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Gulf of Aqaba

Gulf of Aqaba

The sea in the Gulf of Aqaba is almost invariably calm with temperature varying between 18 C in winter months to 24 C in summer. All diving is shore based as Aqaba offers fringing reef which commences at the shore line. There are no off-shore reefs to warrant boat diving. The soft and hard coral formations are spectacular and there are many species unique to this area.


The Gulf of Aqaba is created by seismic activity along the Afro-Syrian Rift, the Gulf of Aqaba is a deep narrow body of water, bordered by Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and is one of the hinges connecting the Asian and African continents. The gulf extends 180 km from Eilat and Aqaba and joins the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran, with its widest point spanning 28 km. Israel's gulf shore extends only a few kilometers, from the city of Eilat to the border with Egypt at Taba. Jordan's shore reaches some 20 km in length, extending to the Saudi border opposite Marsa al Muqabila in northern Sinai. Egypt enjoys the longest gulf border, which stretches some 170 km between Taba and the Straits of Tiran.

The Hidden Gems: of the Gulf of Aqaba coastline is still relatively hidden and is lined with small beach camps from Dahab all the way to the Israeli border. Some of the more established beach camps, like Basata, aim to be eco-friendly and you may hope more outfits go that way. You may also love the Lake Nasser region between Aswan and the Sudanese border. The area is so unbelievably undeveloped when you consider 11 million tourists a year come to Egypt.

To the front lies the turquoise waters of the Red Sea and its coral, freckled depths. To the fifteen kilometres north of the main tourist area of Dahab, in between the Bedouin village of Assalah and the spectacular coral reef known as Blue Hole. Dahab boasts the Blue Hole, a vertical rift of current-free, warm, clear water in the coral which is one of the world's best free-diving destinations. This spectacular Blue Hole, rated among the top 10 diving sites in the world and one of the "most dangerous" too. It goes 200 metres in diameter and plunges deep. Nevertheless, it remains chillingly exciting as a diving and snorkelling site. Other sites include the Canyon, Eel Garden, Lighthouse and Southern Oasis. One needn't worry about booking trips, be they seafaris or safaris. Dozens of offices arranging interesting itineraries are located in the downtown area and in every five-star hotel.

The Gulf of Aqaba is a natural transshipment area. Proposals to enhance the area’s capacity as a logistic gateway between Asia, Europe and Africa on an international scale and between the Maghreb countries and Persian Gulf on a regional scale, have been presented by the Jordanian, Israeli and Egyptian governments. These proposals include upgrading the Port of Aqaba and road access to it, establishing an “inland port” logistic center connecting transport, manufacturing and storage facilities in the Aqaba-Eilat region, creating international passenger and commercial airports at Aqaba/Ein Evrona and Ras el Naqeb, establishing border and trans-border production zones at Eilat/Aqaba and Ras el Naqeb, and extending rail service between Red and Mediterranean sea ports. Starting in Dahab, a traditional Bedouin community on the Sinai Peninsula just northwest of Sharm el Sheikh, it goes to the north crossing past Nuweiba to the end of Gulf Aqaba to Taba on the border of Egypt and Israel.

Abu Hilal/Small Canyon

This extensive site features an inshore reef top dropping steeply to 10-12m (33-40ft). The entry point, just south of an outjutting spit of reef which acts as a breakwater for northerly wind-driven waves, gives onto a sheltered sandy lagoon with the bottom of 12m (40ft). Swimming straight out from here, diversd will cross a shallow coral bar or threshold at around 4m (13ft), decend to their maximum depth along the rolling slope, then turn north and slowly ascend.

The canyon for which the site is named begins at a depth of more than 30m (100ft). It is extremely narrow and twisting, with severely limited exit points; beginning as it does at considerable depth, and reaching much greater depths before an exit is possible, it lies beyond the scope of sport diving, and penetration should not be considered.

Ras Abu Hilal translates as ‘headland of the crescent moon’. It refers to the crescent shaped reef about half a kilometre south of the Canyon. The reef encircles a shallow lagoon at about 12 metres. Outside is a gently sloping bay and on it northern side a broad ridge. The start of this ridge features one of the finest coral gardens in the Dahab area and this is the main focus of the dive site. This dive can be combined with a visit to the ‘Huts’ which is located just north of Abu Hilal. An easy drift south from The Huts will bring the diver out at Abu Hilal, the exit point can be chosen according to remaining air. These are just some of the few local dive sites in Dahab with many more dotted along the 20km coastline of which Nesima is located in the centre.

Beyond the canyon, a large uprising leads the way back to shore. A second large sandy area lies between the site's northern edge and the reef spit sheltering the entry point; swim either around the base or over the top, and you will arrive back at the entry lagoon. Coral throughout the site is excellent, both in density and variety - all are in excellent condition. Fish life is equally diverse. Among the hundreds of reef species, notable residents are Unicorns, wrasse, big grouper or rock cod, triggerfish, lionfish and big starry puffers. Sea turtles are also a common sight.

  • Location: Between Dahab village and the Canyon dive site
  • Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry
  • Average Depth: 20m (65ft)
  • Maximum Depth: 50m+ (164ft+)
  • Average Visibility: 20m (65ft)

The Bells/Blue Hole

One of the premier dives sites here in Dahab is the Bells, a spectacular wall dive of amazing beauty. The Bells is formed where a deep groove cuts into the reef top just north of the Blue Hole. The groove of the Bells breaches the reef table and a clear blue pool is formed; this is where the dive is started. As you drop through this pool, you will emerge on the reef wall at about 12 metres.

The Blue Hole is by far, the most famous Tek dive site in the Red Sea. Because of the depth involved, the Blue Hole got a reputation as a difficult dive. You'll discover a magnificent arch at 55 m opening to the outside reef. The Bells dive site is located several km/miles north of Dahab village, just north of the Blue Hole, you can access it by car to the Blue Hole, then a short walk to the shore entry point.

A true vertical wall, full of overhangs and fissures, with lots of swimthroughs and cavelets. Towards the Blue Hole, in the south, the reef profile softens to a steep slope. The dive begins in a small slot in the reef table, around 100m (328ft) north of the Blue Hole lagoon; after reaching your maximum depth on the sheer wall section just south of the entry, ascend slowly and follow the reef south to the lip of the Blue Hole lagoon, in about 6m (20ft) at the top of the reef. This is your exit point.

Coral cover on the wall section is not abundant, but there is quite good growth of plate and cabbage coral as well as black coral bushes and white soft corals. Although the fish life here is reasonable, there are many sites with greater diversity and larger populations.

Like all wall sites, this one should be treated with caution; it is easy to be seduced by the sheer profile and far exceed your planned maximum depth. You should also remember that the exit point is only a few hundred meters from the entry, and is easily missed.

The groove disappears to re-emerge deepest at 28 metres. The open water here is some of the clearest, deepest blue you will see. The wall itself descends down into the blue to an incredible 1800m which only adds to the anticipation experienced when emerging through the chimney. It is vertical and in parts overhanging, with a rich growth of black corals and seafans. There are many anemones along this wall which comes to life with Spanish Dancers at night. Waiting for you at the end of the dive is a awe inspiring Blue Hole, just perfect for a relaxing safety stop.

The decompression stops can easily be done on the outside reef, or on the way to the Bells, another dive site nearby. The open water here is some of the clearest, deepest blue you have ever seen. The Wall is also magnificent, it is vertical and in parts overhanging with a rich growth of black corals and sea fans.

  • Dive Site: The Blue Hole / the Bells
  • Location: North Dahab, 28°34.367N; 34°32.207E
  • Description: Reef / shore dive / drop-off
  • Depth: 200 metres + (600 feet)
  • Visibility: 30 - 40 metres (100 - 130 feet)

Eel Garden

Eel Garden is situated in front of a small beach south of Jackfish Alley and is accessible by land or boat. Eel Garden is rather well sheltered from the currents, but since it is exposed to prevailing winds and waves, you must pay attention to the condition of the sea, especially if you are diving from the shore. Entry to this site is through a small lagoon which descends from the reeftop to an exit point on the reef at about 7m (23ft). Little more than 1.5m (5ft) wide at some points, this entry lagoon can act as a funnel for wave surge or runout form falling tides, so divers should be prepared for a strenuous swim.

Once outside the lagoon, a wide sandy slope leads off to the left (north), covered with literally thousands of garden eels that give the site its name. Across the sand lies a sloping reef wall with scattered coral heads on the sand at its 18-20m (60-65ft) base; south of the sand, the reef continues, with lots of fine coral growth but no exit point until the lighthouse.

There is an excellent selection of coral growth along both reef sections, with stony and soft species including Acropora, antler coral, plate, cabbage, elephant ear sponge, Dendronephthya and Xeniid. Anemones are pretty common here.

As well as the eponymous garden eels, the site boasts large numbers of small grey morays, lion fish, blue spine unicorns, damsels and baslets, parrots, grouper, lyretail cod, and plenty of sand gobies.

This is a gently sloping wall dive to suit all levels of divers and offers easy entry and exit through a shallow sandy lagoon, home to several lion fish. As the name suggests there are numerous garden eels that can be seen opposite the wall in the white sloping sand bank. The wall starts at 3m and has a maximum depth of approximately 16 metres. Exiting the lagoon and swimming across the sandy slopes, viewing the garden eels at close proximity, will bring you to a beautiful garden littered with hard and soft corals and other aquatic life. Divers can then return to the lagoon along the wall which is alive with colour and texture. For those with good air consumption, a drift dive from the Eel garden to the Lighthouse offers a varied and relaxing dive.

  • Location: Offshore at the north end of Dahab's Bedouin village
  • Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry
  • Average Depth: 18m (60ft)
  • Maximum Depth: 30m+ (100ft+)
  • Average Visibility: 20m (65ft)

Geber El Bint

Part of the attraction of this site is the novelty of the commute - by camel along the inaccessible coastline between Dahab and Nabeq to the north of Sharm El Sheikh. The sight of a train of camels, driven by Bedouin in full regalia and loaded down with high-tech dive gear, is an unforgettable one.

The site is a sheer wall running around the north point of a curving bay. Following the coastline, the wall drops to depths well past 50m (164ft). Within the bay, the wall begins at depths from 8-20m (26-65ft), above which a gently sloping reef flat leads to shore, dotted with sand flats and acropora.

North around the point, the upper reef slope widens, encompassing a veritable forest of soft coral which blanket the reef completely in places, as well as numerous huge goronians in the 2 to 3m (7-20ft) range. Inshore, a large sandy lagoon dotted with coral heads lies just past the point, an excellent place to spot rays and numerous large crocodilefish.

There are abundant soft and hard coral formations. Most species of fish are sparsely represented. This is one of the most unusual sites along the Sinai coast, and well worth the effort.

This spectacular diving area, located almost 30 kilometres south of Dahab, can only be reached by unconventional means; the Sinai camel Trek along the coastline, shadowed by the majestic mountains of Sinai, to reach these virgin reefs in one of the two day camel safaris run from Nesima. Geber el Bint is abundant with stunningly rich marine life and offers wall diving, vivid coral gardens and gentle sandy slopes with coral outcrops. This diving experience can be combined with an insight into the culture of the local Bedouin who prepare traditional food and drinks and care for the camels.

This breathtaking dive spot has it all; hard and soft corals take their turns with giant fan corals sloping down the drop off, deep canyons as well as a crystal clear lagoon with table corals and sometimes cuttlefish and milkfish – the “tourist sharks”.

Here you start to ascend to about 10m and cross the saddle then start to head back along a sandy ledge which parallels to the shore. The ledge is riddled with exquisite coral heads that attract numerous reef species, including swarms of anthias, scorpionfish, parrotfish, crocodilefish, surgeonfish, triggerfish, trumpetfish, stingrays and very often a turtle. At the end of the ledge usually is home to a shoal of black and white snappers and twinspot snappers hang here between 5m and 10m. One of the truly breathtaking dives in Dahab.

  • Location: On the coast south of Dahab, several km/miles beyond the Caves
  • Access: A ten-minute car ride, then one hour by camel, from Dahab
  • Average Depth: 20m (65ft)
  • Maximum Depth: 50m+ (164ft+)
  • Average Visibility: 20m (65ft)

The Lighthouse

This is a fine dive, with a good range of features and depths to suit all levels of diver. Located just offshore at the lighthouse in Dahab bay, it features a sloping reef extending north around an outthrust point of land. This section, while excellent in profile and layout, is looking a bit tired and worn. Large pinnacles extend out from the point, reaching depths of more than 25m (80ft) before tailing off to a series of smaller coral heads reaching off into the depths. The reef then gives way to a wide, featureless sand slope before reaching a second sloping coral wall to the north.

The Lighthouse, situated at the Northern end of the bay of Dahab, is home to the confined water training area due to its large sandy slopes an gentle drop off. The Lighthouse offers a number of different dives depending on the route chosen. The sprawling coral gardens offer an abundance of marine life and vividly colourful corals, extending far from the shore. The Lighthouse is made up of a large rocky wall that wraps around the point whilst heading north to the Eel Garden. The wall and the sprawling coral gardens, which alongside a spectacular variety of corals, can feature here and make it a very popular dive site. The Lighthouse is also a very reputable night dive area where it is not uncommon to see sleeping parrot fish, Spanish dancers, Red Sea lobsters, shrimps, hermit crabs and much more.

This second reef slope is very interesting, with a flat reeftop at around 4m (13ft) and a lower limit of around 20m (65ft), beyond which there is bare sand and a few coral patches. A shallow lagoon cuts the reeftop at this reef's southern edge, hosting a varied fish life; the reef here is healthier overall than the southern section. Both sections of the reef show a lot of secondary growth, with live coral patches over a visible base of skeletal corals. Both hard and soft species are well represented, particularly in the richer northern section. Fish life is diverse, if somewhat sparse, with big trumpetfish, wrasse, rock cod, surgeons and unicorns, lionfish and parrots all prevalent. Turtles and rays are frequently spotted here.

This Lighthouse diving center has been working 7 years in Sinai peninsula. Its name was taken from the most popular Dahab dive site which is situated right in front of the dive center just next to the beach and sunbathing area which provides you a maximum satisfaction. If you are beginner diver, you can practice in a protected area of bay until you get enough experience for more difficult dive sites. You can also snorkeling in Lighthouse reef exploring the colorful world of Red Sea. Newly renovated and fully equipped center is waiting for you with Hungarian, Slovak and English speaking stuff. In a pleasant environment you can taste specialties of famous Hungarian kitchen. If you want to improve your diving skills, we provide lessons from beginner to professional levels of SSI, IANTD, PADI, SDI systems in our fully equipped classroom at our home reef (Lighthouse reef ). You can also dive with NITROX or TRIMIX if you are looking from something different. If you will learn enough about fun diving you can explore secrets of technical diving. Center will also help you in not diving related activities like visiting a Saint Catherine monastery, Moses hill or Bedouin dinner.

Divers and snorkelers please take note: due to the site's popularity as a windsurfing venue, extra care should be taken when surfacing and while at the surface.

  • Dive Site: Lighthouse
  • Location: Dahab, 28°29.944N; 34°31.182E
  • Description: Reef / shore / night dive
  • Depth: 15 metres (50 feet) - 35 metres max (115 feet)
  • Visibility: 15 - 30 metres (50 - 100 feet)
  • More details About Ligthouse Divecenter - Red Sea, Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada: http://www.dahabdive.com/

Over the Hill (Ras Atantur Bay)

A rich and well-preserved site, with a phenomenal density and diversity of fish and coral life. Located in the center of a small bay, just beyond the bluff of Ras Atantur, the dive is on a small reef promontory extending into the bay. This reef has a steeply angled profile, and is surrounded by steep sand slopes. These slopes are well dotted with coral heads, while the reef itself has every conceivable type of coral present, in staggeringly dense formations. This is probably the best site for hard corals in the entire region.

Over the Hill (Ras Atantur Bay) is between Dahab and Nabeq. Colourful, abundant reef, with a shipwreck – the Maria Schroeder – 10km further south. Access by 4WD. A rich and well-preserved site, with a phenomenal density and diversity of fish and coral life. Located in the center of a small bay, just beyond the bluff of Ras Atantur, the dive is on a small reef promontory extending into the bay. This reef has a steeply angled profile, and is surrounded by steep sand slopes. These slopes are well dotted with coral heads, while the reef itself has every conceivable type of coral present, in staggeringly dense formations. This is probably the best site for hard corals in the entire region.

  • Location: 23km (14.4 miles) north of the Bedouin village, on the Nabeq coastal road. About 1.6km (1 mile) south of 'End of the Road'
  • Access: By jeep from Sharm El Sheikh, then shore entry from reeftop
  • Average Depth: 20m (65ft)
  • Maximum Depth: 60m+ (197ft+)
  • Average Visibility: 30m (100ft)

The Bells/Blue Hole

One of the premier dives sites here in Dahab is the Bells, a spectacular wall dive of amazing beauty. The Bells is formed where a deep groove cuts into the reef top just north of the Blue Hole. The groove of the Bells breaches the reef table and a clear blue pool is formed; this is where the dive is started. As you drop through this pool, you will emerge on the reef wall at about 12 metres.

The Blue Hole is by far, the most famous Tek dive site in the Red Sea. Because of the depth involved, the Blue Hole got a reputation as a difficult dive. You'll discover a magnificent arch at 55 m opening to the outside reef. The Bells dive site is located several km/miles north of Dahab village, just north of the Blue Hole, you can access it by car to the Blue Hole, then a short walk to the shore entry point.

The groove disappears to re-emerge deepest at 28 metres. The open water here is some of the clearest, deepest blue you will see. The wall itself descends down into the blue to an incredible 1800m which only adds to the anticipation experienced when emerging through the chimney. It is vertical and in parts overhanging, with a rich growth of black corals and seafans. There are many anemones along this wall which comes to life with Spanish Dancers at night. Waiting for you at the end of the dive is a awe inspiring Blue Hole, just perfect for a relaxing safety stop.

The decompression stops can easily be done on the outside reef, or on the way to the Bells, another dive site nearby. The open water here is some of the clearest, deepest blue you have ever seen. The Wall is also magnificent, it is vertical and in parts overhanging with a rich growth of black corals and sea fans.

  • Dive Site: The Blue Hole / the Bells
  • Location: North Dahab, 28°34.367N; 34°32.207E
  • Description: Reef / shore dive / drop-off
  • Depth: 200 metres + (600 feet)
  • Visibility: 30 - 40 metres (100 - 130 feet)

The Canyon/Fish Bowl

This site takes its name from a long, narrow and very beautiful canyon which runs north to sourth from the shallow reef just offshore to depths of around 50m (164ft) on the reef slope further out. Access to the site is through a shallow 3m (10ft) lagoon lying a few steps from the shoreline. Noe the prominent threetrunk-line pinnacle just outside the lagoon entrance - a good landmark for locating the exit point.

The entrance to the canyon is marked by a large coral mound lying some 10m (33ft) out from the reef face, in around 12m (40ft) of water. A man-sized opening in this coral hummock gives onto the top chamber of the canyon, a fishbowl-like enclosure filled with glass fish.

From here the canyon drops through various twists and turns to a depth of 50m (164ft); open water is visible along most of its length through the narrow opening in the ceiling, but there is no opening large enough to exit through until 30m (100ft) depth.

Outside the canyon, the reef has good coral cover but within the canyon itself, there is little if any coral growth.

Among the large range of reef fish here, some notable residents include the puffer fish, unicorns, snapper, grouper, basslets and rabbit fish. Jacks can often be seen along the reef, and beautiful, jewel-like schools of glass fish inhabit the canyon.

The Dahab Canyon is the classic canyon, an essential dive for all fanatics of caves and cavern diving. The Canyon is, itself, quite a phenonomen. Up to 10 metres deep and virtually closed over at the top, it snakes its ways up from the depths, to emerge in a large glassfish filled coral dome, the fish bowl. It has three main openings; at about 12 metres is the fishbowl, below that is another large bowl, opening at about 20 metres and at greater depths there are a number of smaller openings. From the top the canyon has the appearance of the fluted mouth of a clam shell. The Canyon dive site offers an easy entry and exit point through a shallow, sandy lagoon. This leads out to a beautiful coral gardens which can only be fully explored after several visits. The Canyon itself is positioned about five minutes north-east from the exit of the lagoon.

The Canyon Ancient volcanic activity created this huge fissure now overgrown with hard and soft corals, which form many tunnels and grottos. The exit from the lagoon is at about 4 metres. You can put the left shoulder to the reef and head down to about 15 metres. You can skirt along the reef for about 5 minutes until they swim right into the canyon. The exit of the canyon is around 55m and another canyon is just waiting a few metres deeper.

Note that only divers with considerable deep diving experience should consider swimming through the canyon to exit at depth. There is plenty for less experienced divers to see without risking a long, hazardous penetration. Even very experienced divers are strongly discouraged from proceeding beyond the 30m (100ft) exit.

  • Dive Site: The Canyon / the Fish Bowl
  • Location: North Dahab, 28°33.294N; 34°31.257E
  • Description: Reef / shore dive / technical dive site
  • Depth: 100 metres + (300 feet)
  • Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)

The Caves

This site centers on a large, open-fronted chamber, or cavern, deeply undercutting the reef table close to shore. A small semicircular shelter or windbreak by the track marks the entry point. Entry to the site is effected by basically throwing yourself off the reef edge into deep water at the top of the cavern. Frequent strong waves at the surface may make it advisable to don your fins in the water, rather than risk losing your balance in the surf. On exit, you will need to judge wave patterns and allow yourself to be carried onto the reef top by the swell.

Once in the water, the cavern is directly below you. The undercut sections can be entered on either side of the sandhill. On the right, or south side, a very contoured shallow reef section, with many inlets and surf tubes, leads onto the sloping body of the main reef, while to the north, a deeply undercut extension of the cavern leads down the side of the sandhill to the northern continuation of the reef slope.

The reef sections are as interesting as the cave, with good cover of hard and soft corals, and a lively population of reef and schooling fishes. Divers should make a personal judgment as to whether the entry/exit is within their scope.

The Caves, located south of Dahab, is a slightly misleading name, as the 'cave' is in fact more of a large overhang. This is still, however, a good dive site for the unusual rock formations and variety of sealife. This site centers on a large, open-fronted chamber, or cavern, deeply undercutting the reef table close to shore. A small semicircular shelter or windbreak by the track marks the entry point.
Caves Dahab
The dive starts by following the gentle sloping drop-off following the shore where the sandy bed provides a home for garden eels, pipefish and wrasse, which dive into the sand as you approach. The pinnacles provide an interesting site with sealife including turtles, morays, lionfish and Napoleon wrasse. The dive finishes up in the caves, which provide shelter for several dozing puffers.

This is the southernmost dive site to be reached by car in Dahab and accordingly less frequently dived. The driving time is about 35 minutes and bypasses the nice dive sites Moray Garden and Three Pools.

From here there is only the option of riding a camel or taking a boat to reach the more southerly sites. To enter this dive site you have to do a giant stride from the big overhang you are standing on, which continues down to a depth of 12 meters. You will be diving partly in an overhead environment here and the view from inside the caves into the blue is absolutely stunning.

The entrance to this site is from the shore, with a stride entry into the caves area. Entry and exit can be quite tricky due the waves crashing into the shore so be prepared to be an excellent buddy, and save some energy for getting out after!

  • Location: On the Dahab coast, next to the Lagona Hotel
  • Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry
  • Average Depth: 20m (65ft)
  • Maximum Depth: 50m+ (164ft+)
  • Average Visibility:20m (65ft)

The Islands

The Islands is a dense concentration of coral pinnacles and patch reefs in a sheltered location along the Dahab shore - a labyrinthine range of peaks, valleys, corridors, sand patches, bowls, amphitheaters, deep wells and coral peaks.

This intricate seascape is densely covered with absolutely pristine coral; the reef practically glows with a jewel-like quality. The range, condition and density are awesome - probably the most diverse and well-preserved selection of coral in the Sinai area. Every conceivable hard coral is present, with a diversity of soft coral to match.

An underwater maze of spectacular coral gardens, this dive site is renown for its enormous range of vividly coloured corals. Weave your way through the meandering passages, swim with the resident school of barracuda and play with turtles and other marine animals which reside in this divers haven. With a maximum depth of sixteen metres and all day direct sunlight on this splendid reef, divers find this one of the most beautiful and relaxing dives in South Sinai.

The Islands is a dense concentration of coral pinnacles and patch reefs in a sheltered location along the Dahab shore - a labyrinthine range of peaks, valleys, corridors, sand patches, bowls, amphitheaters, deep wells and coral peaks.

This intricate seascape is densely covered with absolutely pristine coral; the reef practically glows with a jewel-like quality. The range, condition and density are awesome - probably the most diverse and well-preserved selection of coral in the Sinai area. Every conceivable hard coral is present, with a diversity of soft coral to match.

Stunning as the coral is, it is rivaled by the fish life - huge schools of barracuda, snapper, surgeon and unicorn fish vie with scintillatingly colored reef species. Sea bream, emperors, big trigger fish, rabbit fish, birdnose wrasse and a hundred and one other species round out the picture, with the occasional turtle thrown in for good measure. One particular highlight is a large, sand-bottomed amphitheater halfway along the reef, where giant schools of immature barracuda congregate, circling like a flashing silver tornado.

  • Location: On the Dahab coast, next to the Lagona Hotel
  • Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry
  • Average Depth: 12m (40ft)
  • Maximum Depth: 16m (52ft)
  • Average Visibility: 20m (65ft)

Gabr Elbent

Gabr El Bent Dive Site in Dahab is part of the attraction of this site is the novelty of the commute - by camel along the inaccessible coastline between Dahab and Nabeq to the north of Sharm El Sheikh. The sight of a train of camels, driven by Bedouin in full regalia and loaded down with high-tech dive gear, is an unforgettable one.

The site is a sheer wall running around the north point of a curving bay. Following the coastline, the wall drops to depths well past 50m (164ft). Within the bay, the wall begins at depths from 8-20m (26-65ft), above which a gently sloping reef flat leads to shore, dotted with sand flats and acropora.

North around the point, the upper reef slope widens, encompassing a veritable forest of soft coral which blanket the reef completely in places, as well as numerous huge goronians in the 2 to 3m (7-20ft) range. Inshore, a large sandy lagoon dotted with coral heads lies just past the point, an excellent place to spot rays and numerous large crocodilefish.

There are abundant soft and hard coral formations. Most species of fish are sparsely represented. This is one of the most unusual sites along the Sinai coast, and well worth the effort.

Last Updated on Friday 14th January 2011