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Red Sea snorkelling, ship wrecks and reefs

Aside from its ancient civilisation and world-famous pyramids, Egypt's Red Sea Region is one of the country's biggest attractions. Crowds flock here to enjoy some of the world's most unique diving spots, explore intricate coral reefs that teem with marine life and take advantage of the impressive wrecks that adorn the sea floor.

Most hotels provide a jetty if you're keen to discover the underwater reefs for yourself. You'll also find some of the best areas for diving in Makadi Bay, Sahl Hasheesh Bay and Soma Bay.

Finding Nemo at Ras Mohammed National Park

Egypt's first marine national park, Ras Mohammed, is located 12 kilometres from the popular resort of Sharm El Sheikh with the journey time to dive sites averaging an hour.

You'll find over 220 types of coral close to the shoreline here, while more than 1000 species of fish make this a fantastic spot to explore with a snorkel.

Diving opportunities abound at this magical underwater world, with an impressive selection of walls and caves suitable for all abilities. Shark Reef and Jolanda Reef offer beautiful corals, decorated with small species, from comic-looking clownfish to bright yellow seahorses.

Away from the reef, shoals of barracuda, jacks and trevallies travel past with the current, while grey or blacktip reef sharks have been known to make an appearance too. At the end of this dive you'll be met with the Jolanda Wreck – the remains of an old cargo ship.

Explore a WWII ship at SS Thistlegorm

The four-hour journey from Sharm El Sheikh to the SS Thistlegorm dive site will immediately be worth it as you explore one of the best wreck dive sites in the world. This former British transport ship sunk in 1941 after a German air attack, and the impressive 128-metre-long vessel now sits 30 metres below the water's surface.

Surrounded by rifles, motor bikes, train carriages, boots and even a couple of tanks, the wreck is brimming with reef fish, sea turtles, barracuda and gigantic crocodile fish.

Learn to dive in Hurghada

The region of Hurghada is steadily growing in popularity with divers and is now considered a top Red Sea getaway. Many tour operators offer day trips to nearby reefs and islands, including the Giftun Islands where you can observe beautiful coral gardens with a snorkel.

This is a brilliant place to learn to scuba, offering superb visibility, interesting reef life and local wrecks such as the El Mina and Salem Express – both perfect for beginners.

Just north of Hurghada you'll find the Abu Nuhas Reef, offering four wreck dives within close proximity to one another. From a British cargo ship sunk in 1869 to a Greek vessel that hit the reef in 1981, this fairly shallow reef can be explored by everyone from inexperienced divers to experts. You'll find batfish, moray eels, dolphins and an array of reef fish swimming around the area.

Avoid the crowds at Marsa Alam

If you're looking for an untouched reef and pristine beaches away from the crowds of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada, Marsa Alam in the south of the Red Sea, is just the ticket.

Abu Dabbab is the most popular dive site and one of the few places where you can dive with the rare and endangered dugong marine mammal. Suitable for both snorkelling and scuba diving, this shallow bay is also home to a wide array of green sea turtles.

Another reef found here is Dolphin House, an offshore reef with a lagoon that is home to a pod of spinner dolphins. For those more experienced divers, the famous Elphinstone Reef lets visitors share the water with hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks, manta rays and dolphins.

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