The Dive Sites of Hurghada, Red Sea

25 August 2022

Where is the best diving near Hugahda?

From Hurghada you can reach the famous wrecks of the North - the Thistlegorm, Ghiannis D, Carnatic, Ulysses, Rosalie Moeller and others. It is also close to the protected Giftun Island Marine Park and many reefs.

Find a flight to Hurghada

The area is well looked after thanks to the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA). They have, for instance, installed a boat mooring system to protect the reefs and wrecks from boat anchors.

Where is Hurghada?

Hurghada is located just below the Sinai peninsula. Until the early '80s it was a small fishing village but has grown to become a large resort town. You can fly directly to Hurghada from many European countries.

Photo credit: Garry Frazer

When to dive Hurghada?

The sea temperature ranges from 21 oC in February to around 28 oC in August. The weather gets very warm between June and August, with temperatures over 35 oC . A good time to go is October or November, when water is warm. May is also a good option but the water is a little cooler at 24 oC.

Coral reef
Red Sea Reef, Photo credit: Tim Nicholson.


Enhanced security measures are in place in the tourist resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. Security forces are situated at the international airports, at check points around the perimeter of the towns and throughout the Governorates. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in the towns. See the Egypt Foreign Travel Advice page for more details. You are always advised to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance which covers diving before you travel.

Napoleon or Humphead wrasse
Napoleon or Humphead Wrasse. Photo credit: Tim Nicholson.


Tourists need a visa to visit Hurghada. You can get this on arrival by payment in Sterling, US Dollars or Euros. The cost is US$25 at approved bank kiosks within airport arrival halls, before reaching immigration. There's no need to buy a visa from an agent in arrivals who often charge more than the US$25 for the visa. However, the queues for the agents will be shorter - you may wish to take this option to speed things up. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Egypt. There are direct flights to Hurghada from most European countries. If you can't get a direct flight then fly to Cairo with EgyptAir and change there. As long as you book straight through you shouldn't have any problems with the transfer. If you do this buy your visa in Cairo airport: don't wait until you get to Hurghada. (Note: if travelling just to Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba resorts you don't need to buy a visa, but for Hurghada you do.) Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Egypt.

There are plenty of ATMs in Hurghada so getting money out is no problem.

Where to Stay

There are zillions of hotels in Hurghada, for all price ranges. Your dive centre will often help you book one, or you can book online - we use as they are reliable and price match other sites.

Dive Sites of Hurghada Recommended dive operators in Hurghada Other Areas of the Red Sea

Dive Sites of Hurghada

For details of the wrecks near Hurghada see the Northern Wrecks page: Thistlegorm, Carnatic, Ghiannis D, Chrisoula K, Kimon M, Barge at Bluff Point, Ulysses, Rosalie Moeller, Dunraven, Kingston, Salem Express…

2 - 40 m
Marsa Abu Galawa (Carless Reef)

Carless Reef is around 14 km north east of Hurghada, between Shaab Umm Qamar and Giftun island. It is 200 m long with the reef top being at just a couple of metres. Expect to see giant moray eels and white tip reef sharks. The reef has two pinnacles at 12 m.

Reviews: 3 stars

"Nice reef with a lagoon. Easy, many fish. "
Anna-Karin, Finland, 2011

Fanadir (El Fanadeer)

A ledge at 12 m slopes down to a drop-off starting at 22 m. One of Hurghada's largest coral reefs. It has been a marine protected area since 2006.1

Coral reef
Photo credit: Tim Nicholson.

Reviews: 4 stars

"A place for everybody, shallow or deeper dives are possible.A lot of things to see and with some lucky dolphins. "
Ilona Wilhelm, Germany, 2012
5-15 m
El Fanus (Dolphin Reef)

You can dive the east or west side of El Fanus. It is also known as dolphin reef as you often see bottle nose dolphins here.

Also called Fanous reef - at the east side are two small pinnacles, the furthermost is the prettiest. Shoals of glass fish and you might see the very interesting spotted snake eel, Mytiuhthys nawlosus. Many divers think this fish is a sea snake - but there are no sea snakes in the Red Sea.

When diving the west side, navigate straight across to the outside of the reef. This is where the dolphins sometimes hang out and sometimes sharks.

Spotted Snake Eel at El Fanus
Spotted Snake Eel at El Fanus. Photo: Jill Studholme.

Reviews: 4 stars

Lot of dolphins and turtles.
Olga Utkina, 2007
El Giftun

The Giftun islands are opposite Hurghada. They have been a marine protectorate since 1986 and divers need to pay 20L.E (Egyptian pounds) to go there. This money goes to maintaining the national parks. There are restrictions on how many boats are allowed.

Reviews: 4 stars

Nice easy drift dive with lots to see en route.
Maryse Dare, UK, 2015

Red Sea Diver
Red Sea Diver, Photo credit: Tim Nicholson.

Giftun Island
Turtle Bay

Off the northern end of Giftun island.

Reviews: 4 stars

Fab long dive with lagoons and great mix of life
Maryse Dare, UK, 2015
Oberoi House Reef

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"You'll see turtles, eagle rays, octopus,lion fish, trumpet fish, you will see everything; and just off the coast too! "
Shaalin Nathwani, 2012
El Aruk

Reviews: 4 stars

"Plateau in 10 -12m depth. A lot of pinacles full with corals and colorful fishes. "
Ilona Wilhelm, Germany, 2012
15 m
Gota Abu Ramada (The Aquarium)

Coral gardens at the west and east points of this reef. It has been a Marine Protected area since:1986. The east side is very impressive. A real coral garden with mounds of column corals. Very beautiful porites mountain coral. It can get very busy with divers though. 1

Reviews: 4 stars

Plentitude of different fishes and corals.
Olga Utkina
Ramada North

A coral plateau and a lovely wall with coral and gorgonia. A small island east of Hurghada.

Ramada South

Another place to see giant morays. A sandy slope leads to a coral wall. This is 15 km south east of Hurghada.

Susanna Wreck

Reviews: 4 stars

You can dive inside and see a lot of things
Olga Utkina, 2007

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Shallow reef with strong current. Beautiful corals and much fish, two Napoleons. "
Anna-Karin, Finland
Umm Gamar South

A little way from Shabrur. Umm Gamar is a cresent-shaped island with a lighthouse. A reef stretches out from it giving a very pretty dive reaching a small org at around 22 m. The dive is around 90 minutes from Hughada. The name Umm Gamar means mother of the moon.

Um Gamar
Umm Gamar

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Shallow reef with strong current. Beautiful corals and much fish, two Napoleons. "
Anna-Karin, Finland
Sha'ab Sabina

Reef with coral fingers stretching out forming gullies inbetween. Very pretty with many hard corals.

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Beautiful corals, much fish. Small reef shark sleeping in a cave. "
Anna-Karin, Finland
Ben El Gabel

Here look out for the marbled snake eel (Callechelys marmorata) burying itself in the sand. It uses its fins to swirl the sand over it and bury itself, with just the head sticking up, to wait for passing prey. An unusual fish not often seen by divers. The dive features a reef and big erg (pillar) of coral.

Marbled snake eel
Marbled snake eel, Photo credit: Jill Studholme.


Abu Hashish (Island Reef)

Abu Hashish means "Father of Grass" - named for the seagrass beds in the area. Swim down a sandy slope at the base of which you will meet a wall, along which you can often make a drift dive. Many fire corals - unusually in different orientations, some facing reef and some perpendicular. Eight foot wide gorgonian. Loads of life to look at. The island at the north east end of the reef.

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Beautiful corals, much fish. Small reef shark sleeping in a cave. "
Anna-Karin, Finland
Gota Makadi

Video of diving Gota Makadi by Travel Beat


"Beautiful wall dive with intact coral and lots of reef life. Beautiful scenery wherever you look. It's really worth it to go diving in Egypt! "
Travel Beat
Royal Makadi Housereef

Video of diving Makadi Housereef by Travel Beat


"Only steps away from the Diveshop of PDL lies this fantastic dive site. Located in Makadi Bay, close to Hughada this spot offers you Wall dive, slopes, sandy patches and seaweed meadows. Like in most places in the red sea, the abundance and variety of coral is incredible! having occasional Big stuff like eagle rays, with a good eye one can also spot the small stuff between the corals. Great place to hang out and enjoy the beauty of the seas. "
Travel Beat
Soma Bay

Go here for details about the beautiful Safaga and Soma Bay dive sites

Our 10 days in Soma Bay was just wonderful. It's just north of Safaga, about 45 km south of Hurghada. It's on a little peninsular, and at the moment there's hardly anything else there. Given the usual Egyptian approach to these things however, I guess it will be looking like Sharm el Sheikh 10 years from now. There are so few divers and the hard corals are still in great condition. Deepest dive I did was 38 m
Matthew Moore


Further Reading

Here are three useful books on your trip.

Shipwrecks from the Egyptian Red Sea
by Ned Middleton, Hardback, Immel Publishing, 196 pages, 2006.
The author spent over 8 years engaged in dedicated research into the many shipwrecks which are found in this part of the world. There are nineteen major featured shipwrecks - including two which are only recently discovered. These are followed by brief details of another eighteen vessels which were too small to be classified as ships - tugboats, barges etc. Finally, there are brief details of approx. 250 additional vessels that are either not yet discovered, far too deep for scuba divers or never even existed.
Coral Reef Guide Red Sea
by Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers, Collins, 384 Pages, Paperback (2012)
Coral Reef Guide Red Sea covers all common species of underwater life of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, you are likely to see while diving or snorkelling. Each species is illustrated with a full-colour photograph and the text gives details of range and characteristic behaviour. A map of good dive sites appears on the inside front cover. Includes jellyfish, corals, nudibranchs, starfish, sea urchins, fishes and turtles. An excellent sea life guide which I always take to the Red Sea
Hurghada: Diving Guide and Integrated Logbook
by Rik Vercoe, Travelling Diver, (2008)
A great little guide and money well spent if you are going to Hurghada. Read our review.

Note: If you buy any book through one of these links, the SCUBA Travel site earns a commission (at no extra cost to yourself). Thank you for making your purchases from here and helping to support this site.

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