Not too long ago, I returned from my very first trip to Egypt. The Red Sea’s crystal clear blue water, pods of dolphins, and stunning shallow coral formations that explode like a confetti cannon of orange anthias had been on my bucket list for years, I just hadn’t had the opportunity, yet. That all changed though as I assisted Duxy as he ran our last Egypt Snorkeling Safari for the year. As I’m still buzzing from the jaw-dropping experiences in and out of the water, I wanted to share some of my first impressions of the snorkeling tour and country.
Egypt is Hot & Dry
As Egypt is home to the largest desert in the world, the Sahara, the temperatures there can range from “Oh wow it’s hot out” to “My shoes are melting.” I kid, I kid! It actually looks hotter than it is as the surrounding landscape is nothing but sand dunes and arid mountains. We schedule our tours for the spring and fall months when the daily temperatures average 90°F, which is comfortable with the ever-present breeze from the north. Water temperatures will average in the high seventies to low eighties in the Spring, while they will be more of a steady mid-eighties during our Fall snorkeling safaris in Egypt.
Reefs are Shallow!
The southern Red Sea is far better than I could have ever expected for snorkeling. In three weeks of liveaboard and resort snorkeling, we never ran out of shallow reefs. From the reefs that fringe the shoreline to the attol-like coral blocks that jut up from the sea floor for hundreds of yards in either direction, there did not appear to be any shortage of stunning shallow coral reefs.
Fish are Friendly
Who knows why, but the reef fish in Egypt, which are typically very shy in other parts of the world, were far more amenable when it came to getting up close with them for photos. Blue-spotted stingrays, leopard blennies, and most of the butterfly fish would casually just rest on their coral branch or hang out as guests dived down to them for a closer look or photo.
Dolphins on the Regular
One of the big bucket list items for me in visiting Egypt was the predictability of encounters with pods of spinner dolphins. For encounters with dolphins, it is about as predictable as sunny days in Egypt. There are a few sites you can visit, like Dolphin House or Dolphin Reef, where dolphins come into to rest and relax after a night of hunting. As these sites have been visited for years and years by snorkelers, the dolphins have been well-habituated to snorkelers and actually seem to seek out our company!