A Red Sea Diving Safari is literally like no other in the world – of the fish species recorded here, about 10% are found nowhere else on Earth, The Red Sea lies between Saudi Arabia to the east and mainland Africa to the west. It happens to be the world’s northernmost tropical sea, and boasts a huge array of wildlife—more than 1,000 invertebrate species, as well as 200 species of coral.
In the 1950’s, diving pioneer Hans Hass mounted a number of famous expeditions to chronicle the underwater life of the Red Sea, work that opened the world’s eyes to the natural treasures contained there. If you’re looking for trophy photos of undersea life, you’ll find some of the best specimens here—44 different species of shark alone call the Red Sea home, including the bull shark, tiger shark, and three different kinds of hammerhead. Add in healthy populations of sea cows (or dugongs), barracuda, dolphins, and sea turtles, for a little more scenic spice.
The Red Sea’s proximity to Europe doesn’t hurt either—you won’t have to put in 30 hours of travel each way to reach your dive safari location, giving you more time to enjoy dive time. Egypt is the most common launching ground for scuba excursions, though Israel hosts a number of great outfitters as well. There are a few outfitters based in the Sudan as well, just be aware that this nation is quite a bet less stable than Egypt or Israel at the moment, and plan accordingly.
Those of you who aren’t wild about liveaboard dive trips will be pleased to know that many Red Sea dive safaris start from land-bound locations. Hotel beds and meals are the rule here, resulting in a higher level of amenity than you find on the typical multi-day liveaboard excursion. If you are looking for liveaboard options, you’ll certainly find them, but the close proximity of large seaside towns allows for drier accommodations you can’t get in more remote dive locations.
Since you’ll be off the water between dives, make sure to mix with the locals whenever you can. The ancient cultures of the Middle East surround the Sea; give yourself plenty of time to experience them, even if it means adding a day or two on your trip in order to do so. Cairo, Luxor, and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt all have worthwhile reasons to visit, as do the coastal cities of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Make sure you hit one or more of them in between excursions to the deep.
Looking to couple your getaway under the waves with some profound cultural exploration? Look no further than the crystal clear waters—and ethic treasures—on a Red Sea Diving Safari