Diving in the Red Sea. Photo by Unsplash+/Getty Images

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I have been living in Dahab since May 2023 and was only meant to stay here for a week. But then I started scuba diving.

Having grown up by the sea, I have always been drawn to the water. I used to spend every spare moment in our family swimming pool. But even though I grew up along the Great Barrier Reef, arguably one of the most wondrous places to dive in the world, I never actually ventured deep underwater until I came to the Red Sea. It completely changed my life.

Since starting to dive I have put a lot of conscious effort into exploring the dive sites that Egypt has to offer. While I have spent most of my time in Dahab, I have also visited (and loved) the sites in Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam.

After my extremely thorough and strenuous research, I will be sharing (in no particular order) my top 5 unmissable dive sites in the Red Sea.

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1. The Canyon, Dahab

View down the Canyon dive site in Dahab
View down the Canyon dive site in Dahab. Photo Courtesy of Ahmed Aziz

If you’re into diving, you have probably heard of the infamous Blue Hole. But have you heard of its lesser-known neighbour, the Canyon? This site has everything a diver could want, from impressive corals to amazing sea life. A dolphin was even spotted there at the end of 2023.

But there is no denying that the best view of the Canyon is from the sea floor, looking up through its jagged opening and into the beautifully sun-lit water.

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The shallowest part of the Canyon sits at around 30 meters and it stretches down to almost 55 meters. This makes it a popular dive site for everyone. From those wanting to complete their Advanced Open Water course, to experienced technical divers looking for one of the most breath-taking diving experiences of their life.

In addition, the view from the entry of the Canyon is also amazing for the Open Water Divers out there.

2. The Islands, Dahab

Turtle in the Red Sea
Turtle in the Red Sea. Imgage from Canva

The Islands easily takes the cake for being my favourite dive in all of Dahab. It is a shallow dive with its deepest point being around 17 meters. This makes it the perfect environment for all things coral and sea life. It is also the perfect site for confident Open Water Divers, but good buoyancy control is imperative.

The Islands is a labyrinthine city of corals. It is home to everything from catfish to blue spotted rays. There is also a resident turtle who can often be spotted making her rounds in the early morning or late afternoon.

3. Shark Yolanda Reef, Sharm El Sheikh

Ras Mohammed National Park
Ras Mohammed National Park. Image from Canva

With its dazzling showcase of soft corals and enormous amounts of diverse sea life, Shark Yolanda Reef is often rated as one of the top ten dives in the world. This spectacular reef lies in Ras Mohammed National Park and is only accessible by boat. It is also not uncommon to experience quite intense currents, which makes it an incredibly fun drift dive.

Due to the conditions of this dive and Ras Mohammed, I would recommend it to competent and comfortable divers. It is accessible to new divers. However, I would still recommend having your Advanced Open Water certificate and an experienced guide with you. But no matter how you do this dive, I guarantee it is one that you will never forget.

4. Little Brother Island, Hurghada

A school of colourful fish in front of a wall of multicoloured coral in Little Brother Island, Hurghada
A school of colourful fish in front of a wall of multicoloured coral in Little Brother Island, Hurghada.
Photo Courtesy of Karem Kamel

Little Brother Island is one of the most remote dive sites in Egypt and is often only accessible from a liveaboard. But the remote location of this little island easily makes it one of the most remarkable diving spots in the Red Sea.

The island is a spectacle of soft corals and marine life, with everything from small fish to manta rays to sharks. This makes it the perfect adventure for any avid diver.

However, Little Brother Island is also known for having strong and changing currents. Therefore, I would only recommend this site to advanced divers and diving with an experienced instructor or guide.

It can also be quite a bumpy ride to get there, so make sure you pack your motion sickness pills. Despite the challenges, it will be a site that you will never forget and will want to come back to again and again.

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5. Dydalys, Marsa Alam

Underside view of an oceanic white tip shark in Dydalys, Marsa Alam.
Underside view of an oceanic white tip shark in Dydalys, Marsa Alam. Photo Courtesy of Karem Kamel

The final dive site on my list is the Dydalys site in Marsa Alam. This site is legendary to any avid shark diver. If you go in the right season, you are almost guaranteed to see a plethora of different sharks.

I visited Dydalys at the end of October and saw hammerheads and thresher sharks. We even got swarmed by a group of very curious oceanic white tips during one of our safety stops.

While the conditions of Dydalys are not in themselves particularly challenging, I would still recommend being very confident in your diving skills before taking it on. When diving with sharks, plans always change, so you must be very flexible. But don’t let this scare you.

Diving with sharks in Dydalys was easily one of the most terrifyingly beautiful, amazing experiences of my life. It made me fall in love with this special sport more than I knew was possible.

If You Go:

All these places I have mentioned – Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam – have adventures waiting for all divers, no matter your certification level or experience.

If you have never dived before, I would recommend coming to learn in Dahab. Dahab offers almost perfect conditions for the newbie diver, with mostly flat water, very little current and a plethora of amazing sites to explore as you become more and more comfortable in the water.

I would then recommend going to Sharm El Sheikh and checking out the boat dives as you start to advance your diving skills. The diving in Sharm El Sheikh is known to have slightly more challenging conditions, but also access to some of the most beautiful reefs in the world.

Finally, as you continue to advance your diving, I would recommend doing a liveaboard from Hurghada to Marsa Alam. These dives can be quite a bit more challenging than in Dahab or Sharm El Sheikh but offer completely unique experiences that you will be bragging about for years to come.

Diving in Egypt has quite literally changed my life. I shifted careers to become a dive instructor, I moved to this crazy, beautiful country, and met some of the most amazing people that I have ever known in my life. So, if you come to Egypt, prepare to never want to leave.

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Author Bio: Felicity Purvis has been travelling full time since 2022, making it her goal to explore as many of the off the beaten path adventures as possible. She loves climbing, hiking, and diving her way around the world, has a deep passion for sharing her stories, and inspiring others to get out and do the things that make them feel fulfilled.

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