Packed with coral reefs, abundant tropical fish and an assortment of World War II wrecks, there is something for every diver in the Red Sea. Yet if you go to many of the popular offshore sites you can find them swamped with dive boats, while below water there can often be more divers than fish. Thankfully, there’s far more to the Red Sea than Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh. Join a dive and camel-trekking trip organized by Sinai-based Embah Safari and you’ll be taken to some of the less well-known areas along the coast, such as the Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area, which has excellent diving and can easily be reached from the shore.
At the small coastal village of Dahab you spend the first day getting back into the swing of diving; an easy shore dive to Eel Gardens and then a more technical dive to the Blue Hole. After that you’ll head to Ras Mohammed National Park – Egypt’s only national park, which hosts Napolean wrasse, butterfly fish and turtles. Early the following morning, the real dive safari begins: you pack your belongings onto a camel and trek north for four days along the coast of Nabq towards Dahab, camping overnight with Bedouin in the desert. You’ll dive two to three times a day at various rarely visited locations – including reef tables and walls, mangroves and seagrass beds – under the experienced eye of local dive masters. Along the way you’re likely to see rays, sea horses and a huge variety of coral and brilliantly coloured fish. But best of all, there will hardly be another dive boat in sight.
Dahab is close to Sharm El-Sheikh (1hr) and Taba (2hr). Taxi transfers can be arranged when you book. For itineraries, prices and reservations see www.embah.com; +20 69 3641 690. Tours can also be booked through UK-based Baobab Travel (www.baobabtravel.com; +44 (0) 121 314 6011). Because of the desert trekking, it’s best to avoid July and August. Group sizes are limited to twelve divers maximum and no more than six divers can be in the water at the same time. You will also undergo proper buoyancy checks to avoid overweighted divers damaging the reefs.