Marine Parks in Sinai

 

 

 

Sinai Peninsula Marine Parks

Fee charging parks:

Big Giftun Islands

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 12.8 sq km
Entry fee: 20L.E pp per day

Small Giftun Islands

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 3.8 sq km
Entry fee: 20L.E pp per day

Famous dive sites in this area include the Gorgonian Garden (also known as the Police Station), Banana Reef, Erg Somaya, Turtle Bay, Torfa Ben El Gebel, and El Fanous. In 2000, the government began to collect the 20L.E fees through dive centres, and this, combined with the restriction on the number of boats in the area, has ensured the beauty of the area will continue for many years to come.

The Mahmya ‘road house’ for snorkellers on Big Giftun.

Ras Mohammed

Marine Protectorate since: 1983
Area: 850 sq km
Entry fee: US$5pp per day

One of the most well-known marine parks of the Red Sea, Ras Mohammed (located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula) has always held great significance. Its location linking Europe to the east and further along to Mecca meant historically it was fought over and controlled by the ancient Egyptians, the Arabs and then the Ottomans.

It is said the name ‘Ras Mohammed’ is based on a cliff in the park that bears resemblance to the Prophet Mohammed.

 

This national park is important because of visiting migratory soaring birds – in fact, almost all of the world’s white storks pass through the park. It is also home to the northernmost mangroves in the world.

The Brother Islands (Al Akhawein)

Big Brother Island

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.05 sq km
Entry fee: US$5pp per day

 

Little Brother Island

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.021 sq km
Entry fee: US$5pp per day

These two isolated, volcanic islands – Big Brother and Little Brother – lie so low they could easily be missed if not for the lighthouse, standing at 32 metres in height. Only 1km apart, you can find them sitting south east of Safaga. Big Brother Island is under 500 metres long, and is 100 metres wide – while Little Brother is even smaller.

The location, wind and swell conditions of these islands can make diving difficult, especially from October to April during the winter months. As such they are for experienced divers only (who have completed over 50 dives), and the conditions are demanding but very rewarding.

The harsh, dry appearance of the islands themselves belies the wealth that lives below the surface. Groups of barracuda, dogtooth tuna and trevally are chased by sharks; manta rays glide softly through the waters; butterfly fish and reef groupers dart in and around the soft coral; and steep drop-offs add to the drama of this underwater world.

Big Brother Island

In 1957, the Aida was delivering supplies to the lighthouse when she hit the reef and sank, just off Big Brother. She now clings to the reef wall, and hits 65 metres at the deepest point. Meanwhile, nearby Numidia (image) rests on the reef, with debris starting at 8 meters and hitting 85 meters at the deepest point. While the two wrecks are close and therefore can be combined in a day, we recommend you take more time to explore, to not miss out on the other wonders this area offers.

Additionally, to the east and west sides of the island you will find sheer underwater walls, perfect for drift dives when the current is running. Ravines run down the side, and its overhangs are fun for exploring. The old jetty can be seen on the south-west wall.

Little Brother Island

As Little Brother is smaller, it features a slightly smaller reef too – but with some truly beautiful marine life. Gorgonian forests drift gently in the current, alongside walls of stunning soft coral. The shallows of the west side features overhangs and small caves, which are perfect to explore. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera, as photographic opportunities here are endless.

The last attraction not to be missed is the ‘cleaning station’. Head north along the small plateau until you reach a small bump where grey reef sharks and thresher sharks (right) come to get a brush up. If you’re lucky, hammerhead sharks may also pass by.  

Daedalus Reef Marine Park (Abu Kizan)

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.418 sq km
Entry fee: US$5pp per day

This marine park is one of the best places for spotting sharks. An unassuming island, it is located 180km south of the Brother Islands, and is given away by its lighthouse. The reef itself is around 800 metres long and is almost circular in shape. From May to July, large scores of female scalloped hammerheads visit the area, and grey reef sharks, silkies, threshers and longimanus are also regular visitors. Whale sharks and manta rays have also been spotted from time to time.

Be sure to visit Anemone City, packed with fish and colourful anemone in the north-east corner. Here you’ll also find a spectacular canyon filled with mountain coral, cascading down the side of the wall down to 25 metres.

 

As the reef is 800 metres in width and around 1km in depth, there is plenty to discover. Plus, there is always one sheltered side because of the reef’s shape, so you can adapt to the sea’s conditions. Be aware there is still always a chance dives can be called off due to safety reasons.

Zabargad Island Marine Park

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 4.976 sq km
Entry fee: US$5pp per day

This uninhabited island was once mined for its precious green olivine. Nowadays it is more well-known as an important breeding site for green turtles, with more than 2,000 nests on the island. Underwater there are a few wrecks including the Khanka, a Russian spy ship, as well as coral pinnacles that provide interesting opportunities to swim through and explore.

Rocky Island Marine Park

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.176 sq km
Entry fee: US$5pp per day

Only 5km south-east of Zabargad, Rocky Island features steep walls leading to an abyss. Here you will find hammerhead sharks, Napoleon wrasse and large groupers. Coral fares less well here, but if you head to the eastern side there is an open plateau with coral blocks. For the more technically advanced divers, the Maiden wreck sits deep below the surface.

 

Non-fee charging parks:

Qeisum Island

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 9.7 sq km

Tawila Island

Marine Protectorate since: 2006
Area: 19.2 sq km

Although not used much for diving, this area is perfect for snorkelling, followed by a walk around the island and a barbecue dinner.

Big Siyoul Island

Marine Protectorate since: 2006
Area: 0.14 sq km

Big Siyoul’s main dives site are Ras Siyoul, famous for its zebra sharks, and Siyoul Gilwa, which extends for almost the entire length of the reef.

 

Small Siyoul Islands

Marine Protectorate since: 2006
Area: 0.01 sq km

Um Gammar Island

Marine Protectorate since: 2006
Area: 0.03 sq km

Meaning ‘Mother of the Moon’, Um Gammar offers numerous dive sites, with a cave in the south-east corner, at a depth of 30 metres. The dive along the north plateau is excellent.

El Fanadeer reef

Marine Protectorate since: 2006
Area: 3.6 sq km 

Located in the Hurghada area, this is the longest reef of the region not attached to the mainland or an island. Due to its diverse and excellent marine life, it is one of the best dive sites in the area, even though the underwater topography is relatively bland.

Abu Ramada Island

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.25 sq km

This island is classic in its underwater design. To the north is a stunning plateau, to the east a sheer wall, a terraced and sloping landscape in the south, and to the west a Red Sea shelf.

Abu Minkar Island

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 1.44 sq km

Sitting to the west of the Giftun Islands, Abu Minkar is more suited to snorkellers and glass-bottom boat trips than dives. 

Magawish Islands

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.81 sq km

There are two islands here – Big Magawish and Small Magawish, both of which are mainly visited by glass-bottom boats and snorkellers, rather than divers. There is also the Magawish Resort in Hurghada, which sits beside the longest unbroken beach in the town.

 

Sahl Hashish Island

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.05 sq km

This long reef system has many dive sites, with pinnacles supporting rich marine life and lush sea grass. This is where the island got its name.

Tobia Island

Marine Protectorate since: 1986
Area: 0.15 sq km

This area is popular, especially for the night dive in Tobia Arba. Located to the south of Abu Soba, snorkel boats often stop here.

Wadi Gamal Island

Marine Protectorate since: 2003
Area: 2.3 sq km

 

 

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Sunny. Warm.

Sunny. Warm.

30 °C

86 °F

Humidity 38%
Wind 16Kph

Thu

Sunny. Warm.

30 °C

86 °F

Fri

Sunny. Warm.

30 °C

86 °F

Sat

Sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Sun

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Mon

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Tue

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Cairo, Egypt

Mostly sunny. Warm.

Mostly sunny. Warm.

31 °C

88 °F

Humidity 37%
Wind 19Kph

Thu

Sunny. Warm.

30 °C

86 °F

Fri

Mostly sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Sat

Mostly sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Sun

Mostly sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Mon

Mostly sunny. Pleasantly warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Tue

Mostly sunny. Pleasantly warm.

30 °C

86 °F

Hurghada, Egypt

Sunny. Warm.

Sunny. Warm.

30 °C

86 °F

Humidity 44%
Wind 18Kph

Thu

Sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Fri

Sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Sat

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Sun

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Mon

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Tue

Sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Marsa Alam Intl, Egypt

Sunny. Warm.

Sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Humidity 49%
Wind 16Kph

Thu

Sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Fri

Sunny. Warm.

29 °C

84 °F

Sat

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Sun

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Mon

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Tue

Sunny. Warm.

28 °C

82 °F

Luxor, Egypt

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

33 °C

91 °F

Humidity 31%
Wind 5Kph

Thu

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

33 °C

91 °F

Fri

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

33 °C

91 °F

Sat

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

32 °C

90 °F

Sun

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

31 °C

88 °F

Mon

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

31 °C

88 °F

Tue

Sunny. Pleasantly warm.

31 °C

88 °F

Sharmdirect.com

All information and top tips, on marine parks that are found in the South Sinai areas, you can also check out what birds you can see during your visits to these parks.

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