Egypt, famous among snorkelers no matter the season. The country is surrounded by the Egyptian Riviera and resorts such as Dahab, Marsa Alam, and Sharm el-Sheikh. With over 200 species of corals, 1,000 species of fish, and 1,000 species of invertebrates it’s truly a snorkeler’s dream. Add the beautiful crystal-clear waters and the perfect temperature all year round, and it’s easy to understand why many people adore the area.
One of the reasons why we enjoy Egypt so much is the water temperature. In areas such as the Red Sea coasts, the water remains a nice warm 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) throughout most of the year. Therefore it’s perfect for snorkeling and many other activities. The water stays relatively calm as well, making it perfect for seeing lots of fish and other gorgeous marine life. Let’s share our TOP 10 favorite snorkel spots:
1. Abu Dabbab Bay
Located near Marsa Alam, Abu Dabbab Bay is well-known for its snorkel activities. The white sandy beaches on this southern part of the Red Sea are perfect to spot green sea turtles. Furthermore you’ll find lots of colorful reef fish and stingrays. The healthy coral reefs and extensive seagrass beds invite a diverse collection of colorful marine life.
Another advantage to know about are the bay’s beginner-friendly characteristics. If you’re totally new to snorkeling, this part of Egypt could work really well. Located about 18 miles (30 km) north of Marsa Alam, the area offers easy access to the water regardless of which hotel you choose.
2. The Blue Hole in Dahab
Dahab is a small town located roughly 55 miles (90 km) north of Sharm El-Sheikh. The area is famous for its Blue Hole. This underwater sinkhole is about 394 feet deep and nothing short of impressive. Obviously the depths of Blue Hole are only accessible to scuba divers, however, don’t you worry just yet.
Snorkelers are able to explore the surrounding areas, which is a popular activity to say the least. Depths range from 2 – 20 feet, which is just perfect for observing the marine life. The walls of the hole contain loads of coral, so if you snorkel over these parts, be prepared for an incredible scenery.
You could come across small groups of Red Sea bannerfish, large schools of surgeonfish, butterflyfish, Moray eels, lion fish, wrasse, sergeant major fish, and more. Add the colorful corals and who knows you just found your little paradise.
3. Marsa Alam (and Marsa Mubarak)
If you love dolphins, dugongs, and colorful coral reefs, try to snorkel in Marsa Alam. Snorkeling with spinner dolphins is very popular in the area, which is possible at 2 specific reefs: The first is Samadai Reef, which requires a 45-minute boat trip from the marina in Marsa Alam. The second is Sataya Reef, which is roughly 2 – 2.5 hours from Hamata Jetty.
Whenever you hear someone talk about the “Dolphin House”, these two reefs are what they’re talking about. The Marsa Mubarak area is well-known for spotting dugongs. So, if you love these animals, make sure to pay Marsa Mubarak a visit (about 45 minutes by car from Marsa Alam, towards the north). Turtles, sharks and rays enjoy the area as well. This video will show you more:
4. Gorgonia Beach Resort
Located just south of Marsa Alam, this resort lets you observe a wide variety of hard and soft corals, stingrays, sea turtles, and many colorful fish species. There’s no need to dive down deep in order to be a part of the underwater world. The area is best for intermediate-level and more experienced snorkelers. The maximum depth is roughly 18 feet (6 m).
The resort is located at the edge of Wadi el-Gemal National Park, and only resort guests are allowed to access this particular snorkel spot. You’ll also have access to a few lagoons. These lagoons offer views of marine life such as masked and white-spotted puffers, cow-tail stingrays, lionfish and blue-spotted comet fish. If you’re an experienced snorkeler, this location won’t disappoint. Let this video impress you:
5. Swimming with Dolphins Snorkeling Tour (From Hurghada)
This 9-hour tour costs just under $40 per person and is worth every bit of the price. While dolphins are the main attraction, the gorgeous multicolored reefs come in a close second. There’s enough beauty to fill the entire day.
The tour offers to pick you up from various locations. They speak 5 different languages, including English. This is a great way to enjoy both snorkeling and swimming with dolphins when you try to avoid crowds. A limited amount of people are allowed on each excursion. In between snorkel sessions you can chill out on the boat and enjoy the lovely scenery.
Tip: I have a separate review for snorkeling in Hurghada, including the Giftun Islands I mention next. Definitely worth it if you plan to visit Egypt! Here’s the link to my Hurghada snorkeling review.
6. Snorkeling Cruise to Mahmaya, Giftun Islands
This cruise starts at around $45. Since Mahmaya (Mahmya) is uninhabited, prepare for a variety of marine life. Lunch and snorkel gear are included in this 8-hour tour. This family-friendly cruise even offers hotel pickup and drop-off. A fun and exciting idea if you want to snorkel with kids.
We often suggest to join a tour since the instructors are familiar with the area. They’ll make sure you get to see what you came for, like coral reefs and exotic fish. The picture below shows you the sandy beach in case you need a relaxing break. Combined with the crystal-clear turquoise-blue water, this is definitely one of those “tropical postcard locations”. The tour is offered in English and 5 other languages.
7. Ras Um Sid
Located just a short distance south of Na’ama Bay, Ras Um Sid is a favorite peninsula for snorkelers and scuba divers. The area is surrounded by a narrow coral reef. You can expect to see angelfish, clownfish, shools of sea goldie, butterflyfish, as well as dozens of giant clams.
You’ll have access to several facilities like a restaurant, bar, showers, deck chairs, and more. It’s a great place to spend the day, whether you want to snorkel or simply take things easy.
8. Sharm El Naga
If you don’t like snorkeling in crowded areas, consider Sharm El Naga. It’s located about 25 miles (40 km) south of Hurghada City and offers a healthy coral ecosystems with a diverse marine life. The video below shows you exactly what to expect in the shallow calm water areas. There’s a resort nearby in case you feel like staying a little longer.
Divers can also enjoy the area because of its huge fire and gorgonian coral colonies located in deeper water. Sharm El Naga is a protected peaceful bay. In other words, if you’re the relaxed kind of snorkeler, this could work.
9. Tiran Island
Located at the entrance of the Strait of Tiran, this island separates the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aqaba. A variety of cruises will take you there, like this one for example. Many tourists opt for a day trip which includes food and drinks.
You’ll be able to snorkel over the coral reefs and observe fish like napoleon wrasses, parrotfish, sea turtles, eels and more. Less common, but still easy to find, are manta rays, dolphins, and sharks. The corals build up huge forests right below the ocean surface. The island also offers some beautiful beaches that allow you to relax and work on your tan.
About The Red Sea
Egypt borders both the Mediterranean Sea (in the North) and the Red Sea (on the East). Famous holiday destinations like Sharm El-Sheikh are located on the East, which means people get to enjoy the Red Sea.
Because of the high concentration of salt, it’s easier for people to float in the water. Sure, you still need to continue your swimming moves, but it’s a remarkable thing to be aware of. We once wrote a article about floating tips for snorkelers, which is packed with tips and tricks on how to stay afloat (in case you struggle with that).
The Red Sea also contains a good amount of shipwrecks. If you do a little research you’ll soon figure out if your destination has one too. Cargo ships and tankers can be found as well. Usually more suited for divers, but still an interesting fact to know about.
There are different theories about where the name “Red Sea” actually comes from. Many people refer to a certain type of algae that turns into the color red whenever conditions allow for it. Even though there are numerous other explanations, this one sounded the most plausible to us.
Another popular and lovely Red Sea destination is Eilat. If you’re interested, visit our article about snorkeling in Eilat (Israel).
The Climate In Egypt
Even though the climate isn’t the same throughout the entire country, we summarize what to expect within the Red Sea area. Details about the climate in other areas can be found here.
From April until October, the average temperature in the Red Sea area is somewhere between 77°F and 91°F. June until September are the hottest months with possible peaks up to 100°F. December until February are usually cooler, with an average temperature of around 65°F.
For us snorkelers, the sea temperature is usually comfortable. This is one of the reasons why snorkeling is a favorite and enjoyable activity in Egypt. In summertime, the average sea temperature is around 82°F. From Januari until March, the water temperature drops to around 70°F. If that’s too cold for you, try to avoid a trip within these months.
Rainfall is very limited in Egypt, sometimes even fully absent. That’s why they refer to it as a “desert climate”.
With it’s enjoyable climate and comfortable sea temperatures, Egypt is a lovely destination for snorkelers. Over 200 species of coral and more than 1000 species of fish allow for an incredible underwater experience.
We listed a number of lovely snorkel locations to get you started. Egypt offers something for everyone! It could be a quiet abandoned beach with shallow water, or a boat trip that allows you to snorkel with dolphins. Add the warm climate and simply enjoy everything Egypt has to offer.