The Red Sea in Egypt attracts an untold number of tourists every year, and for good reason. If you are planning to visit the fascinating Land of the Pharaohs, but you are not yet 100% sure what to see and do when you arrive for your Egypt vacation, then it is highly recommended that you set aside some time to visit Egypt’s Red Sea coast, also known as the Arabian Gulf or the Persian Gulf.
Interestingly, the origin of the name is disputed by historians. Some claim that the name comes from seasonal blooms of red algae in the ocean. Others claim that the name is derived from the red stone hills that border the sea. There are numerous other suggestions, but regardless of the origins of the name, Egypt’s Red Sea resort towns are without any doubt amazing places for a vacation.
The Red Sea in Egypt is a saltwater inlet of the Indian Ocean, and it is found in between Africa and Asia. It has a surface area of over 169,000 square miles; with a maximum depth of over 7,000 feet in the central median trench. The Red Sea actually covers a part of the famed Great Rift Valley.
Little wonder then that the Red Sea is famous for its vast variety of aquatic species. In fact, the Red Sea in Egypt is home to more than 1,000 species of aquatic invertebrates, and over 200 types of corals. This makes it one of the most popular destinations for aquatic sports like SCUBA diving, snorkeling, swimming or simply lounging around on the stunning beaches.
Due to the popularity of the area, several of our Nile cruise holidays include a stay at places like Hurghada and/or Sharm. If you happen to book one of these packages, you will typically head to the Red Sea coast at the end of your cruise.
History of the Red Sea in Egypt
The Red Sea has seen thousands of years of human history. The earliest known explorations of the Red Sea were started by the Egyptians, who were seeking to establish commercial routes to the Land of Punt. Evidence suggests the first exploration took place at some point around 2500 BC.
Many historians as well as biblical scholars remember that the Red Sea was referenced in the book of Exodus. This was the sea that Moses allegedly parted with the help of God, a miracle that resulted in the drowning of a Pharaoh and his mighty and ruthless Egyptian army.
Later on, in the 6th century BC, Darius I of Persia made the Red Sea his project by improving its navigation, eliminating hazardous rocks and wayward currents. Two centuries later, Alexander the Great continued to investigate the Red Sea, sending his own naval expeditions out in an effort to harness the Red Sea’s resources.
Since then, the Red Sea has played an integral role in commerce between the nations of the Middle East and those of the Mediterranean, as well as European nations. The Suez Canal owes its existence to the importance of this trade. In fact, the modern Suez Canal is only an extension of an existing canal that was dug in the late 6th century BC.
Tourism and the Red Sea
While the Red Sea in Egypt is revered for its historical significance, it also serves as a major tourist attraction and recreational resource. The vast number of natural resources, the pristine waters of the area, and the vast quantity of sea life all contribute to this importance.
For tourists, the Red Sea is most commonly known for its amazing recreational diving sites, including locations like the Ras Mohammed, the Elphinstone, the Dolphin Reef, and Rocky Island. Exploring the underwater world of the Red Sea is an amazing experience which makes Egypt diving holidays extremely popular.
There are these days many tourist resorts that have been set up exclusively for Red Sea recreation, including well-known Egyptian regions like Safaga, Dahab, Taba, El Gouna, Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Sharm El Sheikh.
Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh are however the most popular areas, and both feature prominently in many Red Sea diving holiday packages.
The crystal clear waters of the Red Sea are home to numerous brilliant colored species of fish, wizened sea turtles, rays of startling size and astounding coral reefs. There are also a number of famous wrecks in shallow coastal waters, such as the S.S. Thistlegorm and several others of note.
Red Sea SCUBA diving is a highly recommended activity in the area, with the most popular dives sites considered to be among the best in the world.
What should you know about Red Sea safety? If you book Red Sea diving holidays in Egypt you will be completely safe, and that includes during your diving activities. Red Sea diving is a massive tourist magnet, and the government has strict policies in place in order to protect the safety of tourists visiting the area.
The only dangerous part of the Red Sea, is southward, near the uncontrolled zones of Somalia where real-life pirates are still at large. These pirates pose a serious safety threat in that region, not only to tourists, but also to international shipping, so it is highly advisable that you restrict your exploration to areas such as the Egyptian Red Sea coast and the Sinai Peninsula.
It cannot be stressed enough that the waters surrounding Egypt provide a safe haven for divers, anglers, sunbathers, boaters, and even the more adventurous travelers who visit the area.
It is worth noting that in order to go SCUBA diving, one must be in possesion of the relevant certification. If you are not certified to dive and you want to book one of our Egypt guided tours that include SCUBA diving you will need to complete a basic SCUBA diving course.
There are many dive shops in the area that offer fully certified courses. If you would like to complete a course during your stay, you should let us know beforehand so that we can customize your chosen travel package accordingly.
Now You Can Discover Egypt Your Way
Touring an oasis; sailing the Nile in style; exploring ancient pyramids, tomb and temples, or diving in the Red Sea: you can have it all with our Custom Egypt Tours which you can create yourself in order to fulfill your wildest dreams. Come and enjoy the magic of the Red Sea in Egypt with Egypt Tours Plus.
Country Specific Egypt Tour Information
Looking for more information before you decide? We have a specific international guide covering the most important points you need to be aware of before traveling to Egypt.