When to go diving
Elphinstone Reef: one of the finest dive sites in Egypt
For many divers, the Elphinstone Reef is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful dive sites in Egypt or Red Sea. Located about 12 kilometers off the city of Marsa Alam in Egypt, this dive spot is, in part, notorious for its whitetip sharks, very present in these waters. This dive site is one of the essential steps for most of the liveboards in Egypt. Many dive shops and resorts offers diving day tour with, generally, 2 or 3 dives along the reef.
Features of Elphinstone Reef, jewel of the Red Sea
The Elphinstone Reef extends over a length of 400 m long and 30 m wide only. Parallel to the coast, the tip of the reef nearly touch the surface of the water without ever emerge and, then, descends through successive trays.
North of the reef, there are 3 shelves shaped rock formation. The deepest part of this side of elphinstone reef, called Shark point, is famous for its hammerhead.
The southern part of the reef is a succession of small plates. This part of the reef is undoubtedly the most famous because it is crossed by a majestic arch soberly called “Ark of Elphinstone. Located 55 meters deep, this arch is accessible only to level 3 divers. For information the Egyptian law prescribes not to go over 40 meters deep.
Both east and west ends, there are two huge 400 meters drop offs of soft corals. This breathtaking performance reached its peak when the sunlight hits these steep walls revealing the beauty of the site .
To experience the best diving conditions, you should try to get there early in the morning. The key is to avoid the large number of boats, to enjoy the morning light but also to get the opportunity to encounter a hammerhead shark. The best time of the year to dive in Elphinstone Reef is between October and December. Warning: This dive site is not for beginners but for experienced divers only as currents can be strong to very strong.
Fauna and flora of the Red Sea
You will find many sponges, soft corals and gorgonias hanging on the walls. In this tropical garden, many fish species are quietly swimming such as triggerfish, angel fish, trumpet fish …
Divers go there mostly to see sharks, including the two finest oceanic representatives : the whitetip shark and the hammerhead shark. Dolphins, manta rays, tiger shark are also regularly spotted in the area.