Abu Fendera – a journey into the unknown 

   

Overview of tour / diving spots

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The area of Abu Fendera is located close to the border from Egypt to Sudan. It is possible to do this tour in one week, but there will be just 3 dives in Abu Fendera. That’s why we recommend a 10 days trip or even 2 weeks.

The main reef is around 6 km long. Discoverer natures will find a vast area with lovely coral landscape. The attraction of this reef is the lonely location – sometimes you don’t meet other boats during a few days.

The main reef cannot be described as spectacular. However, a piece of jewelry is the “passage” between the reefs. In front of the reef there are numerous ergs, overgrown by beautiful soft corals. At this dive sites you can meet very often Napoleon fishes in all sizes.

Very impressive are also large schools of buffalo head parrot fish and the sighting of a sailfish can take your breath away. An outstanding experience!

After leaving Abu Fendera to the North you will make another break in St. John’s, continue with famous dive spots like Habili Ali, Abu Galawa, Sataya with its Dolphins, and so on…..

After arrival in Hurghada or Marsa Alam, transfer to the boat in Marsa Ghaleb, dinner and departure the next morning.

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                     Some impressions of what there is to see on this tour:

Possible divesites on this tour:

 

  

There's ghost pipefish here? Have you gone mad? What do they look like then? A little like ugly seahorses (our apologies to all fans of ghost pipefish) and very, very well-disguised! They can hardly be distinguished from among the coral and make us think that they are coral branches. In addition to these haunting lads and lasses, we'll also find seagrass beds, coral gardens, sea turtles, darkspotted stingrays and ... dugongs in Shaab Shona – the second bay towards the south after Port Ghalib.

Details

Shaab Shona's lagoon originates from a wadi (a dried-out river) and is five to 45 metres deep in some places. We can still recognise the former river in the form of a channel ascending from the north to the south. A high plateau can be made out in the northern area of Shaab Shona.

From glassfish to crocodilefish, from Indian mackerel and ghost pipefish, we will find everything that a diver's heart wants to see in the Red Sea. Many different kinds of coral brimming with life can be found on the reef's edge down to a depth of around 20 metres.

A seagrass bed is located in the inner area and where there's beds of seagrass, then ... that's right ... there's probably dugongs there. With some luck, a few of these fine specimens can be seen here. An eye should be kept out for lionfish and large turtles, too.

Whoever is still not happy and wants to see a few sand eels and different kinds of rays, should make their way over to the southern edge to the sand pile at a depth range of 20 to 40 metres.

Hotspots

Seagrass bed: The dugongs are a definite must-see. There are also large green turtles as well as charming sea horses and cuttlefish to admire.

Facts

Current: S in the morning, S at midday, N in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35m; M, J, J, A: 20–30m; S, O, N, D: 30–40m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-30°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 45 m

Tour 1 – the south in the morning

We travel south with the bright-red rubber boat or the Zodiac and dive west across the south-eastern hills at a depth of 25 metres. Here we immediately come to a sandy surface covered with sand eels. Then it's time to go west to the seagrass bed where we will hopefully catch sight of a dugong. We dive here against a light current coming from the lagoon, but shall be rewarded with large groupers and darkspotted stingrays.

Tour 2 – the north at midday

On this dive, we play 'I spy with my little eye, something beginning with' close to the blocks and embark on a search to strike it big and spot ghost pipefish. The Zodiac drops us off 50 metres outside the bay and we dive to the plateau at a depth of 14 metres. On the way south, the current is behind us and we also dive past some cleaning stations.

Tour 3 – seagrass in the afternoon

After having looked for ghost pipefish at midday, the new objects of our desire are now the dugongs. We can discover African lionfish with extremely venomous spines in the west of the seagrass meadow. Former pathfinders will have no difficulties keeping ahead on this dive, where it's all about trying to spot the traces of food that will lead us to the dugongs!

Tour 4 – night diving

Shaab Shona is also perfect for night dives. It's best to explore the coral hill at the back area or the north edge. Octopodes, sea urchins, dragonfish, snails and Spanish dancers can be seen here at peak times.



Just four miles south of Ras Banas is the island Sirnaka. Eagle breed here and have created large, impressive nests.

The southern end of Sirnaka is a safe and peaceful mooring for the night. The 5m to 20m slowly sloping sandy bottom is mostly used for night dives. Sirnaka as night dive is without current and quiet, but unfortunately mostly without major highlights.

On the south west side of the reef, a fishing trawler has sunk a few years ago. The wreck starts at 25m and ends at 52m depth. Best to let drop by the Zodiac a bit before the wreck, keep the reef on the left shoulder, usually one has a nice little current, which brings the divers to the wreck. Signposts are some fishing nets, which are on the sandy bottom of the reef.

 

With its swept empty deck, the towering superstructures and shoals of cerulean fusiliers, the wreck in a positive sense seems spooky. Due to its depth and the type of the wreck,  it is not enough for an entire dive. After about ten minutes you've seen everything there is to see.

Then you should continue the dive along the wall with the reef on the left shoulder. There are some small rugged reef coloumn in around 10m to 15m depth under whose overhangs large potato groupers are at home. There we see also a lot of lionfish, snails and a Napoleon.

JohnsCaveReady

Do you love underwater labyrinths as much as we do? Then you're going to jump for joy now – the Cave Reef has a whole bunch of caves and channels ready for us. It lies in the northern area of St. John's and even has its own inner lagoon covered with coral – simply brilliant!

Details

Measuring 400 metres in width and 1.5 kilometres in length, the Cave Reef is truly a 'huge rock' and a really exciting one at that too! The diving area on the reef stretches along a distance of 400 metres and a width of 190 metres, and as already mentioned, it is a great labyrinth. Here, at a depth of five to twelve metres, we dive through many caves and channels and see many sea fans, sponges and soft coral.

Whoever doesn't want to focus on finding the 'exit', but rather on the marine life, is better advised to dive with a guide. He or she will know exactly where we can easily fit through with our diving gear as not to damage the reef.

Once we've gone through the labyrinth, we can still explore the beautiful lagoon with its large garden of mountain coral. This area's got a very special resident – the seamoths – unbelievable creatures, although usually well-camouflaged and only approx. 10 centimetres in length.

Hotspots

Seamoths: We can find these funny little fellows with their wonderful 'wings' and curious-looking bodies in the lagoon of the Cave Reef.

Labyrinth: Either you visit with the help of a guide and avoid getting lost or you just dive in and mix it up a bit with some action, fun and excitement whilst looking for the exit. The Cave Reef's labyrinth is just grand!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday
Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–40 m; S, O, N, D: 40–60 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-32°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 25 m

Tour 1 – the caves

Before entering the cave, large Napoleon wrasse swim right past our very own eyes. Acting as a gatekeeper, there's even one magnificent and trusting triggerfish to welcome us to the many cave entrances. The treasure hidden behind the labyrinth corridors is the lagoon featuring a garden of mountain coral. It's here where we will find the 'must-see' seamoths. A word of advice: not all paths lead back to the boat, but they do all head south.

Tour 2 – the lagoon

The fastest way to reach the lagoon is to travel through the channel from the boat. We dive past many blocks inhabited by crustaceans and might just find some eagle rays too. We travel east to the outer blocks and then back to the boat. Spadefish and Napoleon wrasse probably already wait for us under the boat again. We give the trusting triggerfish a little peck on the cheek and then resurface. Just joking, don't touch!

Tour 3 – night diving

At night, we only dive the area in front of the caves and channels; otherwise, we might not find our way out of the Cave Reef's labyrinth again. Snails, crustaceans, prawns and among many others make this night dive an experience to be long told and remembered.



This small round reef lies between Habili Soraya and Gota Kebir. It is a steep wall reef and has a chimney on the south side which reaches to the surface. Thanks to its location, spectacular sightings can be made here: mantas, oceanic sharks, silky sharks, etc.

Details

Gota Soraya is a steep wall reef extending far more than 100 metres into the deep and it has a chimney in the south at a pleasant water depth of only nine metres. Diving the chimney is not recommended due to falling objects.

The west side is a wall featuring deep grooves and vegetation. A block which looks as if it is growing out of the reef can also be found here – it reaches from 22 metres all the way up to nine metres. Here, grey reef sharks occasionally pass by in the deep.

In the north, St. John's Gota Soraya has a reef spur measuring approx. 15 metres, which further slopes down more than 70 metres. It is adorned all over with gorgonians and whip coral as well as with huge fields of soft coral. Grey-black snappers and reef sharks can also be frequently encountered here.

We can find shoals of snappers and goatfish in the wide depressions on the east side. We are also visited by mantas sometimes with the current hitting the reef here.

Hotspots

The Dome: The Dome is the Gota Soraya's chimney which is found in the south at nine metres. The perfect lookout point under the blue.

Facts

Current: J, F, M, A, M, J: S/W in the morning, S/E at midday, S/E in the afternoon --- J, A, S, O, N, D: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday, S/E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–40 m; S, O, N, D: 30–50 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24°C; A, M, J: 24–27°C; J, A, S: 27-31°C; O, N, D: 27–24°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – south-west in the morning

In the south, at a depth of around nine metres, there is an entrance to the chimney which is shielded by an overhang covered in huge black coral. The current usually comes from the south and/or west. When we continue diving with the reef on our right shoulder, we come to a huge block protruding from the reef. We continually keep watch for large fish in the water. On the way back, the reef is located on our left shoulder.

Tour 2 – north-east midday

We have the Zodiac drop us off in the north at the plateau and dive to the gorgonians at 30 metres. Depending on what we find more enjoyable, we spiral dive back to the top with the reef located either on our right or left shoulder. Resurfacing at the upper coral garden in the south-east is recommended, thanks to the few lionfish and dragonfish awaiting us there.

Fasma Abu Fendera

The name Fasma means a canal between two reef blocks that can a boat can pass through. Fasma Abu Fendera consists of two large main reefs and many small blocks, which are covered beautifully. The maximum depth is 25 - 30 meters - the shallow, sandy area around 6 - 8 meters.

The boat anchors in the lagoon. One can be brought with the Zodiak through the canal and be dropped close to the ergs (coral heads). With the reef to the right shoulder, it goes towards the canal, where you can find a few meters from the entrance, within 15 - 20 meters depth, a series of madrepore blocks that are beautifully covered with corals.

Also in the mouth and in the canal an extraordinarily beautiful coral region has emerged. The towers are completely covered with soft corals in all colors. Here you should take the time to look for slugs. Time flies here and you don`t know where to look first.

Towards the end of the dive you cross the canal towards the boat and can comfortably end the dive in the shallow area.

Around the ergs are found batfish, boxfish, in the sandy bottom crocodile fish and blue spotted stingray hide away.

Due to the low depth the visibility can be affected sometimes by waves and currents.



The name Gota means "coral block". Wahed and Etnien are the numbers one and two. The blocks are not very far apart on a huge plateau, but you should plan definitely 2 dives. Around the two blocks there is mostly sandy bottom in about 18 meter depth. The Zodiac brings you out of the lagoon and drops you in the different places.

Beside Gota Wahed located on the west side within 15 - 20 meters depth, there are several small coral blocks that are well worth seeing. There the dive should start.

Back at the big block, you continue with the reef on the right shoulder until you are picked up by Zodiac between the two blocks.

The second dive then begins where the first left off - between Gota Wahed and Gota Etnien - where again there are small coral blocks that you should closely examine. It continues then with the reef on the right side to the east.

Beside blue spotted sting rays and moray eels there are also found pyjama snails, among other snail species. It is therefore worthwhile to scrutinize the blocks to find these little guys.



Farcha is a horseshoe-shaped, large plateau, which is occupied by groups of smaller coral blocks. At the edge of the plateau there is a drop off, which drops to about 50 meters. The more interesting part is, however, on the plateau in about 25 - 30 meter depth. One encounters there numerous different sized coral blocks (ergs).

At each end of the "horseshoe" there are 2 triples habilis - so the ergs are called, which are below the water surface. Since the two groups apart quite far, you should plan 2 dives here.

The zodiak will drop you above the ergs and you make a round between the beautiful overgrown blocks. Here it is worthwhile to look after the smaller reef fish - various types of slugs are here at home. In addition, there are moray eels, blue spotted stingray, crocodile fish, etc. - just the usual Red Sea residents.

At the end of the dive the Zodiak brings one back to the boat, which is parked in the lagoon.

 

  

Dangerous! Dangerous! Whether the historical origins of the reef's name actually have anything to do with the word 'Dangerous'? Maybe. After all, Dangarus is well-known for its oceanic shark sightings. Luckily the statistics help ease our minds: approx. ten people are killed by shark attacks each year, with the majority being surfers. With humans killing over 100 million sharks per year, it's no wonder that sharks don't like putting in an appearance.

Details

Dangarus is the southernmost reef of St. John's and it offers us plenty of variety – whether it's the small cave systems on the main reef, the carpet anemones with their rainbow crabs, coral formations with giant moray eels and Napoleon wrasse or the sight of hammerhead sharks.

The caves are located on a small high plateau at a depth of nine metres and don't lead up any blind alleys. Towards the east, we find a very beautiful coral garden with mountain coral in all different colours. Night dives are also possible in Dangarus; under certain circumstances, however, the morning current can push us out into open water. With good guides, however, we're always on the safe side.

Hotspots

Caves: The wonderful caves of Dangarus are everything but 'dangerous' as well as lots of fun!

Sea anemones: The carpet anemones which live symbiotically and harmoniously with rainbow crabs can be found on the large plateau in the south.

Giant morays: Giant morays hide between the coral structures in the west. They aren't exactly true beauties, but somehow pretty in their own way. And who decides anyway, who is beautiful and who's not?!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday, S/E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 50–80 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–25°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-32°C; O, N, D: 28-24°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – southern plateau

We descend east from the boat to the large, round coral and then to the block on the exterior where lots of glassfish and prawns get together to have a good chinwag. The dive continues to the drop-off edge to the yellowtail barracudas and the hammerhead sharks. Once we've investigated and discovered everything here, we dive back to the boat across the coral garden.

Tour 2 – western coral and the caves

We dive west right into the coral garden which is populated by moray eels and bannerfish. Afterwards, we ascend to the cave and marvel at the breathtaking shining light. The walls are covered with branching coral and snails crawl along the seafloor. Leaving the cave, we cross the plateau covered with the sea anemones and dive east.

Tour 3 – night diving

The main reef is completely adequate for a night dive. The coral here burst with colour and the reef is full of life. The current can sometimes be a problem, but we're safe if we stick close to the reef. At twilight , a silky shark or oceanic whitetip shark drops by to see if everything is okay.

 

  

Habili Jaffar, one of the smallest reefs in the group of St. John's, majestically juts out from the seafloor – like a volcano, it stands proudly in the current, abounding with fish and coral.

Details

At the top of Habili Jaffar's plateau or reef top, measuring approx. 120 square metres in surface, there's enough room for an underwater single-family home, completely made out of glass – wow, now wouldn't that be something!

There's also room for a garden and a pool house on the two reef spurs of Habili Jaffar: one is located at a depth of 15 metres and the other at 18 metres. Barracudas and snappers as well as cornetfish, bannerfish and angelfish travel these waters. Grey reef sharks, silky sharks and whitetip reef sharks can also be found in the blue.

Whitetip oceanic sharks and mantas, not domestic to these parts, also like frequenting this area. The coral vegetation ranges from acropora and soft coral in various shades of mint to fire coral and staghorn coral. Sea fans can also be found scattered around in the deep.

The underwater plot for our single-family home is the perfect place to resurface – here however we have to take the current and motion of the waves into account. Only when the weather is good Habili Jaffar can be approached by boat, since it lies just below the surface of the sea and therefore a large wave can easily be formed here. If this is the case, getting in and out of the boat can range from difficult to impossible.

Hotspots

Reef spurs: Both reef spurs of Habili Jaffar are perfect for scanning the waters for grey reef shark, silky sharks or whitetip oceanic sharks and mantas.

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday, SE/S in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 40 m; M, J, J, A: 35 m; S, O, N, D: 45 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24°C; A, M, J: 24–27°C; J, A, S: 27-31°C; O, N, D: 27-24°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – around the reef

From the boat, we plunge into a challenging dive and swim behind the reef to a current-free area. Then we descend to the small reef spur on the north-east side and look out for sharks. From here, we ascend, diving around the reef in a spiral formation and also enjoying the vibrant life. The upper reef edge and the plateau are particularly beautiful. The best spot for us to take our safety stop is at the boat's anchor line.



Habili Ali (also: Habili Kebir) is about 3 hours away from Ras Banas in a southerly direction. With its steeply sloping reef walls, it extends from a depth of 100m dominant up from a deep plateau and is therefore blessed with extraordinary wealth of fish. Whether big or small - everything can be!

Details


This reef is the most north-easterly from the central region of St.John's. It is a drop off reef, which is depending on the season between 0 and 4 meters under water. The reef is everywhere permeated with grooves, notches and overhangs. Everywhere there is to see beautiful and abundant vegetation with soft and hard corals and huge gorgonians and black corals. In addition to the large fan corals you can certainly consider the favorite of all divers - the Longnose Hawkfish.

Habili Ali has a width from north to south of around 20 to 25m in length from east to west 150 to 200m. In the south it falls from 10 to 15m and then goes into a narrow plateau. The eastern and western sides drop well over 40m in depth.

From sharks, barracudas, trevallies, puffers or buffalo head parrot fish to hammerhead sharks, manta rays and dolphins almost all the inhabitants of the Red Sea can be spotted here.

Unfortunately, the reef can not always be approached, because the roof is so nearly under water that can form pretty decent breakers even at small outer shaft.

Since Habili Ali is an outer reef, the current can be strong and come from all directions. A current check is indispensable.

Tour 1 - The North-West


The first dive on the day you should start with the Zodiac on the northwest corner. The north side goes to 15 to 25 meters into a natural attrition edge. After the first third of the tour along the north wall, the current can turn against you. That eventually lies down again after a few meters, otherwise play with the depth / height. In blue water it is very possible to make one or two grey reef shark or hammerhead shark.

Tour 2 - The South-West


For the second dive, we recommend the southwestern side. At a depth of 25m you should follow to the north and then ascend to 12 to 8m in hopes of sharks. Then you continue again with the reef on your left shoulder eastwards. In the upper section there are four notches, which you should not miss during your exploration.

 

  

Reefs, with the word 'Paradise' in their names, usually do this for a good reason . Paradise Reef, the northernmost reef in the area of St. John's is famous for its cave systems with dazzling displays of light as well as for its extravagant blocks and exquisite lagoons.

Details

Paradise Reef and Cave Reef are connected via multiple blocks, whereby the later constitutes the southernmost point of the reef. Drop-off edges, plunging more than 50 metres into the deep, are also found here just as much as enchanting coral gardens in the west. If we're fortunate, we encounter eagle rays and reef sharks in this area of paradise.

Close to the sea anemones in the south, an entrance to a cave with two chambers can be found. Each chamber has an opening at the top through which heavenly light shines down. In addition to the spectacular plays of light, the large number of snails is the cave's second highlight.

Both lagoons are a true paradise. Gobies and pipefish hustle and bustle in the sandy flats. Towards the east, a coral which grew top-down and stops just 30 centimetres above the ground can also be found. A colourful coral garden begins just right behind it.

Hotspots

Coral: The large coral, which grew-top down like a waterfall and stops just 30 centimetres before the ground, is an absolute highlight in the lagoon.

Cave: When we're inside both caves, then we will know why this reef is called 'Paradise'. Hallelujah!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 20–30 m; S, O, N, D: 40–50 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-32°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – blocks and lagoons

We dive west and soon see the first blocks situated on a precarious-looking slope. A mesh of different coloured coral with a cave measuring three to twelve metres in height attracts humphead parrotfish. When we explore sea anemones on the main reef, the entrance to the caves is also not far from here. Two large cave chambers and smaller side canals covered with sea fans wait for us.

Tour 2 – lagoons and coral gardens

The boat drops anchor in the south, exactly where the lagoons are located – we descend to the sandy flats covered with gobies, see coral with monumental overhangs and the beginning of the coral garden in the background. At a depth of around five and 25 metres, various shoals of fish as well as sharks sometimes come here.

Tour 3 – night diving

Should a captain convince you to stay overnight, we embark on an exploration of the lagoons and coral gardens under the boat. The weather conditions and current however change very quickly here. That's why it's always important to stay focussed whilst diving.



Shaab Sataya South is a subregion of the Sataya reef and features several dives.

The anchorage of most boats is in the north at the entrance of the lagoon. The lagoon is not so interesting, as there is only sandy bottom.

But there is a huge lagoon that leads to the "Dolphin Reef", where you can often meet dolphins. Usually a small detour is made in the lagoon, to give the divers the chance to snorkel with dolphins after the dive.

The current at the reef comes mostly from the north. From time to time there may be turbulence at the coral garden. Mostly, however, the current comes from the north on the east side of the reef and continues along the reef to the west.

In Shaab Sataya South there are 3 possible routes, but only 2 of them are interesting - the third is rather an exception.

Entrance of the lagoon: Night dives are often made in the 10 m range under the boat. A nice area are the blocks north of the boat at the entrance of the lagoon. The diving in the lagoon is not recommended, as there is just sandy bottom.

Intrusive lionfish are often found on the coral blocks, and can be observed while hunting. Otherwise, various nudibranchs can be found here. Also giant triggerfish, moray eels and a myriad of butterfly fish.

 

  

Located ten minutes east of Abu Galawa Kebir, Shaab Claudia is a great diving spot for rookies, but everyone else will also get their money's worth thanks to the unbelievable panorama. The main attraction is definitely the diveable caves – a once-in-a-lifetime experience with an incredible incidence of light. Mooring points are available.

Details

The boats cast anchor where the biggest offer is on hand – in the south close to the entrance of the cave located at a depth of 10 metres. Almost all species of fish can be encountered here, for example, spadefish, triggerfish, bannerfish, goatfish and also snappers. Even Napoleon wrasse show their faces here from time to time.

A current coming from the north often makes diving above the coral garden on the west side difficult or completely impossible. After a bumpy ride by Zodiac to the channel and the colony of sea anemones, you will be rewarded with a lovely drift dive from the east to the west side.

Hotspots

Cave: Such images are usually only known from pictures or videos, but when you really and truly see them for yourself in this cave, that's when the pure beauty will make your emotions pulse right through you, guaranteed!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 50–80 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 22–23°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 25 m

Tour 1 – cave and coral gardens

We find the entrance to the breathtakingly beautiful cave shortly before the only large block which is connected to the main reef. Inside the cave, the dive ascends slightly and we reach a large chamber after approx. five metres. Here, we dive straight to the end, then right through a block and finally reach an interesting side corridor which leads us to a large chamber after approx. ten metres. There are multiple exits from which we may/must/can choose – just like 'Alice in Wonderland'.

At the end of the cave towards the north, the dive continues through a large coral garden to the large channel. Should you still have 100 bar of air left, you can take a right – there's a beautiful, far-stretching panorama in the east. Sometimes you can see up to 60 metres into the blue – and maybe something large might just swim by. With the reef on the right-hand side, you'll definitely make it back to the ship.

Tour 2 – simply drift

We have the Zodiac take us to the blocks in the north-east. From here, we can embark on a lovely drift dive south along the east or west side. Make sure to discuss everything in advance with the guide and captain like a good little diver and then simply enjoy the underwater spectacle of nature!

 

  

Sha'ab Sharm is one of the most beautiful steep wall reefs in the Red Sea. It plunges over 100 metres into the deep, but it luckily has two plateaus in a depth range of 20 to 35 metres and it is a real beauty to behold. Not only can we see reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and mantas, but there are also cleaning stations for surgeonfish, various cave-like depressions, unicorn fish and, of course, countless types of coral. Mooring points are available here. There is a cave at a depth of 45 metres as well as the wreck of the Oyster – a former safari boat – which at a depth of 75 metres is sadly too deep.

Details

Sha'ab Sharm runs from west to east in the shape of a wedge and the reef's steep faces extend deeply into the world below us, which we will probably never get to know in its entirety. The two plateaus are located at 20 and 35 metres. Caution is also advised here due to the regular strong current.

On the eastern plateau, we have the pleasure of running into longnose hawkfish, lionfish under the table coral, barracudas, reef sharks, shoaling fishes and two cleaning stations: one at the centre of the plateau for young tuna, the other located close to a large block on the south side for surgeonfish. The 'cowardly triggerfish' also lives here too – however, that's a whole other story and one that is best told by the guides on site.

The western plateau is the narrower plateau where the current coincides in Sha'ab Sharm – and it's also a spot loved by hammerhead sharks and where we might just be able to get to meet them. Reef sharks, shoals of tuna, barracudas and mackerel found here make the dive even sweeter. Wow, wouldn't it be nice to have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to go along with this view?

Hotspots

Eastern plateau: On the plateau in the east, longnose hawkfish, Red Sea lionfish, barracudas, cleaning stations and reef shark welcome us.

Western plateau: The western plateau captivates us with various larger fish: reef sharks, tuna, barracudas and mackerel.

Tour 1 – cleaning stations

The best time to dive the eastern plateau with its cleaning stations is in the morning or at midday. Since the boats usually cast anchor at the western end of the plateau, we can drift with the current along the reef's edge to the plateau and then take our time descending from there. Important for us to remember here is that the current can change as soon as we reach the centre of the plateau. At the end of the plateau, with the reef on our right shoulder, we return back to the boat.

Tour 2 – drift

We travel north with the Zodiac. From there, it's time for us to soak in the fun by diving to the north-western corner of the reef. The dive descends to approx. 25 metres and, if the current is right, we can drift along the north side. We either put out the buoy and get picked up or we challenge ourselves, try to use little air and thereby make it back to the boat on our own.

Tour 3 – large fish

This tour at Sha'ab Sharm is just perfect for all fans of sharks and mantas. We have the Zodiac take us to the northern end of the plateau and dive to a depth of 25 to 30 metres. Here, we float, take out our cameras and wait. While waiting, we can also safely turn our eyes to the fascinating life in and around the reef from time to time. After we've got all our photos, we drift west along the steep face and then ideally resurface here.

 

  

Nowadays, it's not often that we can dive alone and there are hardly any more secret spots. Habili Radir is still rather untouched terrain – located 40 minutes northwest from Sha'ab Sharm. A collection of large and small blocks which are situated on a reef plateau. For all those who don't want to be disturbed by the bubbles of other divers.

Details

The main blocks of Habili Radir extend almost to the surface. Towards the east, the reef continually slopes down to a depth of between 37 and 43 metres, before the drop-off edge can be found. Hard coral have colonised the upper area and the reef wall is mainly populated by soft coral.

Whoever wants to cast anchor here, must wait until the waves have calmed. One of the reasons why there is not as much diving activity present in Habili Radir as in other spots. Ever seen a blue sea fan before? We'll find these beauties of nature in the eastern area. Whitetip reef sharks, eagle rays, snappers, snails, fusiliers or mackerel – all of them feel at ease here.

Even squirrelfish, which tend to swim solo, stick to groups here. There are also emperor prawns (perhaps on a secret mission on behalf of the Roman Empire) resting on whip coral or branching coral – the hiding places for reef life here are infinite. Seek and you shall find: Countless dragonfish perfect their incredibly good camouflage among the coral.

Hotspots

Blocks: Diving for treasure around the blocks is also lots of fun and we will be richly rewarded here, too!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/W at midday, N/E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 50–60 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 22–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-30°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Difficulty: 3 stars

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – the northeast in the morning

It's best for us to enter the water just 20 to 30 metres after the last block and dive to a depth of 15 metres. We can take our time diving here, as we might just spot our first whitetip reef shark or grey reef shark. Afterwards, we focus on the east side, diving around the blocks towards the south. One or two eagle rays patrol the lower section of the reef and there are also dark blue sea fans just waiting to be admired by us as the fairest ones in the whole land.

Tour 2 – the northwest at midday

From the boat, we dive on the west side to the north. We remain in the upper area of the reef and dive back and forth between the blocks. The blaze of colours and the layout of the blocks offer the best view at midday. We can find colourful snails and flatworms as well as turtles and groupers, rays and prawns – everything in one tight space!

 

  

Sha'ab Marsa Alam – an amazing diving spot 25 minutes off the eponymous coastal city in southern Egypt. Here, we won't only find the most beautiful mountain coral gardens but also cavern systems and a shipwreck! And just because it's so nice, you can also dive at night here.

Details

Sha'ab Marsa Alam has a reef length of approx. 400 metres and a width of 50 to 80 metres. The reef also has a few blocks and a lovely shipwreck which can be found behind the largest block. Many different types of fish such as moray eels, crocodilefish or snappers bustle in and around the shipwreck and are just as excited about this playground as we are.

We should take a closer look at the large block in the north-west located next to the wreck; here it's all about exploring and diving the cavern system. We dive to a depth of between 12 and 15 metres, which is why Sha'ab Marsa Alam is the perfect location for check dives.

A gorgeous coral garden can be found in the north and in the west respectively. Both cleaning stations here are permeated with sandy areas and hide sand eels, shoals of goatfish, snappers and other reef fish. We can also see octopuses, snails and cheeky nemos. Both spots can be reached with the Zodiac; the trip back to the boat can be dived however. Or we can just be picked up by the Zodiac again. Hello! We're on holiday!

Sha'ab Marsa Alam has a very special highlight to offer to some of us: diving with dolphins!

Hotspots

Wreck: Diving to a wreck is always a very special highlight and here it is possible for every man and woman.

Caves: The caves or caverns are located close to the wreck and it's a real pleasure for us to be enchanted by the plays of light here.

Coral garden: We definitely can't pass up on the mountain coral garden – it's considered one of the most beautiful around!

Facts

Current: N in the morning, N at midday, N/E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A 25-35m, M, J, J, A 30-60m, S, O, N, D 50-80m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 23-25°C; A, M, J: 26-28°C; J, A, S: 28-32°C; O, N, D: 28-24°C

Depth: 30 m

Tour 1 – colourful world of mountain coral

The large lagoon featuring mountain coral in all possible colours is an absolute must for everyone wanting to take their diving holiday near Marsa Alam. We have the Zodiac take us to the north-eastern reef edge and calmly dive down to five to 20 metres. We descend west together with the current as well as with the fish from the mountain coral garden. It's definitely worth it to dive around the western tip – the chance of spotting dolphins increases considerably!

Tour 2 – snails and eels

Snails, snails, snails. We are bound to find them in the coral field in the east which is situated at a depth of between 20 and 30 metres. Another funny sight is the sand eels moving around like large blades of grass in the wind – yikes, and there goes a whitetip reef shark! How can we have all these experiences at once? With the Zodiac, which drops us off at the northern end of the coral garden, we just have to let the current take care of the rest.

Tour 3 – check dive with caverns and a wreck

The most check dives are taken close to the wreck – after we practice getting back on board, we should definitely take a dive around the small reef which lies before us so that we can fully savour the pure beauty of this shipwreck which once was a former safari boat . Caverns flooded with light are also worth visiting, but we should only dive here when we are absolutely sure that there's also enough room and we won't damage the reef.

 

  

Elphinstone was given its name from a Scottish historian who almost perished here, when his ship en route from Egypt to England almost ran aground on the reef on 18 December 1827: Mountstuart Elphinstone. The locals however call it 'Sha'ab Abu Hamra'.

Details

From Marsa Alam, the boat travels north approx. one and a half hours to the Elphinstone Reef – a great excursion! Depending on the water level, the Elphinstone's high plateau lies at a depth between one and three metres. Strong surface currents and lots of boat traffic make it impossible to snorkel here.

Divers however can plunge straight into some challenging fun! The reef is known for its extraordinary biodiversity and, of course, also for sighting large fish. In the north, we dive down a sloping plateau from 18 to 40 metres, and in the south, down the underwater terraces. The west and east wall plunge steeply into the deep. The Elphinstone Reef has a total length of approx. 725 metres and a width of 140 metres.

Hard and soft coral in a myriad of colours make us rejoice under water – if we could, we'd jump for joy. Joining us are also turtles, moray eels, Red Sea percidae, whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and honestly just about everything the Red Sea has to offer. If we don't see it here, then where?

Hotspots

South plateau: The south plateau lures us in with glorious gorgonian gardens and friendly longnose hawkfish. Techies will be truly mesmerised by the irresistible archway.

North plateau: The beautifully covered reef blows us away here and so does the sight of whitetip reef sharks or hammerhead sharks. Simply brilliant!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N at midday, N/E in the afternoon, Warning: sometimes from the south!

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 35–40 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 40 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-28°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: +100 m

Tour 1 – for techies: archway in the morning

From the boat, we dive south along the edge of the plateau – with the current behind us. The archway begins at an approx. depth of 54 metres. Contrary to all rumours, the stone blocks on the seafloor fell from the top of the arch and are not hand-carved sarcophagi, although this legend does certainly have its own charm. If we dive through the arch, we reach a ravine on the left that leads back to the plateau. Behind the arch, we are usually provided protection from the current – should this not be the case, it's better to turn around and take the same way back.

Tour 2 – gorgonian garden in the morning or at midday

From the boat, we reach the east side by travelling across the south plateau and come to a glorious gorgonian garden located at an approx. depth of 25 metres. Here we will probably meet the 'Longnoses' –the longnose hawkfish! The reef edge has lots of soft and hard coral. Always pay attention to the current during the dive so that we can return in good time!

Tour 3 – the north plateau at midday

We dive north along the plateau and enjoy the wonderfully covered reef. With a little luck, we can spot whitetip reef sharks or perhaps hammerhead sharks and maybe even hit the jackpot and capture one of these rare specimens with our underwater camera as they swim by with a shoal of pilot fish. Incredibly beautiful! Warning: Occasionally, there may be undertows on the north plateau.



Let's try that once in Arabic: Kebir means 'large' and Gota means it's got something to do with a circular reef in the Red Sea. In summary, it's the large, circular reef of Sataya, adjacent to the main reef. No matter if we're sun worshippers or night owls, we'll all find the adventure we're looking for here!

Details

Satay Gota Kebir is located west of the Sataya main reef and we dive to a depth of approx. five to 25 metres. The mooring is well protected by a plateau; we can easily spend both the day as well as the night here. Alone the thought of this is enough to make us spring up again and set off on the next holiday!

The plateau in the south lies five to eleven metres before it plunges between 15 and 18 metres on the outer side. Almost any insurance company would close a deal with us here that we are more or less guaranteed to see Spanish dancers. That's what the Satay Gota Kebir is known and famous for. We can come up with one or two other bets to make with our guides here. Bets can also be placed on prawns, rabbitfish, parrotfish in protective cocoon, cornetfish, gorgonocephalidae and lionfish.

In the west, we find a few larger blocks in a depth of around 22 metres, where flatworms, moray eels, snails as well as small groups of hunting fish feel at home. In the north, there's a wonderful lagoon with an incredibly beautiful coral garden, various shoals of fish, a colony of sea anemones including nemo fish and every once in a while some medium-sized predatory fish.

Hotspots

Spanish dancers: At night, we can almost certainly request the Spanish dancers to take the dance floor. Of course, this requires some patience as well as a good sense of intuition.

Lagoon: The beautiful lagoon with its coral garden and colony of sea anemones radiates in the most beautiful colours during the day.

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday, N/E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–30 m; M, J, J, A: 30–50 m; S, O, N, D: 40–50 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–25°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 30-25°C

Depth: 25 m

Tour 1 – the lagoon and the west

We have the Zodiac bring us close to the lagoon, descend to ten metres and then let the fun begin by diving through a fissure. We see beautiful corals, shoals of fish and small hunters. At the end of the lagoon, the dive continues west to the 'labyrinth' – we should remember to keep an eye on our no-decompression time whilst admiring the small and large blocks. Back at the reef, the dive continues with the current, heading south to the 'inverse maze' and then one hundred metres to the boat.

Tour 2 – north-east at midday

From the Zodiac, the dive continues south with the reef on our right shoulder. We let the current slowly and continually push us towards the boat. Whilst floating above the sandy flats, we explore rays, then also shoals of snappers and some snails. Mackerel, young tuna and barracudas openly hunt in front of us, whilst we keep an eye on the reef and dive to the small plateau, where we will find the anchor lines leading back to the safari boat.

Tour 3 – high plateau at night

It's best for us to enter the water from the stern to the high plateau and explore the outer edge in a depth of 15 metres. In the coral garden, we will find lionfish, crustaceans and sleeping parrotfish and rabbitfish. There is a sandy alleyway at the western end of the plateau where cone shells and seafeathers hunt. There's one more thing for fans of "Pet Sematary", as a snail graveyard exists here ... whoever wants to pass this one up, can dive back to the boat and look around both blocks for Spanish dancers, feather stars and gorgonocephalidae.



Sataya Gota Soraya – the name of this diving spot already sounds wonderful and so is its coral garden, too. A great playground for ardent navigators as well as for the dolphins who like coming here to show off.

Details

Soraya means 'small' and Gota stands for a circular reef. We find ourselves at the small, circular reef in the area of Sataya – the sister reef of Sataya Gota Kebir, the large circular reef. The mooring is located in a small lagoon in the south-east. Should the current suddenly change, there's also another mooring in the south-west.

A small tip: At lunchtime, there's not much going on in the waters around the south-eastern mooring, so just postpone your lunch and enjoy the coral gardens for yourself!

We usually travel north by Zodiac because of the current. From there, we then choose whether we want to dive along the east or west side. No matter which direction we choose, the dive takes a good hour.

Should we not wish to miss the small cave in the north, we can dive through it to a lagoon which is covered with gorgeous mountain coral. Sataya Gota Soraya captivates us in the first place with its large table coral, acropora and soft coral as well as gigantic mountain coral. Snappers, thresher fish, goatfish, snails, dolphins and reef sharks cast their spell over us here too.

In the north-western area behind the sand alleyway, there's another coral garden consisting of old and new coral formations and which plummets 40 metres in the north.

Hotspots

Lagoon: In the north, we travel through a small cave to the enchanting lagoon full of grandiose mountain coral.

Dolphins: No matter where we go, we should always keep an eye out for these oceanic beauties. Encountering dolphins in the wild is a very emotional experience – nothing else can compare to it!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday
Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–30 m; M, J, J, A: 30–50 m; S, O, N, D: 40–50 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–25°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 30-25°C

Depth: 40 m

Tour 1 – lagoon and around the reef

We travel north by Zodiac and then we dive right over a ridged edge where we can immediately search for snails. Once we've seen enough, we dive into the mountain coral lagoon where there's many shoals of fish and fry to see. The caves on the west side of the lagoon lead us to a coral garden which is bound by four blocks. Here we can race dive and in the process say 'Hi' to the sea anemones, moray eels, young reef sharks or also turtles. After repeatedly giving our greetings, we either dive back to the boat with the reef on our right shoulder or we put out the buoy and get picked up.

Tour 2 – from the north to the south-west

From here, we also head towards the reef by Zodiac and then to the blocks in the west. We have the reef on our left shoulder, repeatedly diving over sandy flats and maybe even exploring trails left by humphead dragonfish, which lead us to their hiding place. Arriving at the single, round block, we might just find cuttlefish and crocodilefish.

Tour 3 – for ardent navigators

This dive also starts in the north and goes north-east to an elongated stretch of land with different blocks. The average depth is 22 metres and the blocks are between three and ten metres high. It's best to run through the dive in 3D beforehand and to take the current into account. Just before the boat, you can also dive around the large block instead of diving through the channel.

You will return in the afternoon (about 2 o'clock p.m.) to the harbor one day before departure, and spent the last over night either on your boat or in your hotel. The next day you will be transferred either to the airport or your hotel. ATTENTION: The tour description is merely our suggestion. Which diving places on tour are dived is determined by many factors including the wind and weather.

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