Once a fishing village, Marsa Alam is now a popular seaside resort for a diving trip. It is located 270km south of Hurghada. More and more hotels are settling on the coast, despite this Marsa Alam is much less crowded than the cities of the North.
Marsa Alam is the Mecca of divers in love with the Red Sea and its almost untouched depths. The destination, between turquoise waters and the ocher desert, is Egypt’s must-see.
The coast is bordered by a fringing reef, sheltering bays with crystal clear waters. During your diving trip, it will spoil you for choice. The sites are many. And while some are easily accessible from the shore, others, even more spectacular like Elphinstone, can be found offshore.
For your diving holiday in Marsa Alam, you can choose between diving camps, charming accommodation, or upscale hotels. The destination is also perfect for family vacations.
Diving in Marsa Alam
The coral reefs that line the coast of Marsa Alam are very protected, and the fauna is very abundant. We observe a lot of dolphins, turtles, several species of sharks, parrotfish, wrasse, and especially dugongs. The corals are very colorful, and the variety is impressive. All the hotels on the coast have a house-reef, a perfect place for snorkeling.
Sharm Abu Dabour
Sharm Abu Dabour is the house-reef of Concorde Moreen Beach & Spa, one of the most beautiful in the region.
Towards the south of the reef, you will discover a superb coral canyon, with a beautiful cave enhanced by the play of light. All around, the fauna is very present, including turtles only 7m deep.
The north of the reef is extremely popular with photographers. There are blennies and a multitude of nudibranchs.
Further on, groupers and moray eels inhabit the reef.
North of the pontoon, a huge rock is covered with black coral. Triggerfish, dolphins, groupers, crocodile fish, and eagle rays roam, while “glassfish” whirl around to escape lionfish. Moray eels and napoleons are also visible here. There may be current on this site.
The bay has one of the best sandy beaches in Marsa Alam. The site is fabulous and very protected. Abu Dabbab is famous for its 2 dugongs, which live in a vast herbarium, also inhabited by giant sea turtles and guitar sharks. The bay, closed to boats, is bordered by reefs. The northern one is renowned for its macrofauna. There are pygmy seahorses and ghost fish. The site is excellent for snorkeling.
Offshore the Sha’ab Abu Dabbab reefs can be reached in 15 minutes. It is a succession of 6 reefs with excellent visibility, with abundant life. There are pinnacles, canyons, and beautiful hard coral formations. The place is inhabited by a multitude of reef fish, barracudas, and white tip sharks. The wreck of the dive boat “The Heaven One” is also visible on one reef. The boat burned and then sank in 2004. The hull is still visible, covered with coral.
Sha’ab Marsa Alam
This beautiful reef is in front of Marsa Alam, 25 minutes by boat. There are huge pinnacles that skim the surface. It is an alternation of lagoons and reefs. The corals are incredibly beautiful, despite an attack of acanthasters.
The place is famous for the abundant fauna: white tip sharks, large wrasse, turtles, tunas, and dolphins are very common.
Sha’ab Samadai or dolphin house
Sha’ab Samadai is located south of Marsa Alam. It shapes this large reef like a horseshoe. It is famous for its colony of long-billed dolphins which live there year-round. You may not dive with them; however, the snorkelers will enjoy it. For divers, there are 2 dive areas on Sha’ab Samadai. We also know the site for its caves and caverns, its peaks, and superb visibility which allows the observation of many species.
On the outer reef, you will do a drift dive. It is a gently sloping wall that will lead you to a huge drop-off. The caves and pinnacles are teeming with underwater life. We observe incredibly beautiful soft corals, many groupers, jacks, blue-spotted rays, anemones, and clownfish.
We now classify the site as a national park. Since 2013 the number of visitors has been limited and extremely strict rules have been established.
Abu Ghoson Wreck
The wreck of the Abu Ghoson is 68 km south of Marsa Alam. The freighter sank in 1993, it allegedly caught fire after hitting a reef. It is lying on the starboard side. The wreck is completely colonized by corals. Marine life is very dense there, with napoleons, butterflyfish, surgeonfish, and even moray eels. The port side of the wreck is flush with the water.
Experienced divers can go inside and visit the cockpit, or the engine room. The propeller is also impressive.
All the equipment was left behind and was scattered around the cargo ship, serving as a shelter for many fish. It is a beautiful wreck.
Diving on Elphinstone
In 1830, a British captain who charted the Red Sea for the British East India Company gave it this name in honor of Lord John Elphinstone, Governor of Bombay and Madras.
This long reef stretches for nearly 300m, it skims the surface of the water. Each side is extended by plateaus (north and south). It is precisely on these plateaus that the dives begin.
On the east and west of the reef, the vertical walls are superbly covered with gorgonians. The alcyonarian is impressive. Do not forget to look in the blue, life is very rich all around. The North plateau descends in a level, while the South plateau descends gently. You will therefore do mainly drift dives.
The Elphinstone is famous for its hammerhead sharks and longimanus sharks.
Diving on the North Plateau
It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful dives on the site. We observe swarms of orange anthias, fusiliers, jacks, large wrasse, and large schools of barracudas. At the end of the plateau, the corals are superb. Going up you can admire the gorgonians-whips and alcyonarian. In the blue, sharks maraud. The place has a few cleaning stations. Choose the morning dive to spot hammerhead sharks.
Diving on The South Plateau
The southern plateau slopes gently down to end with an arch (not accessible due to its depth). This dive is done more in the afternoon to benefit from the best light. Longinamus sharks and silky sharks are quite common. In the sheltered area, it covers the wall with hard corals and soft corals. There is a multitude of butterfly fish and trevally, as well as exceptionally large wrasse and moray eels. It is the favorite spot for photographers and the flutefish who follow divers.
We can find the Fury Shoals reefs off Hamata. Long accessible only by diving cruise, you can now discover them during your diving stay in Hamata or Wadi Lahami.
Many reefs form the Fury Shoals Plateau. Each one is more beautiful than the one… Read more.