Leave home and dive into crystal clear waters before the sun sets – the Red Sea’s perfect diving destination, Sharm el Sheikh, is back!
Ok Sharm el Sheikh never went away, but direct flights from the UK did. Now with direct flights back on offer your favourite quick-hit dive destination suddenly got a whole lot closer, with door to door times down to under half a day. But after 5 years without direct UK flights how has the resort changed and what has happened to all that fabulous marine life? The good news is…
The best dive holiday destination just got better.
Any many of you know Sharm is suitable for all levels of divers, with no shortage of resorts, shore dives and boats on permanent standby. Settling on a weeks boat diving we booked our preferred Sharm dive operator, Emperor Divers. Dive Guides Elise, Duncan and Tracy were their usual stellar selves, as were our wonderful boat crew of Captains Ibrahim and Hany, Chef Sayed and Crewman Saad. It’s the safe, reliable, informed service you’ve come to expect from one of the world’s best boat operators. Emperor even provided a snorkel guide for our last day and guess what, we were treated to a turtle, feet away, surfacing for air. Reminds you how accessible this area’s fringing reef can be, perfect for all level of water enthusiasts.
What’s the diving like?
Sharm’s diving is every bit as spectacular as when we left it all those years ago. Its coral gardens and walls are stunningly pretty and there is a huge variety of fish species within this expansive habitat. The reefs are pristine and what stands out is the clarity of the water and the explosion of colour. It’s the absolute definition of diving in a huge natural aquarium. Perfect for the experienced diver and beginner alike because as diver’s know, no two dives are the same – we dived shark reef twice in and could have been visiting entirely different locations
What marine life is there?
Expect to see a huge variety of fish including so many species of angelfish, butterflyfish and triggerfish set amongst gardens and walls of purple, yellow and red soft coral. Everywhere are masses of the Red Sea’s signature fish, the delicate and beautiful anthias – a living, swaying orange curtain covering the coral walls, rays of sunlight piercing through from the surface above. Snow-white sandy gardens with coral-encrusted pinnacles, home to groupers, morays and damsel fish.
Ned lectures in fish behaviour and, while he was not here in that formal capacity, has been generously giving us his time to point out certain fish behaviour to look out for while diving. For example, we’d never noticed that on certain sites in mid-afternoon, at a depth of around 18m, a male Flasher Wrasse will get into a mating ‘dance’ in which he repeatedly opens and closes his spectacularly colourful dorsal fin to impress his ‘harem’ of females. The Flasher Wrasse is not a big fish so without Ned pointing out the where, when and what of its behaviour, I guarantee that we would have swum right by. Now we stop and watch this amazing display. This is but one example of our friends’ extensive knowledge; by listening to their fascinating explanations we’ve started to see the reef at a whole new level – it’s even richer than at first sight! Thanks for changing our diving for the better, Ned and Anna.
What time of year should you go diving in the Red Sea?
Great all year round, the water never drops below 20’, the Red Sea is a perfect destination, but in the months of November to April you’ll start to need a thicker suit, more for the wind-chill than the water temperatures and that’s when local knowledge and choice of dive boat comes into it’s own.
What else is there to do in Sharm-el-Sheikh?
Sharm has been open for business all through the five years that the Brits have been away. So there are plenty of tourists in resort and plenty going on. Camel rides and quad bike experiences in the desert with dinner with the Bedouins and stargazing. Restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. Water-sports, huge water parks, beaches and pools. Cuisine from local Egyptian fare to Indian, Thai, Chinese, steakhouses, seafood, Italian and more … all set against a magnificent backdrop of the craggy Sinai desert’s mountains. What’s more, it’s still one of the best value for money dive destinations on the planet.
What are the practicalities?
From the UK you can now fly direct with
Indirect is still an option with Turkish Airlines who’s new terminal in Istanbul make transfers very easy – last time we tried it the gate to gate change was under half an hour but always leave and hour and a half if you can. EgyptAir also offer regular indirect flights into Sharm el Sheikh.
What are the costs of diving holidays in the Red Sea?
A week’s stay at the Ghazala Beach Resort in January costs from £720 per person based on 2 people sharing a room with bed and breakfast meal plan and 5 days’ local reef day boat diving with Emperor Divers. Other hotels are available; for more information please click here Ghazala Beach Resort
Find out more
Want to learn more about our visit to Sharm el Sheikh?
Give us a call on 01473 852002