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The Straits of Tiran feature the best diving near Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. With four pristine reef systems, deep walls and pelagic species, it’s no wonder divers seek out this piece of paradise.

Diving in The Straits of Tiran

Quick facts

The Straits of Tiran are often sought after by advanced divers in Sharm el-Sheikh. This is due to the fact that the area features strong currents and deeper sites than found elsewhere around the Sinai Peninsula. That doesn’t mean there isn’t also plenty for beginners to explore. Everyone is bound to enjoy the crystal clear visibility and colorful underwater world found in the Straits of Tiran.

There are four coral reefs in a line across the Strait, namely Jackson Reef, Woodhouse Reef, Thomas Reef and Gordon Reef. These were named after the British cartographers who created the first nautical map of the region. Today, divers can enjoy coral reef plateaus teeming with fish and steep wall drop-offs which offer exciting pelagic encounters. In particular hammerhead sharks and the occasional tiger shark arrive on the strong currents that make diving in the Strait a perpetual adventure. A series of wrecks stand on the edges of the reefs as a warning to passing ships. A few of these are within recreational limits and offer a bit of variety to divers in the area.

The Straits of Tiran can only be reached by an hour and a half boat ride from Sharm el-Sheikh. 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 (72°F/22°C) when a 5mm wetsuit may be necessary to dive comfortably. Visibility remains a fairly constant 65 feet (20 meters).

Between the four pristine reefs, fantastic pelagic action and interesting wrecks, you will be spoilt for choice in the Straits of Tiran.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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USD 984Per trip
USD 698Per trip
USD 886Per trip

What to see

The reefs in the Straits of Tiran host some of the best marine life in the region. Orange and purple anthias crowd the water and an abundance of reef fish, including some of the area’s endemics, are a treat for the eyes. Tuna, reef sharks and barracuda patrol the reefs. Jackfish and batfish can be spotted in the blue while grouper and puffer fish shimmer around the reef. On the larger side of things, divers can expect to see turtles, humphead wrasse and a variety of moray eels.

Lucky divers might spot hammerhead sharks or an occasional tiger shark on Jackson Reef between July and September. Although rare, whale sharks can sometimes be seen feeding near the reefs.

Calendar

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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Area

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.

Other attractions

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.

Getting there

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.

UTC+02:00

Time zone

EGP

Currency

+20

Calling code

230 V

Electric volt

C, 

F

Plug type

SSH

Main airport
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