One of the most stunning dive sites consisting of some colorful ergs, nice
caves, and a spectacular drop off into the deep, Erg Somaya is situated on the
east side of Giftun Soraya. The east side of the reef slopes steeply down to
depths between 15 -24 meters to a sandy seabed than drops off to over 50 meters.
Two pinnacles are situated on the ledge, one at 10 meters where a mooring buoy
is attached and one around 18 meters. Another pyramid shaped pinnacle lies to
the north between 12 - 20 meters.
It actually begins a little south of Erg Somaya. There are steep drop-offs,
areas full of gorgonians, coral covered plateaus, pinnacles, overhangs and
caves, all with a dizzying array of Hurghada marine life. Pelagic action is a
constant as the waters are nutrient rich and a frequent feeding ground. The wall
drops away to about 100m so pick your depth and gradually work your way back up
as you drift along in the current. It is a great playground for the experienced
with a profusion of giant fans and black corals and big game, including whale
sharks, barracudas, oceanic white tip sharks.
This offshore Island is surrounded by good diving on all sides, and the south
end has a shallow plateau where the moorings are positioned. For first timers at
Umm Gammar the dive will take place from the plateau, moving eastwards to the
drop off then north along the wall. Big groupers and lots of sweepers live in
the multiple caves found along the eastern and western walls and drop offs of
this tiny island's fringing reef.
Abu Ramada is a medium sized, oval-shaped reef with a shallow, flat, sandy
seabed surrounding it. The shallow reef has plenty of coral outcrops away from
the main reef to explore around and there is an abundance of life wherever you
look, and there is plenty of light making it an excellent dive for taking
photos. There are a couple of eagle rays that have made this reef there home,
and crocodile fish and stonefish are also something to look out for and
Shaab El Erg
The most northerly site for day boats out of Hurghada. A huge horseshoe shaped
reef offering many dive sites on all sides. The north point can be home to
Mantas in season. The lagoon is dotted with ergs and is renowned for sightings
of the resident dolphin community, divers have previously spent up to 30 minutes
with dolphins here.
Apart from diving the numerous coral gardens and reef walls found near the coast
line of Hurghada, the area also offers some of the best wreck dives in the
country. For those planning on sampling wreck dives Hurghada, here are some of
the popular sites worth a trip or two:
- El Mina wreck dive site, also known as the Harbor Wreck, in connection
to its location within the harbor of Hurghada. This particular wreck is made up
of an Egyptian minesweeper sunk by an Israeli bomber in 1969. With a depth of 30
meters, most of the dives organized in this site are done by more experienced
- Sha’abrur Umm Gamar, the final resting place of Colona IV, a charter
boat that sunk in 1995. The wreck is said to be 66 meters down the sea floor,
and is visited only by experienced divers. Because this wreck is relatively new,
only a few corals are anchored to it.
- Suzanna, the original name of the vessel is Excalibur, a sailboat that
got burned and sunk in the 1990s for unknown reasons. Resting 22 meters down on
the sea floor, this site is quite accessible to all types of divers, even those
taking open water courses.
- Salem Express, a ferry that sunk in 1991, along with hundreds of its
passengers. Interested individuals should know beforehand that traces of its
passengers can still be discerned, like suitcases, stereos, and remnants of
clothing. Diving in this site is not for everyone, as the vessel’s tragedy looms
very large in the mind of every diver circling it.
- My Balena, a safari boat that sunk in 2001. Located just 9 meters down
on the sea floor, the site is also just a few minutes away from the shores of
Hurghada. This makes it quite an ideal site for novices, with the proliferation
of soft corals on the vessel’s surface and abundance of barracudas darting in
and out of its body providing added visual delights.