- In southern Sudan one has the chance of something very special. Reefs like Seil Ada or Barra Musa Kebir are known as the cradle of turtles. With a little luck, you can observe turtles when they slowly crawl to the sandy islands to lay their eggs.
- But also mantas, silvertip sharks and big tunas are not uncommon. Sudan offers stunning biodiversity. Huge schools of snappers, groupers, surgeonfish or groups of bump head parrot fish can be observed.
The south side with the southwest plateau
By far the most dives are carried out on the southwest plateau. The underwater life unfolds here a breathtaking splendor.
The south side forms a vertical reef wall down to a depth of 10 meters and merges into an inclined slope below. The slope bends vertically in the area of 35 meters. The upper area is rugged and forms numerous small caves and crevices. One encounters short-spined hedgehog fish over forests of leather corals. At a depth of about 50 meters, a small sandy step nestles against the reef before the wall below disappears vertically in the deep blue.
The southwest plateau connects to the west. Large table corals stand on its base, at a depth of 10 to 15 meters. Numerous whip corals rise from the bottom, some of which form entire forests. With such an abundance of species, it is difficult to decide in which direction the dive should continue. On the one hand, the vibrant life on the plateau attracts, on the other hand, gray reef sharks, black tip and hammerhead sharks can be found in the area of the edge, as well as on the entire outer wall of the reef. With a little luck, sea turtles or passing mantas can be spotted.
The outer edge of the plateau begins at its base at 10 meters and sinks to about 33 meters at the extreme south-west tip. The strongly jagged outer wall runs almost vertically on it and forms overhangs. The entire splendor of the Red Sea unfolds on the plateau. A number of small coral columns, some of which are beautifully decorated with purple soft corals, invite you to look at and take pictures. A large swarm of Barakudas, loyal to the location, is circling. It is so trusting that a cautious diver can swim up to the arm length of individual animals. A huge swarm of mackerel is also common. Jewel flagfish appear in this coral garden in an unlimited number. A large number of sponges, leather corals, gorgonians and fire corals settle on the bottom. At the foot of the upper reef wall, a strip of sand stretches across the plateau, on which large green giant triggerfish have dug their eggs in the sand. Care should be taken there as they aggressively defend their nests. The reef wall above the plateau is so jagged up to 10 meters that canyons have formed. They are easy to dive.
An elongated plateau connects directly to the northern tip. There is hardly any diving because the highlight on the Sanganeb reef is the southwest plateau. However, eventful dives can also be carried out at the north end.
The approach of the plateau begins at a depth of 4 meters. Due to the waves and the frequently occurring strong currents, it is rarely suitable for diving. From its outer edge, however, you can beautifully observe the many small reef fish that swim around in the game of the waves.
Below the first step there is a sloping slope very nicely covered with soft and stone corals. It flows into a canal at a depth of 25 meters. The often strong current makes it impossible to swim against it.
In the northern direction, the plateau initially rises again to 20 meters, in order to then change into a steep drop. Shoals of barbed mackerel, fusiliers and copper snappers pass by on the outside. Below them, soft corals sway in the current.
A further plateau begins at a depth of 40 meters, which descends continuously to a depth beyond 60 meters in order to drop steeply below. At this level there are good chances to spot gray reef sharks and hammerheads. The sloping slope offers a magnificent sight. It is overgrown with numerous soft corals and fan corals stretch their bodies into the free water.
In the shallower area you can encounter a swarm of baracuda or large groups of double-spot snappers.
Wingate Reef with Umbria
Despite the dangerous situation in the port entrance of Port Sudan, the "Umbria" is not recovered. A prohibition zone is pronounced around the wreck with its davits, some of which still protrude from the water, and then left to its own devices.
Nine years after its demise, the "Umbria" aroused the interest of the then 30-year-old Hans Hass. His contacts with the governor of Port Sudan finally enabled him to dive on the "Umbria".
His photo and film material contributed significantly to the myth of the wreck. The "Umbria" is now one of the most famous wrecks in the Red Sea.
Located within sight of Port Sudan, it usually forms the start or end of a liveaboard trip. Even if the collective rage of many divers has left its mark here, the old lady with the explosive cargo has lost none of her charm. The sinking point can be easily recognized by the four davits that protrude from the water on the starboard side. The sediment-rich subsoil, the immediate location to the port entrance and the low currents often contribute to reduced visibility.
The wreck is inclined 75 ° to the port side. The three front holds are connected to the intact bow. The crew quarters and the bridge can be found amidships. To the stern are two more holds and the aft deck. Both the holds and the midship superstructures can be easily explored.
Due to the extreme inclination and the dangerous load, extreme caution is required when handling objects. If you approach the bow of the "Umbria" from the open water, the steeply rising bow Steven with the flag stick appears mystically in the greenish water.
The two anchor chains run to the bottom, the "Umbria" was at anchor when it sank. The anchor winch and the railing are covered with corals.
The decking is still in astonishingly good condition. The small hatches are an indication of the age of the ship. In the first hold, the entrance of which is on the foredeck, wooden boxes, electrical material and airplane tires are stored next to the ubiquitous ammunition. In the second, somewhat larger hold there are bombs, grenades and stick grenades. The detonators, which are kept separate from the explosive devices, are scattered around in almost every hold. The third hold is one of the most visited.
In addition to cement sacks and other building materials, wine bottles and jam jars can be found here.
A narrow port or starboard passage leads to the midships area on the first loading level, where there are three vehicles.
The Fiat 1100 Lunga were specially designed for off-road use in the Italian colonies. Unfortunately, quite a few divers left their mark on the vehicles. The fine sediment quickly reduces the visibility to zero, so that if possible this part of the ship should be visited with small groups at larger intervals. The midship section with the bridge and its superstructures can also be easily explored by snorkeling. On the starboard side 4 empty davits protrude from the water. On this side there is also a single bathroom with a toilet, bathtub and a sink made of enamel.
The huge machine room can be accessed either through one of the open skylights behind the chimney or through the workshop accessible from aft. The multi-storey room is easy to dive in the upper sections, the lower ones are reserved for experienced divers.
Grates limit the numerous units. Wind scoops, loading booms, the broken chimney and a lifeboat lie on the sea floor towards the port side of the superstructure. In the direction of the rear there are two further holds. Some of them are spanned by the overturned loading booms. As in the front holds, ammunition, building materials and various war equipment can be found here. The one-story superstructure between the fourth and fifth cargo space houses the galley and some storage rooms. At the rear, the planking is missing. The red soft corals on the railing and the deck struts provide the necessary color. The rudder system and the exposed timing chain are easy to see. Below the railing, the huge rudder blade and the starboard propeller are impressive. The port screw has sunk into the floor. Under the rudder blade there is a huge artificial cave that can only be exited through two exits. The twilight contributes to a mystical mood.
More than 360,000 bombs and 60 boxes of incendiary bombs and other explosives are stowed in the 5 holds. Cars, aircraft parts as well as cement bags and other building materials.
The route leads the "Umbria" via Messina in Sicily to Port Said, from where it is to sail through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to East Africa.
After arriving in Port Said on June 3, it bunkers another 1,000 tons of coal and 130 tons of water. 23 British Navy soldiers and 2 pilots board here. In view of the impending entry of war between Italy and England, the passage of the canal is deliberately delayed. So the "Umbria" with her explosive cargo leaves Suez only 3 days later.
From now on she pursues the gunboat "Grimsby". It stops the freighter at Port Sudan on the grounds that it is in British sovereign waters. The "Umbria" anchors on June 9th at Wingate Reef.
Under the pretext of wanting to search the ship for contraband, Lieutenant Steves led 22 soldiers from New Zealand cruiser "Leander" on board. They immediately occupied the strategically important points and started a time-consuming search.
In the afternoon, Captain Muiesan in his cabin hears via radio that Italy will declare war at 7:00 p.m. and that the first acts of war can be expected from 12:00 a.m. the following day.
It is clear to Muiesan that he must not waste any more time so that the strategically important cargo does not fall into enemy hands. Together with the first officer Radolfo Zarli and the flight engineer Carlo Costa, he plans the sinking.
The inconspicuous evacuation of the crew is causing them difficulties.
Finally, Muiesan suggests Lieutenant Steves to conduct a rescue exercise, which he approves in the hope that he will be able to hold on to the "Umbria" even more. As the Italians begin the exercise, Steves receives news of severe water ingress throughout the ship on the bridge After a few minutes and with the ship's flank increasing, he realizes that he can no longer prevent the sinking.
On board the "Gimsby", Muiesan tells him that Italy was entering the war and that he had given the order to sink himself.
He then went to India with his crew before the outbreak of war in captivity.
The reef wall drops vertically up to 15 meters. It is interspersed with crevices and small caves that house numerous reef inhabitants. This is followed by a gently sloping plateau on which some wreckage of an unknown ship is scattered. The bottom is covered with colorful soft corals. Shoals of baracudas make their way over whip corals. On the outside, the plateau drops steeply into the deep blue. Remarkably large fan organs grow on the wall and offer attractive motifs to underwater photographers. You often come across whitetip and gray reef sharks.
Its step-like structure characterizes the south plateau. The first stage is 3 to 5 meters. Countless small reef inhabitants populate the light-flooded shallow water area. They include tawny boxfish, yellowblade nose doctor fish and various types of gobies. There are further steps at 13 and 20 meters. These are set with numerous small coral blocks. Stone corals, between which whip corals rise, dominate the bottom. Shoals of barbed mackerel swim above them. Occasionally whitetip reef sharks can be found. On the approximately 300 meter long plateau, as on the north side, stronger currents must be expected.
This coral tower drops steeply into the depth. The largest school of bow-fronted hammerheads known in the Sudanese Sea gathers here. You will also often encounter gray reef sharks and silver tip sharks.
On the eastern side, at a depth of 30 meters, there is a large cave in which white-tip sharks often rest.
During the ascent on the wall you can see a large number of cavities, which offer photographers a spectacular view of this habitat.
In the north-west a drop off is falling into the deep blue. The wall is beautiful overgrown with colourful gorgonians.
At the south-east lies a very nice plateau. A sandy area on which, when there is a mild current, you can find shoals of unicorn fish. Great barracudas coming to catch the weaker fish and the giant dog tooth tunas come herding their youngsters. Not to forget the sand eels and the small white tip reef sharks.
At the drop off, when the current permits, one will often be rewarded with the super stars: schools of hammer heads and the odd grey reef sharks!
The reef is colored with pink, yellow and red soft corals. The whole coral block is full of marine life, wherever you look. During the safety stop you can admire a few anemone sticks in the 5 - 6 m area.
Gold ribbon feliers pull predators such as tuna and due to the mostly strong current this place is a meeting point for hammerheads, white tip reef sharks and gray sharks.
On a detour into the blue water you can meet individual specimens or even schools of hammerheads and gray reef sharks. After returning to the plateau, continue the dive with the reef on the right.
We are now on the eastern ridge of the reef, swimming through clouds of fish who are absolutely indifferent to our presence. At the bottom at a depth of 45 meters there is a series of small plateaus that are richly overgrown with soft corals and gorgonians. Here you will also find different types of reef fish and schools with large buffalo-head parrot fish nibbling on corals.
Seil Ada Kebir
At the northern tip, the reef drops to a plateau in 20 - 25 meters - it is overcrowded with fish that are constantly living here.
The area is also populated by various types of reef sharks.
On this island, the powder white sand creates a perfect floor for different types of turtles. At the right time of year you can watch the turtles slowly crawling out of the sea to lay their eggs. Turtles are almost always guaranteed at this dive site.
Barra Musa Kebir
Barra Musa Kebir is overgrown with green bushes in the middle. Sea turtles use the beach to lay their eggs and there is an extremely attractive plateau on the south side. On the west and east side there are drop-offs that delight every steep wall diver.
The reef wall is jagged and falls vertically on the first 10 to 15. Lionfish are waiting in the reef crevices or under ledges for the night to catch prey. Small long-nose tufts are hiding in the branches of fan gorgonians. A two-stage sloping slope begins below the wall and is covered with coral heads. The numerous soft corals that populate the slope are noticeable. From a depth of 55 meters, the reef wall falls almost vertically into the deep blue of the open water. As on the other sides, different types of sharks can be found.
The reef wall falls almost vertically from the water surface to the base of the plateau. It forms numerous crevices and small caves populated by various sea creatures, and the plateau slopes downwards from a depth of 23 meters. It is studded with small coral heads that are covered with soft corals. From diadem sea urchins and hair stars to nasal doctor fish to giant moray eels, a lot of interesting things can be observed in the smallest space. With a bit of luck, you can spot a stone fish lying in wait, and at the edge, at a depth of 26 meters, the visitor reaches an almost vertical drop, which in some places forms large caves. Large fish are found especially at the southern tip.
Habili Seil Ada
The zodiac drops you directly over this mountain, as this is the interesting part of this plateau.
At a depth of 10 - 15 meters, whitetip reef sharks make their way and large barracudas stand in the current, but snails and dragon heads can also be discovered with a closer look.
If you leave the blocks, there is a sand surface for about 30 meters, which then changes into a steep slope. This area can be safely left out, since most of the life takes place between the coral blocks
Habili Seil Ada can only be approached in good weather conditions, since the coral blocks are approx. 5 - 10 m below the water surface and offer no protection against wind and waves.
Habili Qab Isa
Depending on the current, the zodiac sets you down in the west or east over the south plateau, which gently drops from around 22 meters to the southern edge at 40 meters. Here you should be on the lookout for the big hunters - hammerheads make their rounds in deep blue.
If you start the dive on the east side of the plateau you will meet two large gorgonians and cross it to the west side in a zigzag course between the blocks of stone corals. Above the plateau are schools of barracudas, buffalo-head parrotfish, long-nose tufted perch and white-tip reef sharks are in wait for prey.
Dahrat Abida can be recognized from a distance by the three wrecks on the northwest side. The one on the south is a former sailboat. In the middle is an unknown motor ship and north of it a lifeboat.
The dive is usually started at the southeast end of the island and continued towards the west. The rugged reef wall drops steeply and sometimes forms small overhangs. Beautiful spiky corals hang down from them. Couples of masked butterfly fish also stay there. The entire wall is overgrown with various corals. To the west is an extremely colorful and diverse plateau. It is completely covered with coral heads. Underwater photographers find numerous interesting motifs. At some distance from the wall covered with soft corals, swarms of barbed mackerel or individual baracudas move along the reef. Patrolling gray reef sharks or schools of tuna can be spotted from the outer edge of the narrow plateau.
At the northeast end of Dahrat Abida, a plateau extends into the open water. Its approach begins in 4 meters and drops continuously to 14 meters. It is overgrown. Whip corals rise from the ground next to stone corals and stretch towards the light. In the entire area, the diver can observe numerous reef inhabitants: yellow-breasted junkers and groups of blue-streak snappers swim over guard gobies, who peek out of their caves. Individual Napoleons and large groups of baracudas run above them. The outer wall of the plateau forms a drop-off, along with white tip reef sharks and gray reef sharks. If you look into the open water, you may be lucky enough to spot a school of great-face hammerhead sharks. It can include more than a hundred animals. Other pelagic residents, such as silver tip sharks, swarms of barbed mackerel or tuna, also enrich the dive. It is not uncommon for sea turtles to visit the island.
Masamirit is about 0.8 nautical miles long and overgrown with green bushes. At the south end is a 29 meter high lighthouse. At night, its light can be seen up to 15 nautical miles. On the west and south side, the reef drops steeply to great depths. At the north end and on the east side there is a plateau on which the underwater life can be observed in all its splendor. Due to the prevailing north current, the west and north sides are more interesting for diving. Near the island, the ocean floor reaches depths of more than 350 meters. As a result, there are good chances of encountering ocean dwellers such as silvertip sharks and bowhead hammerheads.
At a depth of 3 meters there is a flat plateau on the north side of the island. There is a lot to discover on this surface covered with coral heads: ball-headed parrotfish and tobacco butterflyfish sway in time with the waves. At the outer edge there is a steep slope. It is beautifully overgrown with stone and soft corals. Numerous small reef fish swim between the colorful cnidarians. Shoals of banner fish move across the corals. White crescent jewelfish and squirrel fish swim at the bottom. The outer wall offers the opportunity to meet different pelagic sea creatures. Shoals of tuna as well as individual blacktip or bowhead hammerhead sharks can be seen from time to time. Large fan gorgonies grow on the steep slope and catch plankton from the water with their polyps.
The outer wall is slightly curved inwards and drops steeply to great depths. The upper area is rugged and has many small caves and crevices. Small reef dwellers seek shelter in these. Shoals of various snappers and prickly mackerel pull along the steep drop. Flocks of jewel groupers are grouped around small ledges. Colorful magnificent corals hang from overhangs. In the middle of the east side, a plateau extends into the open water. Its approach begins at a depth of 20 meters and quickly drops to 40 meters. A coral garden has developed on the plateau. Especially forests of soft corals have settled, which are populated by a lively fish world.
Like many islands south of Port Sudan, it is overgrown with green shrubbery. The seabed reaches depths of over 500 meters in the surrounding area. There is a large plateau on the east side. There is a small heel around the entire island at a depth of 3 meters. An extremely lush and colorful underwater fauna and flora flourish at this dive site. Experienced Sudan divers consider this island the most beautiful dive site in the entire Red Sea.
From a depth of 3 meters, the jagged reef wall falls steeply into the deep blue. Snorkelers also get their money's worth. There is a lot to discover in the numerous small crevices and caves. The spines of sea urchins protrude from small holes. Couples of masked butterflyfish stand under the ledges. Spotted hedgehog fish, like the flute fish that usually swim below the water surface, move along the reef. The entire outer wall is beautifully overgrown with stone and soft corals. Small calyx corals have settled on the hard underground, as well as magnificent anemones and large fan corals. Different sponges give the reef wall a colorful look. Below 25 meters, the outer wall drops steeply to great depths, where the realm of deep-sea fish begins.
There is a steep slope below the heel. At 26 meters from the base of the plateau, it flows into a transverse channel. The slope is overgrown with stone and soft corals. Countless small, colorful reef inhabitants swim between them, such as tobacco butterfly fish, groups of Eurasian weaver fish and red sea anemone fish. In the canal, the north current that occurs most often can become so strong that it is hardly possible to "swim against". There is often a large group of buffalo-headed parrotfish. Large groupers and sometimes manta rays can also be found The bottom of the canal initially rises again to 22 meters and then drops steeply to a depth of about 60 meters from the plateau. Various shark species and pelagic schooling fish such as prickly mackerel and tuna can be observed.
The boat is parked on the north-western part of this reef and the zodiac takes you to the south-east side.
Here, the usually very strong current must be checked and you start the dive with the reef on the right side.
If the current is extremely strong, you hook the reef hook close to the reef above the first plateau. With less current, you can drift to the end of the plateau in 25 - 30 meters and hook yourself in there. From there you have a view of the 2nd plateau, which gently drops to 45 meters. No matter which variant you choose, the current attracts all big fish and hunters.
At Shaab Loka you will find a gently sloping slope from the island. A container ship stranded here about 50 years ago and has been rotting away ever since. The reef is fantastic covered with all kinds of corals and an incredible variety of scurrying fish.
Loka - North
The dive starts at the northern corner of Loka Island - walls and infinite depths.
A beautiful balcony platform can be found along the wall. It is not very large, approx. 50 x 25 m, with a huge block of coral, which in turn is surrounded by barracudas. The entire platform is littered with so many fish that you can only guess at the corals.
The reef has a slightly rectangular shape. It gently slopes down to the bottom creating a beautiful coral garden (at a depth of 15m) with large, lush coral heads.
Right after jumping off the boat, you can see two slender pinnacles standing a few metres apart with a shape that resembles a boletus mushroom. They are almost completely encrusted with colourful soft corals. A light current will push you as you glide over large table corals, different types of fire corals, and large mounds of giant pore corals. Many different species of gobies and butterflyfish dot the great big blue.
This is a great place for a check dive: similar to an aquarium, it will prepare you for the dives that follow. It is worth exploring Tamashiya’s northwest side as well. From the mooring point, head west to reach a sandy plateau and a little drop-off scattered with large coral heads. The abundance of life found here as well as the weak current allow for thrilling night dives.
The elongated island in the deep south of the Suakin Archipelago has a plateau with a fantastic coral garden on the north side. The plateau continues to drop behind the hilly landscape to 35m to 40m, before sinking into "infinity". Large redmouth groupers take refuge in the garden with small caves. Shoals of black polka dot sweet lips, two-color chromis and other damselfish captivate the view over the “Garden of Eden”.
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.
After arrival in Port Sudan transfer to the boat.
Check in, dinner and spending the first night on board in the marina.
Departure in the morning.
Instruction on the boat,
Diving, safety and equipment briefing.
Dive at Preserver reef and Tamashiya
Night dive at Tamashiya
Two dives at Dahrat Abida
One dive at Daraka
Night dive at Daraka if possible
Night dive at Tamashiya
Night dive at Shaab Ambar
Two dives at Jumna Reef
One dive at Sanganeb south
Night dive at SS Umbria
Two dives at SS Umbria
Head to Port.
At least 20 hour safety rest before flying would be given to all participants.
Handing trip educational material/ videos.
Breakfast and check out.
Transfer to the airport.