It was diving that really put Hurghada on the map. There are more coral islands here than reefs, including about ten islands within day-trip range and many more that can be visited on extended dive safaris or liveaboards. Sharks, giant moray eels and manta rays can also be found in deeper waters. More detailed information on Red Sea dive sites around Hurghada and elsewhere can be found in Guy Buckles’s Dive Sites of the Red Sea.

Hurghada welcomes hordes of tourists each week, and has more than a thousand tour boats. To help combat the environmental impact of this, the Underwater National Parks of the Red Sea and Protected Islands enforces a daily “environmental tax” (€3) for all divers and snorkellers, the proceeds of which are ploughed back into environmental projects. This is in addition to the standard per-person charge of €3 per day to dive the Giftun Islands and the nearby reefs and €5 per day for sites further south, such as Brothers and Zabargad. The problem is also being tackled by HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association; w hepca.com), which is trying to raise ecological awareness. Tourists can help by using dive centres which belong to HEPCA and display a certificate from the Egyptian Underwater Sports Federation.

There are decompression chambers in El Gouna and the Mubarak Naval Hyperbaric & Emergency Medical Centre (t 065 354 9150 or t 354 4195) in Ed-Dahar, about 500m northwest of the police station.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Egypt features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
7 amazing African journeys

7 amazing African journeys

Africa is a continent of wild open savannahs, terracotta sunsets, thousands of vibrant green hills and rugged coastlines. Here, you can be chugging along on …

06 Jul 2016 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook