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Egypt’s 5 Best Dive Sites

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From the Sinai Peninsular down to its southern reaches, the Egyptian Red Sea offers some of the world’s best diving opportunities, due to its clear conditions and rich biodiversity, with some 20% of species endemic to Red Sea waters. Away from the city breaks of Cairo and Alexandria Egypt holidays are often centered about diving excursions. Here are five of the best dives that Egypt has to offer.

 1. The Brothers is the name given to two islands, little more than rocks, in the South Red Sea, made conspicuous by the presence of a Victorian lighthouse from Imperial British times. Because of the Brothers’ isolation, this is a live aboard trip.

Seen from above, Little Brother Island would seem to taper away on one side, where there is a gentle slope down to the lower plateau at around 40m depth. This plateau is good for seeing resident grey and silver tip sharks, along with visitors of other shark species.

Little Brother drops away steeply on all other sides, where it is covered by fans and black coral. Copious amounts of fish school here too.

Big brother Island is a steep sided reef with healthy populations of tiny fish, such as anthias and sweepers. It is also home to two Twentieth Century wrecks: the Numidia and the Aida.

2. HMS Thistlegorm is a British World War Two cargo vessel of over a hundred meters, which was sunk whilst carrying a heavy compliment of war machinery, including motorbikes, tanks, planes, guns and trucks. Much of this remains in remarkable condition, both in the wreck and scattered around on the surrounding sea bed.

The main hull sits upright at just over 30 meters and the holds are fully accessible. There is so much to see that most people take two days diving this wreck. This abundance of features, in addition to the high level of preservation, makes Thistlegorm one of the most dived on wrecks in the world.

3. The strong currents produced in the Straights of Tiran draw large numbers of pelagic fish, including tuna, barracuda and shark. There are four reefs to dive in this area, named after the British men who first mapped them: Jackson Reef, Thomas Reef, Woodhouse Reef and Gordon Reef.

In contrast to the pelagic wildlife, these coral reefs attract multitudes of brightly coloured fish, eels and turtles, in addition to marauding predators, including hammerhead and white tip shark.

There are also several wrecks, including the Luilla, which struck Gordon Reef in 1981.

Be advised that there can be strong currents in some areas of the reefs and so full exploration requires some background experience.

4. Zabargad Island is the largest of Egypt’s national marine parks. From Turtle Bay you descend to 30 metres, where you are met by a maze of coral pinnacles, sporting multi coloured sponges, fans, nudibranchs and urchins, along with the usual reef species of fish, octopus, cuttlefish and ray.

North of the island is the wreck of the 70 metre Khanka, a Russian cargo vessel that sank in 24 metres of water and has stayed almost fully intact, so that the interior can be fully explored.

5. Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef lie in the Ras Mohammed National Park; two conically shaped reefs in close proximity. These, most famous of Red Sea dives, play host to the vast majority of species to be found in this part of the world.

The East side of the reefs has a sheer wall and attracts hoards of large pelagic species. It has its own resident shoal of Barracuda and snappers, along with plenty of sharks. To the West, there is a shallower coral plateau, with multi-coloured anthias, rays, scorpion fish and jacks, to name a few.

The Yolanda Reef receives its name from the wreck of the Yolanda cargo vessel, with its load of toilet basins and other bathroom accoutrements. Most surreal!

image credit to divers adventure

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