Originally posted on October 23, 2019 @ 10:33 am
If you want to experience the stunning underwater world of Sharm El Sheikh snorkeling, this guide is for you.
Not all of the beaches provide a great snorkeling experience, and some sites can only be reached by boat.
I’m a German expat and scuba diver and I’ve been living in Sinai since 2016.
I’m sure I can provide you with some great tips and advice that will make your snorkeling holiday in Sharm El-Sheikh a fantastic one.
Besides listing all of the best Sharm El Sheikh snorkeling spots, I will also help you with some snorkeling equipment advice as well as some rules on how to act responsibly underwater and snorkel safely.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
The correct behavior underwater
Many people who are new to the underwater world are not aware of the impact they have on marine life, so I’d like to take a minute to explain.
There are a few things you should know about how to behave underwater in order not to harm the marine life and corals.
I didn’t know most of this before I became a scuba diver and moved to Egypt.
As you can see in the photo, I try to pick up any plastic I find underwater – would be great for you to do the same!
There’s no shame in not knowing, but once you do know, please make sure you really follow this advice.
We all want to enjoy the Red Sea underwater world as long as possible so we all need to contribute to its health.
- Don’t walk on the reef table. The corals are alive and are harmed by walking on them. It may also be dangerous for you as you might step on sea urchins or similar dangerous things.
- Don’t touch ANYTHING underwater. Whether it’s corals or fish or anything else. Watch, but don’t touch.
- Only go in the water with reef-safe sunscreen. Regular sunscreen harms corals. You can see a recommended product in my equipment recommendations. Yes, it is more expensive than regular sunscreen, but it’s not only better for your skin thanks to less (or no) chemicals, you also have a clear conscience and know that you’re not contributing to destroying the environment.
- If you see bigger sea creatures like turtles or dolphins, which happens a lot around the waters of Sharm El Sheikh, don’t chase them. Admire them from a distance and be respectful, you’re a guest in their “house”, not the other way around.
- Never ever feed the fish. Over time, they become dependent on humans and forget how to feed themselves which has detrimental effects on the biological balance of the system.
The Best Sharm El Sheikh Snorkeling Spots
Now that we’ve established some ground rules and know how to be respectful visitors of the underwater world, let’s get to the fun part.
Where are the best snorkeling spots in and around Sharm El-Sheikh?
Snorkeling the Straits of Tiran
The straits of Tiran consist of 4 reefs and make for some of the most amazing snorkeling in the entire Red Sea.
They absolutely burst with life and have stunning coral gardens. You don’t even know where to look first.
Beware of the currents though, they can get quite strong. Always follow the instructions of your guides.
- Gordon Reef:
Gordon Reef is the most southerly of the 4 reefs.
From the surface, you can see it easily because this is where the wreck of Lovilla sunk and you see parts of the remains.
Gordon Reef teems with hard and soft corals and rich fauna. Fire corals are common as well here though, so pay attention not to accidentally touch them.
- Jackson Reef:
Similar to Gordon Reef, Jackson Reef is landmarked by a wreck – the cargo ship Lara which sunk here in 1985.
Jackson is one of the best dive sites in the entire world, and you will notice this instantly even if you’re just snorkeling.
It’s a fantastic site to spot pelagic predators (like white tip reef sharks and hammerheads) and majestic sea turtles. Like in all snorkeling sites of Tiran, be aware of strong currents and fire corals here as well.
- Laguna Reef:
Laguna is the calmest and most sheltered place in the Straits of Tiran which is perfect if you’re a beginner snorkeler as the currents in the Red Sea can get quite rough sometimes.
It’s a great place for your boat to stop for lunch and admire the azure waters.
Expect to see colorful hard and soft corals as well as plenty of reef fish under the surface.
Sharm El-Sheikh: Snorkeling at Ras Nasrani
Unlike most other snorkeling spots, this site can be reached by land.
The long, beautiful beach about 10km north of Na’ama Bay is a perfect spot to spend the day and dip in the water every now and then.
You will see colonies of massive pore coral heads and Tridacna shells cluster in huge numbers here.
With plenty of reef fish around, you might also get lucky and spot some larger predators.
Take care of the currents which tend to flow in the direction of the headland where they often gather momentum.
Snorkeling at Far Garden
Located at the northernmost tip of a large bay where the Hyatt hotel is situated, this snorkeling spot is another great one to explore without having to go on an all-day boat trip.
Four large pinnacles just break the surface a few metres from the reef. The abundance of hard corals really earns this spot the name “garden”.
You will see no less than 30 species of hard and soft corals which attract huge schools of multicolored reef fish.
You might very well be completely surrounded by anthias, fusiliers, or sergeant majors at times.
Snorkeling at Near Garden
Between the Sofitel and the Hyatt hotel just north of Na’ama Bay lies Near Garden, one of the busiest sites for snorkelers.
There are often lots of glass-bottom boats which you should be careful to avoid.
Just a few minutes by boat and you arrive at this snorkeling spot which expects you with a myriad of hard and soft corals on the sandy bottom.
By the tip of the reef, you’ll find a series of 4 pinnacles running in a downwards sloping line that looks like an underwater ridge.
At Near Garden, you will encounter napoleonfish, trigger fish, butterfly fish and the occasional eagle ray. Look out for blue-spotted stingrays on the sandy plateu as well!
Snorkeling at Ras Umm Sid
Ras Umm Sid is the most famous local dive site in Sharm and a paradise for snorkelers like you as well.
It’s renowned for the extraordinary fan coral forest which only starts at around 15 meters, unfortunately, so you will have to admire those from pictures.
Or maybe it’s time to finally do your scuba diving course? 🙂
Either way, Ras Umm Sid will be more than enjoyable with just a mask and fins as well.
Expect to be blown away by the extremely vibrant reef. You’ll probably see big schools of butterfly fish close to the reef, and parrot fish, lionfish, moray eels, schools of anthias and some big Napoleon fish.
Every once in a while you might even spot a shark. Most likely you get to see barracudas, snappers, and jacks, too.
Snorkeling at Ras Mohammed National Park
The national park of Ras Mohammed is extra-well taken care of environmentally and therefore offers some of the best Sharm El Sheikh snorkeling spots.
There are 3 sites within this stunning area that are great for you to explore while snorkeling:
- Marsa Ghozlani:
This one is definitely a favorite site of snorkelers as it’s easy to moor up and well protected from rough sea conditions.
It’s also accessible by land from within the national park, a glorious beach lets you enter the magnificent underwater world here.
Marsa Ghozlani features a reef brimming with hard corals. Surgeonfish roam around the reef plateau leading to a gentle slope that descends to around 4-5 meters.
- Ras Ghozlani:
The dive and snorkeling site of Ras Ghozlani is a predominantly sandy area with stunning coral heads, stingrays, torpedo rays and butterflyfish.
It’s rather rarely visited and therefore particularly interesting for both the excellently preserved madrepores and the rich reef fauna.
You may explore the external and internal sides of the cape. On the eastern side, you’ll see many large table corals and blue-spotted stingrays resting on the floor.
- Jackfish Alley:
Jackfish Alley is famous for its underwater landscape brimming with life.
The name Jackfish Alley is owed to the sandy “road” at a depth of about 20 meters at the foot of the reef wall, where plenty of jackfish live.
You can snorkel just a few meters from the reef and explore the vibrant underwater scenery that includes a beautiful coral garden as well as plenty of spy reef fish and lionfish living in caves that come out to hunt in the afternoon.
You’ll also most likely see blue-spotted stingrays and, if you’re lucky, the occasional manta ray.
I hope my Sharm El Sheikh snorkeling guide was helpful for you.
If you are thinking about doing your scuba diving certification, you should also check out my scuba diving guide to Sharm El-Sheikh to find out which are the best dive sites in the area, what’s the best time to go scuba diving, dive centre recommendations, etc.
You should also do a day-trip to Dahab, a small Bedouin village that isn’t as touristy as Sharm. It has a very unique flair and you can easily go snorkeling from the shore there.
Dahab has some amazing dive and snorkel sites, including the famous Blue Hole.
Pin your Sharm El-Sheikh Snorkeling Guide for later:
If you’re traveling to Egypt, be sure you make the most of your trip by reading my other articles. I’ve been based here since 2016 and learned a lot that will help you 🙂
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