The Sinai Peninsula is surrounded by sea on three sides: the Mediterranean in the north, and the Red Sea, split into the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba, in the south. The coast and the coral reef along the Gulf of Aqaba, stretching from Sharm el Sheikh to Taba, is a world class tourist destination offering a pleasant climate all year round and excellent diving. Called sometimes the Red Sea Rivieara or the Sinai Rivieara, you find a wide range of water sports apart from diving and snorkeling.
“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.”
– Jacques Yves Cousteau
See map of and read about the Red Sea beaches and diving spots.
Scuba diving is one of the reason why many people visit Sinai, as it has some of the best diving in the world. Coral reefs line the Gulf of Aqaba coast, home to a very diverse marine life, and you also find several ship-wrecks to explore. Many internationally recognised operators exist, offering accredited courses for beginners, as well as dives for the more experienced. Some hotels have their own house reef for diving, and excursions are organised to all the other sites either on land or sea.
Offshore diving / Liveaboard
Shorter and longer boat trips are organised from the Red Sea resorts to dive sites found off the shore. The ultimate diving adventure is living aboard a yacht and being out at sea for days, but day-trips are also a great option for those who wish to return to their hotel rooms every night. Many of the attractions are further off the coast, such as the wreck of the Thistlegorm, but there is plenty of other great diving spots within easier reach. It is up for the individual to decide if he or she would prefer the comfort of the city or the adventure of living aboard a ship, but either case there is a lot to discover.
Snorkeling and free-diving
Diving without an oxigen bottle is also very popular and you can still see a lot. Snorkeling is recommended for everyone and with parental supervision quite small kids are able to snorkel. While snorkeling is a leasurely activity free-diving is a sport with people diving impressive depths.
“Care should be taken to avoid damaging the coral, use designated entry points only. You should also be aware that there are hazards since some of the fish life is poisonous if touched and you can injure yourself on the coral if you get too close.
Free Diving is very popular in Dahab due to its proximity to the Blue Hole where many of the worlds top freedivers train, compete and attempt world records. You can undertake training to improve your free diving skills and experience the underwater world in a new way. “ (TripAdvisor)
Windsurfing and kitesurfing
There are excellent windsurfing locations in South Sinai, both along the Gulf of Aqaba, between Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba, and the Gulf of Suez. While most foreigners visit the first, the coast around the town of Ras Sudr is popular with people from Cairo. Kitesurfing, a sport involving a surf board and a small parachute sail, is becoming increasingly popular, and you’ll find operators training and renting equipment in all coastal tourist destinations. Prestigious competitions of both sports are often held along the coast of the Red Sea resorts of Egypt.
For mainstream commercial activities, such as diving or surfing, you can check TripAdvisor’s listing, sorted by user rating, or search/ask on their South Sinai forum for recommendations. Following are our own resommendations and listing.
Sea Queen Fleet (Sharm el-Sheikh)
Founded in 1993, Sea Queen Fleet is a well established Registered Shareholding Company with five partners: three Egyptians, a Spaniard and a Dutch. Sea Queen Fleet operates dive safaris out of Sharm el Sheikh for more than 20 years, to all the beautiful dive sites around Sinai. They also help with organising various programs before and after dive trips, for example desert safaris.
Ocean College (Sharm El Sheikh)
Whether you’re a beginner, experienced or an expert, we’ve got all sorts of diving courses – from entry-level to instructor. And that’s not all. We’ve won a collection of awards for our diving excellence, so there’s no better place to dive in than with us.
Dreamlike holiday experience. Great dives in small groups with professional guides. Experience the unique underwater world in relaxed environment. Homeland of Open Ocean Science Center. From beginner to professional.
Desert Divers (Dahab)
Desert Divers is Dahab’s center for Diving & Desert Adventure in the Sinai. Our story began 20 years ago, when Bedouin owner Said Khedr ventured from his desert home to become Dahab’s first Bedouin to learn to dive. In 2002, Desert Divers opened in the centre of Dahab’s Masbat Bay, dedicated to bringing people to the real Sinai. Today’s Desert Divers has grown up a bit. You can dive, climb, trek, freedive & stay with us!
AFRICAN Divers (Nuweiba)
The AFRICAN Divers Nuweiba dive centre is situated at the Swisscare Resort’s magnificent beach, close to the swimming pool and beach bar of the hotel village. They are an official MARES diving centre and an outlet for Mares diving equipment and spare parts, and the only Technical diving facility in Nuweiba. The dive shop is open from 8.00 am till 6.00 pm, and offers the rental of both diving and snorkelling equipment. They are also the only Nitrox, Trimix and Heliox filling station in the area.
No matter if you are a beginner or intermediate, with GPKite you can improve your kite surfing skills. We offer 3 days beginner courses, with certified IKO – VDWS and CDWS kite instructors.
H2O Divers (Dahab)
H2O Divers’ crew of experienced Instructors have been diving in Dahab and around the world for over 20 years. We are a friendly bunch of native English, French, German, Dutch and Arabic speakers.
Moonbeach (Ras Sudr)
Here at Moonbeach we’re small enough to know your name, and big enough to have all the toys to keep you busy. Be it windsurfing, kitesurfing or yoga there is always something for you to do.
Oonas Dive Club (Sharm El Sheikh)
Oonas Dive Club & Hotel is one of the longest established dive centres in the Red Sea with a superb beach location situated at the northern end of Na’ama Bay, Sharm El Sheikh.
Red Sea Waterworld Taba Heights
We opened for business in July 2000 as a diving centre. In May 2002, prior to the opening of the Marriott Hotel, we moved into our current location adjacent to the Taba Heights International marina.
Scuba College Diving Center (Nuweiba)
Our diving centers, located away from mass tourism are the ideal places to stay if you are looking for a peaceful vacation, either if you are interested in culture, excursions or scuba diving.
Sinai Dive Club Sharm el Sheikh
We offer a 1st Class service, since 1987. Our dive centre at Novotel Palm & Beach Resort is located in the famous and popular Naama Bay, Sharm El Sheikh.
Surf Egypt (Ras Sudr)
Surf Egypt is dedicated to the world class windsurfing and kitesurfing resort of Ras Sudr, at the Ras Matarma Bay on the west coast of the Sinai Penninsular in Egypt.