Marsa Alam is the most southern Egyptian Red Sea resort, situated a three – hour drive south of Hurghada on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. It is served by its own airport, situated conveniently just a ten minute drive from Coraya Bay and Port Ghalib where you find the best resort hotels.
Diving is the main activity in Marsa Alam, hardly surprising as there are no less than twenty – five on shore and offshore reefs in the area which are blessed with crystal clear waters and sixty metre visibility. Until recently most diving was arranged on live-aboard boats but now there are very reputable and excellent diving schools in Marsa Alam. Emperor are based in Port Ghalib, taking divers to the best dive sites based on their local knowledge of the area.
Abu Dabbab is one such area, sadly it is usually missed by live-aboard divers. This area of Marsa Alam gives divers a unique opportunity to see the dugong or sea cow in its natural habitat of sea grass. Green turtles also grace this site, a common feature of the Red Sea.
Wadi Lahami is the destination for the Sataya reef where you can expect to see several large pods of spinner dolphins, and some pods can consist of over a hundred members. This is a world – class reef system and it is easy to swim with the dolphins here as the horseshoe – shaped reef is surrounded with sand, at around ten to twenty metres it keeps the dolphins close to the surface.
Swimming with the dolphins at Sataya is an unforgettable experience, and if you are someone forever searching for that perfect photograph this is where you will achieve your goal. The dolphins swim in formation in pods of up to around thirty, and you can hear them squeaking to each other as they interact and communicate with each other.
Marsa Alam offers the rare opportunity for experienced divers to dive with sharks. Emperor Divers offer this – they also have a hundred percent safety record. There are many species of shark in the area including hammerheads, tiger shark, white tips, thresher and other species so you will not be disappointed.
Hamata Islands are just about as far down the Red Sea coast of Marsa Alam as you are permitted to go. They can only be described as the Maldives of the Red Sea, tiny islands with caster sugar white sand beaches just a short distance from the mainland. These pristine islands are protected as a wildlife reserve as wild eagles nest here, and the waters and corals are immaculate.
In the Hamata area everything in the sea seems brighter and bigger than anywhere else. Eagle rays soar through the water, napoleons are the huge beauties you dream about and see in pictures, and moray eels are as wide as you!
The mainland coast at Hamata is fringed with coral and dotted with bedouin beach camps, a great chilled – out place to stay if you have come to dive. Almost all residents will be divers, making the evenings something to look forward to as well. You can share stories, make new friends and get a great atmosphere going around the beach barbecue, creating your own entertainment.
Marsa Alam is a developing resort, and an opportunity not to be missed for every diver. If you are planning a family vacation, the resort hotels of Port Ghalib and Coraya Bay mean you will be able to escape to enjoy your diving without too much fuss from other family members!
Other local activities in those two areas include excellent shopping at Port Ghalib and both horse riding and quad biking both at the Copacabana which is just beside Coraya Bay. The hotels also offer spa facilities, massage, sports and entertainment programmes so there really is something to keep each family member happy. One thing is for sure – if you do come to Marsa Alam and go diving – it is guaranteed be just the first of many future visits.