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The Brothers Islands, Safaga and Hurghada | The Red Sea, Egypt

Diving trips to the much-hyped Brothers Islands usually start from the busy Red Sea town of Hurghada. It's a six hour sail to reach them so a diving liveboard is the only way to get to this distant scuba destination. Check-out dives are done on local Hurghada reefs prior to sailing. These are in reasonable condition and although the coral has taken quite a battering over the years, the marine life is still plentiful.

The Brothers Islands are a different proposition. Consisting of two rocky, barren islands, the underwater terrain is spectacular. Sheer walls drop to well beyond 40 meters and can be swept by strong currents. The Brothers are known for pelagics, especially shark sightings, but not all divers are lucky enough to see them as time here is often heavily restricted (see pros and cons below).

After the Brothers, liveaboard boats cruise back to dive the reefs around Safaga. These are really very impressive. You may see a hammerhead, turtles, tuna and schooling jacks. There are great octopus encounters and even critters like seagrass ghost pipefish. The wreck of the Salem Express is an outstanding dive, if rather sad as the sea bed is littered with evidence of her demise – suitcases and items like shoes are strewn around the hull. Dived with respect though, this is one of the best wrecks in the Red Sea.

Bronze whaler shark
Brothers Islands dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life Hammerhead and thresher sharks
Top dive site Wreck of the Salem Express
Seasons All year round
Visibility 10 – 40 metres
Water temperature 20 – 29º C
Deco chambers Sharm el Sheik, Hurghada, El Gouna
Flights direct by European charter flights or scheduled via Cairo
Dive operators & accommodation Most are good, some are not... try to get a recommendation especially for a liveaboard trip.

Some of the most spectacular dive sites in Egypt can be found at the Brothers but getting there isn't straightforward. Diving permits for the area are supposed to be limited, but the authorities hand out more than they should. Some operators promise more time in the park than they can give and may be less than truthful about access, the number of dives included in a trip and so on. Often this will be the fault of the the authorities rather than the boat itself.

More diving destinations in Egypt
Complete reports on this area are in
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While we were at the Brothers Islands the visibility was endless, the corals were pristine and currents were minimal. Consequently, there were very few sharks but we did glimpse our first-ever scalloped hammerhead and a couple of thresher sharks.

We travelled on a liveaboard that had a permit but arrived to find no available moorings. This meant we could not stay, which was heartbreaking as each of the small number of dives we did there was stunning. Would we go back? Unlikely, it was just too crowded and we really don't like diving with that many people in the same area at once.
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