Egypt is an ancient and mysterious country located in northeast Africa. It is renowned for its incredible historical monuments and its beautiful beaches, but it also has something else to offer – liveaboard diving. Liveaboard diving in Egypt allows divers to explore some of the most magnificent underwater wonders in the world.
From the pristine coral reefs to the remarkable ancient wrecks of the Red Sea, Egypt’s underwater beauty is unparalleled. Liveaboard diving allows travelers to dive right in and explore these wonders up close and personally. But with so many liveaboards in Egypt, finding the perfect one for your diving needs can be challenging.
To help make your search easier, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about liveaboard diving in Egypt!
Also check out our extensive guide on Red Sea Liveaboard Diving – if you want to explore the wonders of the Red Sea beyond Egypt or need some guidance where to start.
Egypt offers two main coastlines – the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. These waters are renowned for their exceptional scuba diving opportunities, with hundreds of species of marine life, spectacular coral reefs, and ancient shipwrecks waiting to be explored. However, the Red Sea is where most liveaboard diving in Egypt occurs due to its crystal clear waters and abundance of dive sites.
For many enthusiastic divers, a liveaboard vacation makes for the perfect getaway. Due to its eat, sleep, dive, repeat format, liveaboards offer time-efficient and convenient ways to explore many stunning spots in Egypt. Taking you from dive site to dive site without worrying about packing and unpacking your gear, liveaboard diving in Egypt offers an all-inclusive journey you will never forget.
Here are some more reasons why a liveaboard diving trip in Egypt is a fantastic experience:
Egypt liveaboards on the Red Sea truly have something for everyone. From the great SS Thistlegorm wreck to the incredible coral gardens of Hurghada – these dive sites will be some of the best you’ll ever experience.
The liveaboards in Egypt usually deport from 1 of 4 ports, Sharm El Sheikh, Port Ghalib, Hurghada, or Marsa Alam. Each of these routes offers unique experiences and unforgettable sights.
Liveaboards are the perfect way to reach remote dive sites that land-based divers would miss out on. The liveaboard dive boats in Egypt provide a great mix of day and night dives, allowing you to explore some of the most remote and untouched parts of the Red Sea. Adventuring to these areas is only possible on a liveaboard, which is one reason why they are so popular with divers.
The waters of the Red Sea are teeming with life. One of the most spectacular sights you’ll see are the shoals of schooling fish that form in such huge numbers they appear to move as one. From spinner dolphins to the elusive zebra moray eel, you’ll come across various species on your dives.
Not to mention, some Egypt liveaboards offer shark dives where you can spot species such as leopard, hammerhead, and thresher sharks. The water here is very salty – providing the perfect environment for hundreds of marine species and coral reefs.
One great thing about liveaboard diving in Egypt is that it is one of the more affordable locations – especially compared to locations such as the Maldives or Raja Ampat. Depending on where you are in the world, liveaboard diving can be extremely costly. But in Egypt, you can find great deals with excellent value. Plus, almost all Egypt liveaboards are luxury vessels, purposefully built with divers in mind – so you will have a comfortable stay without breaking the bank.
The Red Sea is known for its clear and calm waters, making it an ideal place to dive. Visibility can reach 20-40 meters, and water temperature can range from 69°F-86°F (21-30°C), depending on the location and season. The area is also known for its lack of strong currents, which makes it great for divers of all skill levels – although some liveaboards may require a certain amount of logged dives, so be sure to check this before booking!
The Red Sea offers an array of depths to explore. In the central trench, you can find depths of up to 2,500 meters. While in the shallower reefs and lagoons, you’ll find some shelves where abundant marine life awaits. On average, the depth of the Red Sea is around 500 meters – which is more than enough water to dive in.
Egypt does offer many diving options, including dive resorts. Dive resorts are a good option for those who want to discover waters that Eygpt liveaboards do not usually travel to. But the main issue with dive resorts is that you are fixed to that one location. So unless you truly want to experience a certain spot, liveaboards are often the better option.
Liveaboards allow you to cover much more ground in a shorter period and visit far-out dive sites. For a more immersive experience, a liveaboard is definitely the way to go!
When booking your liveaboard diving in Egypt trip, there are a few factors to consider to ensure you have the best time possible.
As Egypt liveaboards focus on the Red Sea, you’ll want to ensure the planned itinerary covers all the dive sites you’re interested in. Here are some excellent dive sites to consider:
Known as ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Little Brother’ – these two islands offer a variety of high-profile dive sites with a good chance of spotting sharks. But it isn’t just sharks that draw people to The Brothers; the diverse marine life and coral reefs will also impress.
With its steep walls, shimmering bays, and expansive plateau – Elphinstone Reef is not a dive site to miss. It is also home to many fish species, including giant morays, tuna, white-tip sharks, and other pelagic creatures. Here you can drift dive along the walls before returning to your Eygptian liveaboard.
The SS Thistlegorm is a British World War II cargo ship sunk near Ras Muhammad National Park. The wreckage has become home to an array of ocean life, and here you can discover a variety of ship artifacts – such as trucks and motorcycles. The SS Thistlegorm is one of the most well-known and popular wreck dives in the world – we could write a whole article just on this one wreck.
The Straits of Tiran is situated between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas and is home to some incredibly beautiful dive sites. Here you can explore the colorful walls, swim through vast coral gardens, and spot many creatures – including dolphins, stingrays, and barracudas.
Known as the ‘Shipwreck Graveyard,’ Abu Nuhas is a must for any wreck enthusiast. One of the most popular wrecks is the Giannis D, a Greek cargo ship sunk in 1983 after hitting a nearby reef. This triangular-shaped reef is also known for its off-shore reefs and a wide variety of fish.
Most Eygpt liveaboards are large, purpose-built yachts with wooden hulls and plenty of space for divers to relax. Onboard these vessels, you’ll often find a dive deck, air-conditioned saloon, and cabins with en-suites. Make sure to choose a boat with the amenities you’re looking for, but whichever you choose will offer a comfortable and convenient trip!
How long you wish to sail for depends on the area you travel to and your budget. Generally speaking, liveaboard trips in Egypt average 8 days and 7 nights. There are some shorter options for 4 or 5 days, but they aren’t as common as the week-long excursions.
It is pretty rare to see any longer liveaboard trips, but they do very occasionally happen. The extended liveaboard vacations can last up to 15 days – although these trips tend to sell out quite quickly, so make sure to book in advance if you’re interested.
The main goal when booking a trip like this is to go liveaboard diving in Egypt. It is essential to check the number of dives that are included in your boat’s itinerary. Most of the time, a liveaboard in Egypt will provide up to 4 dives per day, including night dives.
There are dive sites for all levels of divers in Eygpt, but you should still check the required knowledge and experience level before booking your trip. Some Egypt liveaboards do specify a minimum number of dive hours – with some requiring as many as 50. But don’t worry, plenty of liveaboards are suitable for beginners, so you should be able to find one which meets your requirements.
Dive insurance is an essential requirement for any liveaboard trip, no matter where you are in the world. Diving in Egypt is highly regulated, and many rules exist. But even with these regulations, there is still a chance of encountering something unexpected, so always get dive insurance. Dive insurance is not included in most liveaboard bookings, so make sure to arrange it before you go.
We recommend DiveAssure – the leading dive insurance with the most comprehensive Diving Accident and Dive Travel insurance plans. Get your dive insurance now and enjoy your scuba diving vacation without worries.
As we have just mentioned, there are local regulations in Egypt that all divers need to be aware of. The Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) oversees the rules and closely monitors liveaboard operators. The CDWS has a dedicated ‘blacklist’ of operators who do not follow the regulations.
There are also rules dives must comply with, such as not wearing gloves while scuba diving and adhering to specific dive depths depending on experience. Be sure to check the regulations before you go, and make sure your liveaboard operator is following them.
It is also important to note that Egypt has local laws you might not find elsewhere. Certain acts, including taking photos of bridges, canals, and embassy buildings, are prohibited. Egypt is also a predominantly Muslim country, so it is important to respect their customs and familiarize yourself with what is acceptable and what is not.
Nitrox is a blend of nitrogen and oxygen, which is often used for scuba diving. If you are a nitrox diver, you’ll be happy to know some liveaboards in Egypt offer nitrox fills. This may be at an additional cost, but it’s nice to have the option. There is one fleet of liveaboards known for its free nitrox options – check out the Emperor liveaboard fleet.
Make sure you bring your nitrox certification along with you, and if you don’t have one – you may be able to get certified onboard.
You will need to check with your liveaboard operator to see what you need to bring on your trip. Most Egypt liveaboards offer rental gear, so you may not need to bring your own. This will be at an additional cost but will save you from having to lug your own equipment around. As Egypt is also great for technical diving and attracts many experienced divers, you may want to bring your own equipment, though. You can find a complete packing list further below.
What Is The Best Season For Liveaboards in Egypt?
Egypt is a sub-tropical location, which means you can enjoy liveaboard diving in Egypt year-round. But, if you want to avoid any diverse weather patterns, the best season for liveaboards in Egypt would either be spring (March to May) or fall (September to November). These months are comfortable, warm and offer some of the best visibility in the Red Sea.
Although if you want, you can go liveaboard diving in the summer (June to August), which is typically known as the low season due to the hotter and more humid temperatures. Similarly, the winter (December to February) brings cooler water temperatures, which can mean fewer crowds of divers and the chance to spot more unusual marine life.
You want to make the most of your diving holiday, so it’s essential to research the different itineraries. The best itineraries for liveaboards in Egypt offer a mix of dives that allow you to explore the depths of the Red Sea. These can include dives around coral reefs, wrecks, and walls – as well as drift dives and night dives. When choosing your liveaboard operator, do check it visits the locations you are interested in and offers the type of diving you want.
Generally speaking, there are two main liveaboard routes in the Red Sea – southern and northern routes.
This southern route is a real highlight, with visits to dive sites such as the Brothers Islands, Daedalus, and Elphinstone. It’s not only a great way to explore the Red Sea, but you also get to see some of Egypt’s historical sites. Visit the Aida II, a sunken supply vessel, and swim with grey reef sharks at Daedalus. Then, take in the giant coral walls at Elphinstone and experience drift diving with an abundance of colorful fish.
The BDE route is spread over 8 days and features approximately 19 dives.
The Wrecks and Reefs route is set in the northern area of the Red Sea. This offers something for everyone, from substantial coral formations to famous wrecks such as the Thistlegorm and the Rosalie Moller. You can also witness some of Egypt’s most fascinating marine life, such as scorpion fish, dolphins, and turtles. The horseshoe-shaped Shaab El Erg is also a popular dive site on this route.
The Wrecks and Reef itinerary usually lasts for 8 days and offers around 15 dives in total.
The liveaboards in Egypt are some of the better-priced liveaboards in the world. You can generally expect to pay much less as in other popular liveaboard locations, such as Indonesia or the Bahamas. The cost will depend on many factors, such as the length of your stay and what’s included. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay no more than $1500 per week, with most averaging at $1000, for a liveaboard in Egypt. The shorter trips are, of course, cheaper and will set you back around $500.
It is important to note that many Egypt liveaboards visit national parks, which usually require an additional fee. This cost will be outlined in your liveaboard’s information and should be factored into your budget.
Due to the large number of liveaboards operating in Egypt, you may sometimes be lucky and get a last minute deal for a strongly reduced price. Especially if you are traveling solo, this can be a great option to save money on your vacation. Keep an eye on the current capacities at Liveaboard.com.
When choosing a liveaboard in Egypt, you want to ensure it has the necessary facilities and amenities. The various liveaboards in Egypt offer an exceptional experience in and out of the water.
Length: 38m Width: 8m Nitrox: Yes (free) Cabins: 14 Maximum capacity: 26 guests Rental Gear: Yes
The Emperor Elite liveaboard offers an unforgettable dive experience – with the 8-day, 7-night journeys taking you to some of the best diving spots in Egypt. This award-winning liveaboard boasts 14 contemporary cabins, each with en-suite bathrooms, making it an ideal choice for luxury and comfort.
With the Emperor Elite, you can expect air-conditioned saloons, delicious meals prepared by the onboard chef, and an experienced crew dedicated to your safety. This renowned liveaboard also offers free internet, a sundeck for relaxation, and is available for charter – providing the ultimate escape for you and your friends. Best thing: nitrox is included!
Length: 35m Width: 8m Nitrox: Yes (paid) Cabins: 13 Maximum capacity: 26 guests Rental Gear: Yes
The MY Tillis is perfect for couples looking for an intimate and romantic escape or large groups wanting to explore the wonders of the Red Sea! With 3 exclusive honeymoon suites onboard, you can soak up every second of this one-of-a-kind experience. No matter how many people are in your group, everyone will be kept at ease with air-con cabins and a saloon.
The dining lounge offers snacks and meals throughout the day. The bar, leisure deck, and warm water showers also provide additional comfort for a delightful voyage! Any non-divers in your group can be catered for, with snorkel trips and onboard activities available. Trips on the MY Tillis span over 8 days and visit all the best dive sites in Egypt.
Length: 40m Width: Not Specified Nitrox: Yes (paid) Cabins: 13 Maximum capacity: 20 guests Rental Gear: Yes
The Sea Friend offers a fully equipped dive deck, 13 en-suite cabins, and a variety of scuba diving courses – providing a perfect package for beginners and experts alike. You will be treated to welcome cocktails, and the Sea Friend offers complimentary soft drinks all day. There is nitrox available on board, with an optional nitrox course if you haven’t already taken one.
Expect daily housekeeping, free internet, en suite bathrooms, and a relaxed atmosphere. The Sea Friend liveaboard typically offers 8-day trips, with 19 dives available in total. The Sea Friend often has ‘special’ itineraries, including shark diving and family-focused options.
Length: 37m Width: 8.3m Nitrox: Yes (free) Cabins: 13 Maximum capacity: 25 guests Rental Gear: Yes
The Emperor Superior is a top-notch liveaboard experience taking divers to the magnificent reefs of Egypt. This luxurious vessel was designed by divers, for divers, with a dedicated dive deck and charging stations for underwater cameras. The Emperor Superior offers all the modern amenities such as air-con, sea view cabins, and free internet.
Divers of all levels will also find exactly what they need here – with free nitrox and rental equipment available. Divers can look forward to 8 days of incredible reef and wreck dives, with multiple daily dives to enjoy.
Length: 23m Width: 6m Nitrox: Yes (free) Cabins: 6 Maximum capacity: 12 guests Rental Gear: Yes
While Amelie is one of the smaller liveaboards in Egypt, you still have everything a diver could need. Enjoy delicious gourmet-style meals, with plenty of variety and free soft drinks available all day. Take some well-deserved relaxation on the sun deck, fire up the BBQ area, or pick between indoor and outdoor dining.
Wi-Fi is provided across the boat so you can stay connected while afloat, and if you’ve got a larger group, there’s also a charter option available. Whatever your desired duration, you’re sorted – with most trips lasting 8 days but options for shorter 4-day trips also available.
When wondering what to bring for a liveaboard trip in Egypt, there are a few key items to add to your packing list. One of the most important is your travel visa. You can pay for your visa at the airport upon arrival.
Here are some more suggestions to help you make the most of your liveaboard diving in Egypt experience:
- Dive and nitrox certifications
- Dive log
- Scuba diving equipment – if not renting
- Dive insurance
- Credit card or local currency (for tipping and paying for national park visits)
- Surface marker buoy (SMB or DSMB) and dive computer – if needed, remember to check regulations before traveling
- Passport and essential travel documents
- Clothing suitable for the season you are traveling in
- Required medication
- Towels (while most liveaboards will provide you with towels, bringing an extra one can pay off)
- Sun protection (sunscreen, sun hat)
- Toiletries (toothbrush, soap, etc.)
- Underwater camera
- Entertainment (music, headphones, etc.)
- Electronics (phone, charger)
- Water bottle
- Dry bag for wet clothes
Liveaboard diving in Egypt is an excellent way for divers to experience the best this incredible country offers. The variety of sites, beautiful reefs, and exciting wrecks make for a fantastic experience. With so many different vessels to choose from, each offering unique experiences and packages, there’s sure to be an option for every type of diver.
But before you book on any Egypt liveaboards, be sure to educate yourself on the safety guidelines and regulations in place. Once you’ve ticked all the boxes, you’ll be ready to jump on board and explore the wonders of Egypt’s underwater world!