The Straits of Tiran, also known as the Strait of Tiran, are located at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba between the Sinai Peninsula and the Islands of Tiran and Sanafir. Here the Gulf narrows to approximated 2.5 miles (3.9 kilometers) and becomes significantly shallower, from 4233 feet (1270 meters) to 830 feet (250 meters). Ships entering and exiting the Gulf have to dodge the four coral reefs by using either the Grafton Passage (going north) or the Enterprise Passage (going south).
Historically, control of the Straits of Tiran has been of importance. Jordan and Israel’s only access to the Red Sea comes via the Gulf of Aqaba and it is said that 90% of those countries’ oil comes through the Straits of Tiran. As such, it’s unsurprising that Egypt used control of the Straits to their advantage during previous conflicts in the region.
Recently the Straits of Tiran have mostly been left in peace, but legends still surround this mysterious area. For example, it is said that many years ago, a Saudi princess named Sanafir fell in love with a man, Tiran. Her disapproving father found out and banished them to separate lands. Tiran valiantly attempted to swim to his love, but was eaten by sharks before he could make it across. The islands have now taken the names of these lovers as there own. It is also said that the Strait of Tiran is possibly the spot where Moses parted the Red Sea.
Many divers in the Red Sea visit the Straits of Tiran either on day trips or liveaboards. For advanced divers looking for adventure in Sharm el-Sheikh, this is certainly a must-dive destination.
Most divers will base themselves on the Sinai Peninsula near Sharm el-Sheikh. Here, visitors will find a thriving resort scene brimming with stunning beaches and sparkling seas. All of the quintessential beach holiday activities are available including jet-skiing, snorkeling and shopping. Go-karting, quad bikes and camel or horse safaris into the desert provide entertainment for the more adventurous. Further afield, tourists may wish to take trips to Luxor, Alexandria or Cairo during their stay in Egypt or venture into Jordan to visit Petra and the Dead Sea.
Most visitors who wish to dive the Straits of Tiran enter through Sharm el-Sheikh Airport and stay in the city of the same name. The airport welcomes daily flights from around the world as well as commuter flights from Cairo.
Divers may wish to consider a North Red Sea liveaboard rather than taking a day trip from Sharm el-Sheikh. The boat trip from Sharm el-Sheikh takes 1 1/2 hours.