Egypt: Red Sea - Dive Sites - Elphinstone Reef

Elphinstone Reef



By Boat

By swimming

By Live-aboard

All Divers






12km (6.5 nautical miles) off Marsa Abu Dabab on the south Egyptian coast


By live-aboard from any Red Sea port

Average Depth:

20m (65ft)

Maximum Depth:

70m+ (230ft+)

Average Visibility:

20m (65ft)

This long, finger-like reef runs from north to south in the open Red Sea. Steep walls drop to the depths on the reefs east and west sides, reaching 70m (230ft) or more, while the north and south ends of the reef are marked by submerged plateau. The northern plateau is very shallow, offering some superb snorkeling possibilities. The southern plateau is much deeper, with a drop-off at 30m (100ft) leading down to the depths. A large underwater arch can be found here, between 50 and 70m (164-230ft). This lies beyond the range of most sports divers, but has a fascinating story attached to it. Legend has it that the sarcophagus of an unknown pharaoh lies beneath the arch, and you can, in fact, see the outlines of a suspiciously rectangular, coral encrusted mass in the depths at around 60m (197ft).

Coral coverage is dense and magnificent, with a full range of hard and soft corals on all sides. The east side in particular has some beautiful soft coral growth.

A massive number of reef species lends still more color to the already dazzling walls, with a ready supply of big solitary and schooling pelagics to observe. One great hammerhead seems to be a permanent resident.

This is an endlessly fascinating site, worth diving any number of times, both by snorkellers and by the more advanced diver.

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Last Updated: May 30th, 2011