< Back

Contact us

Our scuba travel experts are available 24/7 to assist you in planning and booking a fantastic scuba diving vacation

Home to famous and eerie wrecks, protected coral gardens and a wide range of marine life, uncrowded Makadi Bay and Safaga are ideal for divers wishing to explore everything the Red Sea has to offer.

Diving in Safaga & Makadi Bay

Quick facts

Safaga and Makadi Bay constitute the third most popular scuba diving area in Egypt after Hurghada and Sharm al-Sheikh. Divers here are rewarded by shallow reefs, coral gardens and steep walls. Several controversial wrecks add intrigue to this Red Sea dive resort.

Makadi Bay is often overlooked in favor of nearby Safaga or Hurghada, but it is a worthwhile dive destination in its own right. Commonly referred to as the house reef, Ras Abu Soma is located just south of Makadi Bay and divided into two separate areas. The north side features a max depth of 75 feet (25 meters) and ends with a drop-off from the plateau, meaning there is some possibility for a deeper dive. There are also a few caves along this wall. To the south of Ras Abu Soma, the sandy plateau gradually slopes down to 100 feet (30 meters) and is a great area for beginners and advanced divers. Here divers often catch a glimpse of reef sharks. To the north of Makadi Bay, a secondary dive area exists, called Abu Ramada South. This area has a good range of corals and a better variety of marine life.

Safaga, just south of Makadi Bay, is home to a variety of wrecks owing to its large and busy port. The area was made famous by the tragic sinking of the Salem Express. In the early 90s, this ferry sank carrying hundreds of pilgrims returning from Mecca. There was a great loss of life so divers are asked to respect this. Penetration of most of the wreck is forbidden. However controversial this dive site may be, many divers consider it one of the best wreck dives in the world. In addition to this famous dive site, Safaga is home to many other wrecks and fantastic coral reefs including the Seven Pillars and Panorama Reef.

Most diving in the area is completed from a boat although some resorts feature shore diving facilities. Diving season is year-round. This part of Egypt experiences warm winters and very hot summers, however water temperatures can vary significantly in the Red Sea. Expect the warmest water temperatures to occur in August with an average of 82°F (28°C). The coolest water temperatures are recorded in February when a 5mm wetsuit may be necessary to dive comfortably. Visibility remains a fairly constant 70 feet (22 meters).

Between the colorful coral gardens, the variety of marine life and eerie wrecks, divers in Makadi Bay and Safaga will leave with plenty of dive stories to tell for years to come.

When to go

Rain and temperature

Click to expand

Water temperature

Click to expand
USD 760Per trip
USD 840Per trip

What to see

You can expect to see a wide range of colorful corals and sponges as well as plenty of reef fish around Safaga and Makadi Bay. Crocodilefish, blue-spotted rays, trumpetfish, napoleon fish, clownfish, and humphead wrasse are regularly seen. Early divers might be rewarded with a turtle. Certain sites are famous for their reef sharks and the lucky few might see a hammerhead. Barracuda, tuna and mackerel can regularly be seen patrolling the area’s wrecks. Stonefish, mothfish and lionfish hide among the corals. Pipefish and nudibranchs are plentiful for macro-lovers and vigilant divers might also identify a stargazer or frogfish.


For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


Located just south of Hurghada on the Red Sea, both Makadi Bay and Safaga offer a plethora of diving opportunities. The areas are in contrast to each other. Safaga is a bustling port city with a traditional way of life. Makadi Bay, which is a bit further north from Safaga, is a sleepy bay with a few hotels. Both areas are growing significantly as the tourist trade arrives but still do not offer the variety of topside attractions that one might find in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. Relaxation is the name of the game here and visitors flock to the area in order to escape other busy and touristy areas of Egypt.

Safaga itself can be split into three areas. To the north, resorts stretch out along the beach. A few kilometers further south, one will find the new town which is comprised of the mosque, some shops and the new marina. Just south of this area, the old town contains local shops and an industrial port.

Makadi Bay, to the north of Safaga, is not often including in dive boat itineraries but ought to be. The town consists of little more than a few hotels and dive shops. However, the area’s coral reefs were declared as a protected area in the 1990s and have since become an incredibly biodiverse area.

With a wide array of uncrowded dive sites, Safaga and Makadi Bay should be considered by anyone looking for a Red Sea diving vacation.

Other attractions

Safaga and Makadi Bay are built around diving and relaxation so topside attractions are few. Non-diving water sports available in the area include sailing, windsurfing and sea kayaking. For those wishing to explore a bit of Egypt, Luxor, the Giftun Island National Park and the ancient monasteries of St. Paul and St. Anthony make fascinating day trips. Whether you choose to spend your time topside or under the water, you are guaranteed an idyllic vacation in Safaga and Makadi Bay.

Getting there

Most visitors reach Makadi Bay and Safaga via the Hurghada International Airport, which is approximately a 45-minute drive to the north. For those arriving via Cairo, a seven hour bus journey is necessary to reach this dive area.

Once in Hurghada, resort transfers, taxis and local buses allow visitors to move around.


Time zone




Calling code

220 V

Electric volt



Plug type


Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

Save that favourite

With a PADI Travel account, you can favourite dive operators to come back to later on any device or computer

Log in or sign up