The Red Sea's narrow, sheltered shores have extensive shallow shelves which allow marine life to flourish; the region supports over 200 hard and soft species of coral, over 1000 invertebrates and over 110 species of fish – 10 percent of which are not known to be found anywhere else in the world. The rich biodiversity of the area has been officially recognized by the Egyptian government, who set up the 'Ras Mohamed National Park' in 1983 to protect the Red Sea from pollution and over development.
As the world's most northerly tropical sea, it is very popular with European divers and offers hundreds of top diving spots. Not only is it extremely diverse in marine life, but with an average water temperature of around 26C, good visibility and a small tidal range it is also considered a safe place to dive. Although the Red Sea laps the shores of several North African and Middle Eastern countries, including Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, it is Egypt that is best known as the host of diving holidays.
For experienced divers, the Red Sea's many wreck sites offer a fascinating glimpse of marine history and also how nature can take man-made materials and use them as a habitat. Examples of this includes the 'Ghiannis D', a Greek boat that sunk in 1983 after colliding with another wreck. Divers can swim through the deserted hull and see large moray eels, shoals of batfish, and butterfly fish.
'Thistlegorm', a British ship that was sunk by bombers in 1941 is rated as one of the top ten best diving sites in the world. Much of the huge vessel's cargo is very well persevered and can still be seen, such as motorbikes, rifles and even train carriages!
Egypt is well equipped for hosting diving holidays, and divers of all levels – from complete beginners to experienced scuba masters – are well catered for. Live-aboard diving holidays are one of the best ways of maximizing your underwater time and offer comfortable accommodation, with double or twin cabins, large air conditioned rooms with en-suite bathrooms available. Most also offer plenty of indoor and on-deck seating and a bar where guests can purchase soft drinks as well as beer and wine. Experienced crew members provide catering as well as guidance to the best diving sites in the area.
With such wealth of diving opportunities, it's little wonder that the Red Sea, and Egypt in particular continues to be one of the most popular diving spots in the world.