

Recommended PADI courses: Deep Diver, Wreck Diver, Fish Identification

ELPHINSTONE - Sarah O'Gorman

Elphinstone – Marsa Alam

Maximum Depth: 100m + (328 feet)

Visibility: up to 50m (164 feet)

Elphinstone is a 375m long, off-shore reef starting almost at the surface with drop-offs descending to over 100m. You’ll often hear this spot classes as one of the top rankings in many divers log books of the best dive sites in Egypt.

Here you’ll find an impressive variety of soft corals and an abundance of marine life including hammerhead sharks in the summer months and oceanic white tips in autumn. Throughout the rest of the year whale sharks and mantas occasionally visit the plateaus. When you’re not being distracted by the pelagic action there’s a whole host of marine life to enjoy, including clouds of anthias, schooling snappers, turtles, tuna, jacks and barracuda.

This site is recommended for advanced-level divers due to strong currents and unpredictable conditions.

Recommended PADI courses: Deep Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Advanced Open Water Diver, Drift Diver

Jackson Reef – The Straits of Tiran, Sharm el Sheikh

Maximum Depth: 70m (229 feet)

Visibility: up to 50m (164 feet)

May class Jackson reef, one of the sites of Tiran Islands, as one of the best dive sites in Egypt for those looking for variety. This world-class reef is located at the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba and boasts abundant corals. You’re also likely to spot large tuna, barracuda, trevally jackfish and if extremely lucky, sharks. Furthermore, for technical diving wreck junkies, the backside of Jackson incorporates the wreck Lara that sank at the beginning of the 1980s.

Recommended PADI courses: Deep Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Wreck Diver, Tec 40


Marsa Shagra House Reef – Marsa Shagra

Maximum Depth: 65m + (213 feet)

Visibility: up to 50m (164 feet)

A protected area for the last 30 years, Marsa Shagra is one of the most pristine house reefs in the Red Sea. As well as being rich in corals and general reef fish life, there are a number of resident green and hawksbill turtles, passing eagle rays, stonefish, scorpionfish and nudibranchs.

In the summer months, the reef flat is home to baby black tip reef sharks and in the early mornings. Additionally, it is not uncommon for dolphins to visit and rest in the sheltered bay. Sightings of passing whale sharks and mantas have increased dramatically in the last couple of years.

Recommended PADI Courses: Fish Identification, Deep Diver, Enriched Air Diver, Open Water Diver

antiaircraft gun of ss thistlegorm in backlight

The SS Thistlegorm – Sha’ab Ali

Maximum Depth: 35m (114 feet)

Visibility: up to 50m (164 feet)

There’s an incredible history surrounding this 125-meter wreck. Swimming past munitions, motorbikes and Bedford trucks, you get an eerie insight into life during WWII.

A dive around the superstructure provides an awesome orientation to this underwater phenomenon but don’t miss the holds and cabins which contain the fascinating cargo. All this in addition to the plenitude of marine life, makes it one dive not to be missed.

Recommended PADI Courses: Advanced Open Water Diver, Wreck Diver

MARSA ABU DABAB - Sarah O'Gorman

Abu Dabab Bay – Marsa Abu Dabab

Maximum Depth: 20m

Visibility: Up to 50m (164 feet)

Easily accessed directly from the beach, this is a rewarding dive site with a lot to offer for all levels of divers. Many divers try their luck spotting a dugong grazing on the seagrass! However, there’s plenty more to see, including giant grazing green turtles, guitar rays, and cuttlefish. As well as ghost pipefish and seahorses for those with a good eye!

Recommended PADI Courses: Peak Performance Buoyancy, Project AWARE Specialist

The Canyon – Dahab

Maximum Depth: 50m + (164 feet +)

Visibility: up to 50m (164 feet)

Firstly, the entrance to this dive, through a shallow lagoon, offers stunning light effects and juvenile fish. Passing through a small coral gateway to a monumental sandy plateau that hosts many small coral pinnacles, this shore dive provides a chance to see the mysterious Red Sea Walkman as well as the beautifully decorated pepper moray eel.

Swimming along the plateau, you will notice a crack in the reef, which if you dive into opens up to a breathtaking cavern full of hatchet and glassfish. Without a doubt, it is one of the most memorable dive sites in Sinai.

Recommended PADI courses: Deep Diver, Cavern Diver

SHAAB CLAUDIA - Sarah O'Gorman

Shaab Claudia – Marsa Alam

Maximum Depth: 20m (65 feet)

Visibility: Up to 50m (164 feet)

A canyon system runs through the south part of the reef consisting of two main chambers connected by a series of smaller channels and swim-throughs. Due to the canyons being open to the surface the sunlight streams through, casting mesmerizing beams of light. Without a doubt, it’s a dive site to bring your underwater camera to!

Impressive rock and reef structures create fun twists and turns. Furthermore, the marine life here does not disappoint! The site is also inhabited by a variety of marine life including nudibranchs, snappers, goatfish, fusiliers and blue-spotted rays.

Recommended PADI courses: Peak Performance Buoyancy, Boat Diver

The Million Hope – Sharm El Sheikh

Maximum Depth: 25m (82 feet)

Visibility: up to 50m (164 feet)

One of the newer dive sites in the area and the biggest wreck in the Red Sea (175 m) The Million Hope sank in 1996. The prettiest part of this dive is one of the cranes that fell into the sea during the salvage efforts and provides shelter for glassfish, lionfish and even ornate ghost pipefish.

The main superstructure presents many swim-throughs, whilst the empty holds give the illusion of being in underwater swimming pools while schools of snapper, batfish and rabbitfish whirl over your head.

Recommended PADI courses: Advanced Open Water Diver, Wreck Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Fish Identification

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Shaab Samadai (Dolphin House) – Marsa Alam

Maximum Depth: 40m + (131 feet)

Visibility: Up to 50m (164 feet)

This horseshoe-shaped reef famously provides a resting point for spinner dolphins. Placed under a management plan by the local NGO, HEPCA, the dolphins can choose whether to enter areas where snorkelers and divers are allowed or stay in the protected area.

The reef also offers a variety of diving profiles; explore the canyons on the tip of the reef, dive the drop-off on the northeastern side of the reef, or follow the easy reef dive on the southern side where an impressive hard coral garden can be found. A whole array of marine life can be found here including nudibranchs, turtles, bannerfish, moray eels, triggerfish, barracudas and impressive schools of fusiliers.

Recommended PADI courses: Boat Diver, Drift Diver, Deep Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Fish Identification

Thomas Canyon – the Straits of Tiran

Maximum Depth: 90 meters+ (295 feet+)

Visibility: Up to 50 meters (164 feet)

This is a site best enjoyed by the tec divers of the world! There’s something about the depths of Thomas Canyon that beckon you down into the deep, deep blue. It’s without a doubt one of the best dive sites in Egypt for technical divers.

Starting on the southern wall (dropping off from a boat), you descend along a sandy bank where you’ll often encounter Chromis, snappers and jacks. To begin, three arches make up this canyon, the first small entrance beginning at 35 meters (115 feet). This is followed by the deepest point of the long canyon, at 90 meters (295 feet). It’s certainly not a site for the faint hearted and requires professional technical diver training and certifications. Divers venturing into Thomas Canyon often spot barracudas (with stories of gigantic ones), more jacks and even sharks.

Recommended PADI courses: Tec Diver Courses

hawksbill turtle

Shugayrat – Gabr El Bint

Maximum Depth: 20 meters (65 feet)

Visibility: Up to 30 meters (98 feet)

Best enjoyed as a drift dive, Shugayrat is a site you’ll visit by boat (usually from Dahab) and is suitable to Open Water Divers (assuming you stay above 18m/60ft). It’s named after the large fan corals on site, with “shugayrat” meaning “little trees” in Arabic. After the boat entry, you’ll descend down a fairly steep slope ending at 16 meters (52 feet) and meet a sandy shelf. The ascent back up the wall is the highlight of the dive, peppered with large gorgonian fans, huge table corals and vibrant soft corals. Regular visitors here include glass fish, hawksbill turtles and milkfish!

Recommended PADI courses: Open Water Diver, Drift Diver

Ready to Dive in Egypt?

There are plenty of other dive sites in Egypt, so make sure you check out our travel guide for information on these and other general information.

If you’ve been inspired to visit Egypt, be sure to check out all the travel offers on PADI Travel. The PADI Travel Scuba Travel Experts are on hand 24/7 to help get your next dive adventure booked!

Author bios

Sarah O’Gorman is the Marketing Manager for Red Sea Diving Safari where she has worked for the last 6 years while living in Marsa Alam. Red Sea Diving Safari has operated three eco-lodges dedicated to divers in the Marsa Alam and Hamata region for almost 30 years. Sarah enjoys underwater photography and can be found most days sneaking out of the office for a dive or two!

Beth (“my lovelies”) Sanders, after achieving her PADI Open Water in her native Wales in became completely addicted to the underwater world. Her fixation has cost her jobs, boyfriends and a whole load of other “respectable” things so finally she had to make the diving pay… Becoming a PADI Instructor was the only option for Beth, who achieved the PADI Master Instructor rating during her time working with Camel Dive Club & Hotel(Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt). Beth can usually be found chatting with guests, dancing on the Camel Bar and underwater in the Red Sea. Lastly, she’s a scuba travel expert with PADI Travel.

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