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Diving Holidays to Hurghada, Red Sea: An Introduction

dolphins red sea'Al Ghardaka' in Arabic was named after the cactus plant 'Al Ghardak', planted profusely in the region to serve as shelter from the baking sun. In the 19th century, fishing boats would sail between the two ends of the Red Sea basin on expeditions lasting several months, effectively offering free migration between Africa and Asia. Today the inhabitants of the land between Hurghada and the southern coast of Sudan have many characteristics in common with the coastal populations of Saudi Arabia and the Yemen. Their language and dialects are similar, and they give the same names to some endemic marine species. In recent years Hurghada has developed into a buzzing holiday resort, offering sunshine for most of the year and easy access from most European capitals. It is also the gateway to the remote reefs of the southern Red Sea and the historical town of Luxor - home to many of Egypt's antiquities.

red sea divers

 
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Hurghada Diving centre, Red Sea

Diving World dive centreDiving World Hurghada is one of the first diving centres to appear in the Egyptian Red Sea. It has been operating since 1985 and has won an international reputation. The actual site of the Centre is one of the best in Hurghada, situated on the headland facing the Island of Giftun, with an excellent berth in easy reach of the most interesting underwater diving areas. A free transport service is offered to guests to take them to and from their hotels to the Diving Centre.

divers in red seaTHE CENTRE AND ITS SERVICES
A wide terrace over looking the sea, and connected to the dock for the exclusive use of our clients, paves the way to the more operative side of the organisation: the reception, administrative offices, classrooms, equipment stores, rest rooms and boutiques. The rinsing pool and the lockers reserved for our clients' personal equipment are situated at the back of the complex. The Neptune Bar where you can meet with other divers after a day out at sea is yet another of our Centre's facilities, not to mention the beautiful beach that stretches along side the Centre providing a perfect location for beginners who prefer a more gentle introduction to underwater diving.

daily diving red seaDAILY DIVES

The boats leave the dock every morning in the direction of the most interesting underwater diving areas that are situated, for the greater part, at distances of 50 minutes or an hour and a half sailing. Two guided underwater diving expeditions are programmed during the outing, with a break between them for lunch on board boat. Non divers can also take part in the expeditions and snorkel along the beautiful barrier reefs.

DAILY OUTINGS TO THE WRECKS AND MINI-CRUISES

Underwater diving expeditions are provided to explore the wrecks of Abu Nuhas, the Salem Express and the Thistlegorm. A mini-cruise involving one or two nights can be arranged to the Thistlegorm.

UNDER WATER DIVING COURSES

The Under water Diving School is one of the most famous in Hurghada. Diving World is a five star P.A.D.I. organisation.

There are courses at all levels from Open Water Diver to Divemaster, including speciality courses where internationally recognised licenses are awarded. The Diving instructors are all multi-lingual and speak French, English, Italian, German,

Spanish and Arabic. The courses include a theoretical part which is taught in classrooms and involves video tapes, and a more practical side with lessons in both specially equipped pools and out at sea.

NIGHT DIVES
Night diving expeditions are organised once a week. Boarding takes place at sunset and the return is arranged for immediately after the diving expedition in time for dinner.

nitrox divingRENT AND REPAIR OF UNDERWATER DIVING EQUIPMENT
The Centre provides markers, snorkels, computers, wet suits, masks and flippers for rent. It is also provides a laboratory where equipment can be taken for repair.

RENT AND SALE OF PHOTO-VIDEO MATERIAL

Diving World uses services provided by Focus, an organisation specialised in the rent and sale of photo and video material. All materials should be booked the evening before requirement to ensure complete satisfaction. Personalised videos of your
underwater diving exploits can be ordered, expertly edited and with a sound track of your choice.

 
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Diving accommodation in Hurghada, Red Sea


hurghada safir hotelSAFIR HOTEL
                                   
The Safir is a modest beach front hotel facing the Hurghada channel and Islands of Giftun.

This is a comfortable and attractive mid-size hotel with easy access to both our diving centre and the downtown Hurghada nightlife and shops. All rooms are air-conditioned and have ensuite facilities, each with a small balcony overlooking a large palm fringed swimming pool and the sea. The Safir offers excellent value for money and is a favourite for those looking for 4 star comfort at budget prices.

Facilities
130 well appointed air-conditioned rooms with twin or double beds, telephone, satellite TV, mini-bar and bath/shower.
- 2 Restaurants and a panoramic snack bar
- Bars
- Swimming pool with bar service
- Beach
- Aqua activities centre with small marina
- Billiards room
- Table tennis
- Shops

red sea marriottMARRIOTT BEACH                          
Next door to Diving World is the Marriott, this is a luxury property with its own beach and a private island connected to the hotel by a bridge. Other facilities include International and Italian restaurants, Poolside Bar and The Patio (both serve light meals), Sunset Lounge and the Island Bar (restricted operation Dec-Feb), pools, spa and fitness centre, gym, tennis and squash courts, watersports from the hotel's beach including snorkelling, windsurfing, water-skiing and catamaran sailing. A first class resort hotel with wide ranging facilities offering sophistication, comfort and convenience.

Facilities
283 rooms including 6 superb suites on 6 floors all with air-conditioning, sea view balcony, en suite bathroom, mini-bar, and satellite TV, IDD telephone.
- International and Italian Restaurants
- Poolside Bar and Patio
- Sunset Lounge and Island Bar
- Pools, Spa and Fitness Centre
- Gym, Tennis and Squash Courts
- Watersports, Windsurfing
- Snorkelling
- Water Skiing and Catamaran Sailing

red sea hotels la perlaLA PERLA            
Very popular with those looking for quality on a modest budget. Only five minutes from the beach but with its own freshwater pool, La Perla is a stylish hotel with good cuisine and well appointed rooms. The building is centred around the courtyard and pool area.Facilities
66 air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms, mini-bar, balcony and satellite TV.
- Le Balcon bar
- Oriental Cafe
- Gigi's Cafe
- The Little Mermaid restaurant
- 24 hour room service
- Bakery
- Laundry Service
- Games room
- Disco
- Swimming Pool
- Sun Terrace

red sea accommodation sofitelSOFITEL                                   
Situated in huge grounds with beautiful gardens, this fully self-contained, moorish-style complex is a first-class beach hotel situated just south of Hurghada. The interior is of a gracious Arabic design with large airy public areas on split levels and featuring charming, intimate corners
in which to relax or chat with friends. This hotel hosts the best entertainment team in the Red Sea!
Facilities
312 twin rooms (with child's bed) and 4 villas - 80% with sea-view and all with balcony, air conditioning, IDD telephone, radio, TV & private facilities.

- Main restaurant
- Oriental cafe
- Pool bar & grill
- Egyptian restaurant
- Piano bar
- Scuba bar
- Disco
- Private beach
- Large swimming pool
- Children's pool
- Fitness club with whirlpool, steam bath & massage room

- Waterskiing
- Windsurfing & Sailing
- Snorkelling
- Diving Centre
- Squash courts
- Equestrian Club
- Clay tennis courts (2 floodlit)
- Fishing
- Archery
- Table tennis.
- Mini & junior clubs for children aged from 4 to 16

red sea divers oberoi suitesOBEROI SUITES
The Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh, is the first Luxury all suite resort on the Red Sea coast. An exclusive haven for the sophisticated traveler, this boutique resort is only 30 minutes from Hurghada International Airport. Located on 48 acres with a private beach, the resort has a panoramic view of the expansive Red Sea and the natural environs. The design concept is inspired by Arabic Islamic Architecture prevalent in the area. A unique combination of domes, arches and columns, create a breathtaking impression and provide an ambience of peace and privacy.

We have a dedicated page for the Oberoi Suites, please click here

 

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The Wrecks of Abu Nuhas in Hurghada, Red Sea

Giannis D. (Possibly previously called the "MARKOS" or the "SHOYO MARU")
Wrecked : 19 April 1983
in a storm.
Owners : Danae (giving rise to the alternative name for this wreck "DANA" - from the remains of some lettering on the smoke stack).
Length : 99m. Displacement: 3,500 metric tonnes.
Route : From Rijeka to Hodeidah.
Cargo : Wood, metal sheets, pipes and cables (some local boat captains call this the wood wreck).
Max. depth : 28m

The most westerly of Abu Nuhas's four wrecks, she sat on the edge of the reef for six weeks before storms broke her and settled her beneath the waves.The crew were all taken off without serious injury. The wreck lies at an angle to the reef and the stern section is the most interesting. This is where the bridge, accommodation areas, workshops and engine room can be entered and explored. Strong currents can surge through this rear section of the wreck. The tip of thecrane gantry here reaches to within 4m of the surface.
The central hold section is quite broken up but allows inspection of the cargo, which has been scattered across the sand. The bow, which rises up several metres, lies on its port side. Here the foremast now stands almost parallel to the seabed and the anchor winch, chain lockerand the anchor chains themselves can be easily found. There is always plentiful fish life on this wreck.


The Carnatic wreck

Launched : 1862
Wrecked : 13 September 1869 (0100) due to navigational error. She finally disappeared from view in March 1870.
Owners : Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (now known better as P&O).
Length : 90m. Displacement: 1,776 metric tonnes.
Route : From England, via Suez to Bombay and Calcutta.
Cargo : General including gold, wine, beer, "London soda water", mail and passengers (some local boat captains call this the "bottle" or "wine" wreck).
Max. depth : 25m

After only a few hours of leaving Suez this P & O mail steamship struck the northern edge of the reef at Abu Nuhas. Tragically, due to the excellent weather conditions,the 230 passengers and crew decided to stay on board. Over 24 hours later disaster struck when the ship suddenly broke in two. 27 people then lost their lives in the ensuing confusion. Only after pulling the ship's boats across the reef, burning bales of cotton and firing a distress rocket did the otherpassengers and crew attract the attention of another P & O ship The Sumatra.

A considerable amount of salvage work was carried out and this was the first time air pump and helmet diving techniques were used successfully. The team led byCaptain Henry D. Grant on behalf of the insurers, Lloyds of London, recovered about 80% of the gold.The Carnatic now rests at the foot of the 18m drop-off with her bow pointing towards the east and lying on her port side.

Most of the decking has rotted or been broken away and a lot of the hull areas can be entered through the remaining support struts. Some of the interesting featuresaround the hull and skeleton of her structure include the propeller, the large boiler and parts of the tandem compound engines, the table corals (acropora) growing onthe end of the davit and a protruding spar, the square portholes on the passenger accommodation and, even now, a number of bottles among the debris inside the blackened,forward hold.


Known locally as the "tile" or "Japanese" wreck. Also sometimes called the Seastar

Wrecked : 1982
Length : 60m.
Route : From Italy to Jedda.
Cargo : Floor tiles.
Max. depth : 28m

This wreck lies along the bottom of the drop-off with her bows pointing towards the west; her deck lies canted over at a shallow angle. The smoke stack has broken offand can be seen on the seabed just away from the main wreck. The inside of the ship can be explored and much of her cargo of floor tiles can be seen, but some of this cargois becoming unstable so some caution should be exercised. The force with which the ship must have hit the reef can be judged from the damage, which can be seen around the bow area.


The Crisoula K.
Wrecked : 1976
Length : 106m
Cargo : Lentils (some local boat captains call this the "lentil" wreck).
Max. depth : 32m

The bow of this Greek cargo boat still lie broken on top of the eastern tip of the reef. The remainder of the wreck lies at a right-angle to the reef, on its starboard side.The propeller and stern area is at 32m and the remains of the deck lie perpendicular to the seabed. Since all of the cargo has now disappeared, there are large areas ofthe ship to be explored. Local stories tell of vast populations of fish living in the wreck due to the plentiful supply of edible cargo! In rough weather some movement canbe felt through the wreckage so it is likely that there is yet to be further settlement of the wreck. There are indications that the Chrisoula K. may lie upon another wreck and it is probable that this may have been carrying copper or bronze.It is from this cargo that Abu Nuhas gets its name.
When the conditions at Abu Nuhas prevent safe diving then one of the following dives may be substituted: Shabrour Siyul (Blind Reef), Shab El Erg (see column on the left)

 
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NAVIGATE TO:


OVERVIEW
 

Choose from a range of 3*, 4* & 5* hotels

Prices include flights, transfers, airport taxes, accommodation, board as stated and diving as stated.

Boat diving. Diving World prides itself by offering boat diving packages that have access to house reefs and more elaborate dive sites.

Value for money hotels and dive packages from £499pp in low season.

 

 

CLIMATE:
Rain is very uncommon. Temperatures range from about 19 degrees in winter months to 40+ degrees in summer months. Water temperatures range from 19 degrees in winter to 28 - 30 degrees in summer

FLIGHTS:
Gatwick to Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh with Thomson, Thomas Cook, Easyjet and Monarch. Scheduled flights daily with connections via Cairo.Business class seating available at competitive rates.
 


Departure: Gatwick South (LGW)
Dept Day: Friday
Destination: Hurghada (HRG)
Duration: 5 hrs
Aircraft: Boeing 737 - winter / Airbus A300 - summer
Check in: 2.5hrs pre departure

VISAS
A passport is required for entry into Egypt and Sudan.  It needs to be valid for 6 months beyond your travel dates.

A visa is required for entry into Egypt and can be acquired upon arrival in Egypt at a fee. Touris visas are valid for 1 month.

PRICES
A comprehensive list of our prices for hotels and diving is in our brochure. If you would like a brochure, please fill in a "brochure request" form. Alternatively, just make an enquiry and a member of our team will respond with the details. The info in the brochure is exactly the same as
 
DIVE SITES
In the 200 square miles of sea available to our day diving boats there are over 50 diving sites. These vary from deep coral walls best suited to drift diving to shallow 9 meter coral heads and reefs which feature interesting formations, a multitude of both hard and soft coral growth and the incrediblenumber of fish species for which the Red Sea is famous. Just off shore we also have the wreck of an Egyptian Mine Sweeper lying at a depth of 30 metres.

Selecting the diving sites is obviously governed by safety; the main factors are the wind and the experience and ability of the divers.
 

The
Main Islands and Reef Groups  Umm Gamar
A small island with an automatic navigation light. Except for a small plateau to the southwest, the island is surrounded by reef with both sloping and vertical walls.Particular features include hollow outcrops of coral and a small cave.

Shabruhr Umm Gamar

A long reef with a sloping wall to the southeast and a plateau around the other sides. The sloping wall features the wrecked remains of a patrol boat at around25 - 30 metres and below this there is a vertical drop-off. The shallower parts of the reef have a number of swim-throughs and caves.

Carless Reef

Two small reefs sit on a 15 metre plateau with a deep drop-off to the north. The plateau slopes away on all sides with a beautiful area of table corals to the northeast.

Giftun Suriya
Good diving sites surround this, the second largest island in the day diving area. Its exposed position and thus nutrient rich waters support some superb coral growth.The dives around this island offer something for every level of diver from beginner to advanced.

Giftun Kebir

The largest island in this area, (big) Giftun has diving sites along its south east side, in the channel between it and its smaller namesake, to the south of the islandand on its north west corner.

Abu Ramada

Yet another small island surrounded by good dive sites. There are wall dives along the north and eastern sides and shallow plateau dives around the other sides.About half a mile to the south is Gotta Abu Ramada (commonly called The Aquarium), this is one of the best sites to see schools of those reef fish which elsewhereare normally only seen singularly or in pairs.


Magawish

An area of several small reefs, rich in life and often used for night dives.

Abu Nuhas

In a way it is a shame that this reef is famous for the four wrecks which found their final resting place here! Abu Nuhas offers some excellent diving around its three sides.

1. The eastern side has rugged coral formations with a very good stock of marine life. There is a good drift dive to be enjoyed along its drop-off, which is 25m deepto the north and 15m deep to the south.

2. The southern end of the reef can offer safe anchorage and is a good base for a night dive. Just further to the south is Yellowfish Reef; named after the sweetlips,which inhabit this reef in great numbers. The eastern section of this reef probably offers the better diving.

3. The western boundary of this reef is also worthy of attention. This is sometimes dived following an exploration of the Giannis D. wreck on the tip of the main reef, when the conditions prevent safe anchoring to the north or over the wreck. Along the northern edge of the reef are four wrecks spaced out between the western and eastern corners


Shabrour Siyul (Blind Reef)
This long, slim reef runs from east to west. As such, it allows diving on its western side when the prevailing north wind restricts diving on other reefs in this area.The western side has a shallow vertical drop-off for its first 10m and then a steeply sloping drop to around 30m. The northern end is more dramatic than the southern,with shallow caves and the possibility of seeing sleeping sharks. The eastern side is much steeper and there is a reasonable chance of seeing the bigger pelagic creaturesthat most divers crave!

Shab El Erg
A large horseshoe shaped reef, which encloses a shallow lagoon, is often used for overnight anchoring. Off the northwest tip there are a couple of coral masses with good
coral growth and a good chance of seeing turtles. There is little of interest down the sloping drop-off below 20m. The northeast corner of the reef is known as manta point.This is because of the number of mantas, which sometimes gather here around the months of February and March during the plankton bloom. Along the eastern side of thereef is a sloping drop-off with some beautiful coral specimens. Around the southern end of the reef there are a number of small coral blocks on a sandy plateau of 12m.

 
     
 
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Tel: 020 7407 0019 Fax: 020 7378 1113 E-mail: surf@diving-world.com

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