Incredible Places to Freedive in the Middle East

Where to go for crystalline waters and unspoiled reefs

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Unless you’ve grown up and lived in the region, you might not know that the Arab world is also home to some of the world’s most incredible coastlines, surrounded by azure blue water. 

From North Africa to the Middle East, the region has unparalleled underwater views, with crystalline waters ideal for a day spent diving through countless fish species and exploring some of the world’s most intact coral reefs. 

Ever wanted to get a closer look at spinner dolphins and fan corals? Or (for the brave of us) swim through carnivorous fish? Whether in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or hanging out on the Gulf of Oman, don’t miss out on the chance to literally dive deep into the Arab world’s incredible marine life. 

And if you’re not sure where to start, try one of these spots.

Egypt
Sharm el Sheikh is one of the most popular diving destinations, which means it’s pretty crowded. Opt for an underwater escape in the Southern Sinai town of Dahab instead, where you can visit the famed Blue Hole. At 100 metres deep, it offers endless stunning reefs, but it is known for being dangerous, so dive with caution. Or better yet, check out Elphinstone Reef off the resort town of Marsa Alam, where you might find yourself face to face with a hammerhead shark or a spinner dolphin.  

Saudi Arabia
With Vision 2030 underway, Saudi Arabia will soon become one of the region’s go-to tourist destinations. And its practically untouched Red Sea sites are a huge reason why. Diving is gaining momentum in the Kingdom, and right off of Jeddah is one of the best diving sites called Boiler Wreck, in an area called Abu Madafi reef. At 18 metres deep, you’ll find the shipwreck covered in stunning corals, and the remenants of the ship’s two boilers, hence the name. 

Jordan
As Jordan’s only coastal city, Aqaba is a must visit if you’re looking for waters filled with stunning reefs. Its 17 miles of coast along the Red Sea has been a go-to destination for quite some time, especially for divers looking for Cedar Pride, a Lebanese freighter that was sunk at the orders of King Abdullah II in 1985 in an effort to champion the nation’s scuba diving industry.

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