Dives and Excursions

The Red Sea deserves its reputation as one of the world’s “do not miss” places.


Ras Muhammad is an excellent area to dive among schools of reef sharks, parrotfish and butterflyfish. Of the six main sites in the area, Shark Reef gives you the best ledge in the house to watch massive schools of jacks, batfish and snapper hang out over the wall, while grey reef sharks and
occasionally hammerheads cruise below. Night dives promise adventure, entertainment and world-class photography, even if you are just a novice.

Be ready to encounter rowdy devil firefish that use your night light to hunt and to see life as you have never seen it before.


But there is more to the Red Sea than the yearly pilgrimage to Ras Muhammad:

The Brothers are two tiny islands rising from some 2000m of water, miles from anywhere; The Brothers’ Islands can be reached only during the calm months of summer. A lighthouse built by the British in the 1880’s is the only structure on these forbidding rocks. Underwater you will find luxuriant colonies of soft corals, goldies (Anthias), a wealth of colourful reef fish and an occasional visit from some pelagics, which can range from tuna to manta rays.
These factors alone make The Brothers’ Islands some place special. Two shipwrecks on the northern end complete the picture.



Hurghada’s Abu Nuhas keeps divers captivated with five ship wrecks on one dive site while the Fury Shoal in the far southern end of the Red Sea attracts technical divers, experienced divers and families all together, boasting state-of-the-art hyperbaric chambers and medical centres.

Remember the world-renowned Blue Hole and Canyon dives at the northern end of the Sinai Peninsula; they are at Dahab, a sleepy, hippy village en-route to visit the Saint Catherine’s monastery that holds some 3000-year-old secrets.

Panorama Reef rises up from deep water just south of Safaga. It is a microcosm of everything that makes the Red Sea a great place to dive. The northern end is a sheer wall and fish are everywhere.

But wait, there is more


But wait, there is more; not everyone will agree with these seven choices. Advocates of Abu Nuhas, Carless Reef, Abu Rimata, Elphinstone, Ras um Sid or Zabargad can come up with strong arguments for their favourites.

One thing we all will agree on, is that the Red Sea deserves its reputation as one of the world’s “do not miss” places. No diver’s travels are complete without a visit there.

Diving the Red Sea is wonderful, but that alone is not what entices us to go back time after time. It is the warmth of the people, the starkly beautiful desert scenery and the 5000 years of history set in a living museum that you can touch and feel.


Sleep-over on the mountain


Saint Catherine’s monastery – the guardian of thousands-of –years-old stories about Moses and the burning bush (the Egyptians believe that the only green bush growing on the grounds of the monastery, that never dies, is Moses’ burning bush) carries the heavy burden of touristic exploitation.

However, this is a “must see” before you escape the crowd on the back of a camel, climbing Mount Sinai with your Bedouin guide. Although the real Mount Sinai is said to be across the Red Sea on the Saudi Arabia side, one cannot escape the feeling of surrounding holiness while you wander back down the mountain towards the lights of St. Catherine village, with only the stars to guide you and a pot of Egyptian tea calling your name. I have not done a sleep-over on the mountain, but this can be arranged with the Bedouins as your hosts.

Not too many know about the existence of the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo, the Hanging Church. The Hanging Church (built in 690-92) is located above a gatehouse, called Babylon Fortress, in Old Cairo (also called Coptic Cairo). This Roman fortress was known to be the boundary between Lower and Middle Egypt – the Nile River’s “toll gate”. Christians believe that the Holy Family visited this area, and stayed at the site of Abu Serga, not far from the Hanging Church. Visiting the Hanging Church feels like walking back into the 3rd century.



In 2008 a new layer of mystery cladded Cairo’s Pyramids when scientists proved that the Pyramids were used as functional buildings, to crate static electricity, giving the traveller a new interest in how they were build and why. Guided tours are safe and informative, so make sure you book your Cairo tour with a professional historian, who will transfer you to the world of pharaohs and scary glamour, while wandering through the Egyptian Museum with headphones on. Most professional historians use air conditioned vehicles to guide you through Cairo safely while telling stories as you travel back in time.


The romance and sheer wonder of a Nile cruise holiday can be experienced in supreme luxury for the price of a four star hotel in South Africa. If you have been to Egypt and have not done a Nile cruise between Aswan and Luxor, then you have not really experienced Egypt! So, dare to take an inspiring trip to a fascinating past while enjoying the dazzling present in the luxurious comfort, safety and security of a Nile cruiser. Aswan is the place to buy Egyptian cotton linen such as authentic hand-weaved table cloths and bed throws, while visiting the breath-taking temples and tombs of ancient Egypt. Luxor begs you to stay a little longer to greet the early morning in a hot air balloon.


Ever heard of the White Desert? About 45km north from an unadorned, mud-coloured, traditional Bedouin village of Farafra, lays the national park known as Sahara el Beyda. The main draw to this area is its massive chalk rock formations in snow white and cream colours. A visit to the desert also promises a visit to the hot springs at Bir Sitta, the El-Mufid lake and a night or two in ancient Alexandria to become impressed with places and things you never knew existed.

So, do not think of the Red Sea as just another dive trip.
It is a journey into a different history and culture, every bit as intriguing as the magnificent marine life. Be open to the sights, sounds and tasted of a different world, to the personalities, traditions and legends of an exotic area.
Look beyond your liveaboard, hotel and guided tour – meet the people and accept them for who they are. Your rewards will be every bit as significant as those you discovered beneath the shimmering blue surface of the Red Sea.

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