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Liveaboard Diving in the Red Sea

From famous wrecks to hammerhead sharks, the Red Sea has an adventure for every interest, but infrastructure makes this diving hotspot best accessed by liveaboard.

Middle East & Red Sea liveaboards

Stretching out between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the Red Sea holds hundreds of epic dive sites beneath its depths. From famous wrecks such as the SS Thistlegorm or the Umbria to the healthy coral reefs of Ras Mohammed Marine Reserve and the pelagic hotspot known as Angarosh, the Red Sea has long held the fascination of underwater explorers. In fact, Jacque Cousteau picked Sudan to be the home of his Conshelf experiment. However, due to a lack of scuba diving infrastructure in remote sections of Egypt and Sudan, the Red Sea is best traveled by liveaboard. Most of the liveaboard cruises in the Red Sea last between 6 and 10 nights. Diviac offers more than 40 liveaboards departing from Egypt and 4 liveaboards departing from Sudan for online booking. Most of the liveaboards in the Red Sea are budget-friendly yet adhere to a standard of luxury. All of the dive safari ships in the Red Sea are motor-powered, offering a smooth and quiet ride. A few of the most popular dive safaris in Egypt include the MY Seven7Seas, the MY Grand Sea Serpent, the MV Emperor Superior and the Lighthouse Miracle I. On the other hand, the Cassiopeia, the MY Seawolf-Dominator and the Don Questo travers the Red Sea of Sudan.

61 liveaboards in Middle East & Red Sea

USD 1,427Per trip
USD 799Per trip
USD 999Per trip
USD 1,165Per trip
See all 61 liveaboards

Diving in the Red Sea

Quick facts

Scuba divers might choose to travel to the Red Sea for any number of reasons, but chief among them are intact shipwrecks, shoals of sharks and colorful coral reefs. Apart from reef sharks, oceanic whitetips, hammerheads, tigers and thresher sharks can also be encountered throughout the region. Whale sharks, manatees and dolphins may also surprise lucky divers. The reef life is also breathtaking. There are more than 800 species of fish. At least 10% of these species are endemic to the Red Sea. From Egypt to Sudan, a variety of underwater environments greet scuba divers. Sheer walls, shallow reefs, pinnacles and open ocean drifts are common, but most popular are the shipwrecks. Several are located at depths only tec divers can reach, but others sit within recreational limits. Both the Thistlegorm and the Umbria represent accessible World War II wrecks. Keep in mind that the Red Sea is a highly salinated body of water. You may need to wear less weight than usual. While diving in the Red Sea can be suitable to all levels, many liveaboards may require an advanced, tec or wreck diver certification.

BEST TIME TO GO

March to May

The best time to dive in the Red Sea is from March to May or September to November. However, the Red Sea can be dived by liveaboard year-round, and the best time to dive this Middle Eastern region is a matter of personal preference. December to February is the winter around the Red Sea. During these months, the water is quite cold, dipping to 72˚F (22˚C) in Egypt. Keep in mind that temperatures in Sudan are normally one or two degrees higher both above and below the water. However, during the winter months, you’ll have the best chance at spotting an oceanic whitetip shark in Egypt or hammerhead sharks in Sudan. December to February also boasts the best visibility in the Red Sea. Finally, the winter months represent the windy season, meaning that surface conditions may become quite rough, particularly in northern Egypt. March to May are the spring months in the Red Sea. At this time, the air and water temperatures are both moderately warm, offering a fantastic balance. This is also the best time to see a whale shark, particularly in the northern section of the Red Sea. However, March to May is high season for diving in the Red Sea, so expect some dive sites to be crowded. June to August are the low season for the Red Sea. Air temperatures reach uncomfortable levels for outside activity. But, the warmer temperatures force hammerhead sharks further north into Egyptian waters. June to September are the best months to swim with these predators in the north section of the Red Sea. The summer months are also your best bet for snagging great liveaboard deals. Finally, September to November is the autumn season in the Red Sea. Again, air and sea temperatures balance for comfort above and below the surface. These three months are also the best time to spot thresher sharks throughout Sudanese and Egyptian waters. The autumn is also the best time for manta rays in Sudan. Much like the spring months, liveaboards in the Red Sea can be crowded at this time.

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How to Get to the Red Sea

Liveaboards to the Red Sea leave from either Egypt or Sudan. There are four ports of departure for liveaboards in Egypt. These are Marsa Alam, Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh and Safaga Port. The main port of departure for liveaboards in Sudan is Port Sudan. Most dive safari crews will arrange for roundtrip transfers from the airport for your convenience. The four departure ports in Egypt are serviced by three airports, namely Hurghada International, Sharm El Sheikh International and Marsa Alam International. The closest airport to Port Sudan is Port Sudan New International Airport. You may find direct flights to any of these airports from Europe, but it is generally more convenient to fly into either Cairo or Khartoum and then transfer to the liveaboard ports by domestic flight.
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