Shore diving and local culture advice

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Divingswede

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Hello.

My wife and I put our diving on hold when kids came along. Our kids are now getting their Open Water certifications and we are excitedly looking at potential family trips to both see the wonderful cultures of the world and do some diving, when restriction allow. I’m looking for advice for locations along the Red Sea/Egypt that preferably provide the following:
- Off the beaten path, non-touristy opportunity to experience local culture and nature.
- Avoiding resorts.
- Access to shore diving on our own.
- Reputable dive shop to rent gear from.
- Beautiful beaches are a bonus.

Thanks very much for the help! We’re excited to get back into it.

Good diving,
Henrik
 

JustSurfaceInterval

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Maybe Dahab is worth a look.
- Off the beaten path, non-touristy opportunity to experience local culture and nature.
> Not really but close to, at least some opportunities for trips in the desert or ot St. Catherine. As Dahab is still a mix between tourist and locals (e.g. camels and goats in the backyard downtown), there are at lest some local vibes left.​
- Avoiding resorts.
> several small hotels available. However, it would be interesting to know what is your struggle with resorts. Happy Village and Tropitel Dahab Oasis can be seen as resorts but have a well organised dive shops.​
- Access to shore diving on our own.
> check. e.g. Tropitel Dahab Oasis with a entry point to a beautiful ref. If you stay in Dahab you are literally gearing up on the main street and between the bars/restaurants to the entry point e.g. dive site "Lighthouse"​
- Reputable dive shop to rent gear from.
> Plenty​
- Beautiful beaches are a bonus
> not really beautiful but great to chill after the dive.​

I would avoid Hurghada: That's the beaten to death path you want to avoid.
Safaga/Soma Bay may be an alternative although more resort based holidays.
Further south Marsa Alam area are providing hotels/resorts in the middle of nowhere, but i take that's not what you are looking for.
 

Adr1an

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Nuweiba (with all it's beach camps) will check all your boxes but it should be awfully quiet now and I doubt the local operators have changed the filters on the compressors for zero or next to zero activity. If you plan to stay a while perhaps an idea would be to get in touch with one of the local operators and pay to have the filters changed in front of you.
Dahab would be a safer bet in this regard but it's far from being non-touristy.
 

Sunn

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If you really want to experiment local culture and nature combined with diving, it's nearly impossible on the shores of the red sea without being in a touristic place.... surely avoid Hurghada, Sharm el Sheik, El Gouna, Marsa Galib or other similar sites.

Diving is a touristic behavior... and with a family, better being in a decent hotel. You'll certainly find places for 10 USD per night, but when you'll see what it is.... thus, follow JustSurfaceInterval advice : not a huge resort, but small touristic hotels.

An example : Dolphin beach hotel in Safaga is very nice, cheap, far from touristic zone.... but not sure you'll have lunch and dinner.
 
OP
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Divingswede

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Thanks very much for the replies and information! I’ll definitely take a look at Nuweiba and some of the other recommendations.

It’s not a struggle with resorts so much as the opportunity to stay in a locals area and really feel the location. We have found that we very much enjoy the immersion and experiences. I also appreciate that this can be a tough combination with diving, but it’s worth a shot.
 

Tippytoes12

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Dahab would be perfect for your requirements. A small atmospheric town with great diving all around and in the town. You see divers walking around in full gear beside all the signs of the rich Bedouin culture. When we were there last there were many nice restuarants in the town.
 

Christian

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I've done exactly what you're asking about. Have grown up kids now (16 an 19) and have been several times with them in Egypt since they were 5 and 8. I and they have enjoyed The Red Sea Diving Safaris camps at Marsa Shagra and Marsa Nakari. You can stay in luxurious tents right on the beach or in huts, with AC or w/o. Shagra is the most developed one and it has a fantastic house reef, also for snorkeling. HGossam Helmy, the owner, is a true pioneer in Red Sea diving and a very nice man. You reach them easily from the Marsa Alam airport. After you have done your orientation dive you are free to dive on your own, with a buddy, just grab a tank and get in. There are dingys that can take you up or down the coast. They have daily truck excursions along the coast (shore diving) as well as boat dives to e.g. Elphinstone (20 minutes) every day. It's pretty rustique, but still very comfortable and food is good. Easy if you like to dive a lot and don't care for the hotel/tourist-experience. Kids needs to be on the 4x4 side of the spectrum tho and like to snorkel and swim a lot, as there is not much else. On the other hand there are little sharks in the lagoon, turtles, rays and other exciting stuff just 20-30 meters off the beach.
Skärmavbild 2021-03-18 kl. 17.01.59.png
 
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