Egypt Snorkeling Trip Report, Marsa Shagra Village, October 2023

By Delana Louw

Six South Africans visited Marsa Shagra Village, managed by Red Sea Diving Safaris, and here is our Egypt snorkeling trip report. Three of the group are dedicated snorkelers, taking photos and identifying all species. We spent on average five hours per day snorkeling usually in the morning and late afternoon on the house reef. Each of us took on the order of 6000 photographs. I identified and photographed 122 fish species of which 44 species were lifers.

Pair of Red Sea Masked Butterflyfish

Snorkeling Marsa Shagra House Reef

The snorkeling was superb and the facilities excellent. Water clarity was good early in the mornings and became less so in the middle of the day, probably due to wind as well as all the activities by diving boats.

Egypt coral reef with many fish

I am the only one of the group who has done some extensive snorkeling in Raja Ampat as well as further east in the Pacific including Samoa and Fiji. The experience at Marsa Shagra compared well with house reefs in the Pacific.

Titan Triggerfish with cleaner wrasse on coral reef in Egypt

Review of Snorkeling Services at Marsa Shagra Village

Large school of goatfish with butterflyfish on a coral reef in Egypt

The negatives were that this was again a case of snorkelers being treated like second-rate citizens. Zodiacs were available to drop snorkelers off further on the house reef for snorkeling, but you were only allowed to snorkel back to shore. The point we were dropped off was close to the start and at a point which we exceeded everyday snorkeling from the beach on our own.

We inquired about night snorkeling as there were many groups of divers night diving every evening. We were told an emphatic no as we were not trained. Inquiring again and asking if we cannot go on a paid guided night snorkel, we were told that we cannot as we do not have torches. We told them we had two torches. We were then told that they cannot see who is who is in the water (we did not understand this one…) and last – that we are inexperienced and will shine our torches into the divers faces.

We also took a paid guided snorkeling trip to a canyon which was said to be out of this world as well as going to see dugongs and dolphins. The water was extremely rough, time spent in the water was very short, the reef was not good. The most entertaining part of this trip was the very wild, rough and at high speed, zodiac ride to and from the lodge (there was not a life jacket in sight nor a safety briefing).

Red Sea Bannerfish in Egypt

In conclusion, the snorkeling on the Marsa Shagra Village house reef was top class, the facilities as well. Snorkeling however was not seen as a high priority for the lodge.


  1. Thank you Delana for sharing your experience and your wonderful photos!

    Michel has shared many posts about snorkeling the house reef at Marsa Shagra. Here is his most recent one.

    Our trips partner organizes tours that stay at Marsa Shagra Village, this one and this one. The benefit of these group trips is that snorkelers are respected in this group format and all boat tours and house reef shuttles are snorkeling only. The tour guide makes sure that night snorkels are offered, and that all snorkel spots have safe and good conditions.

    • Thank you and yes, I agree that having a tour guide with acknowledged credentials should smooth the road a bit.

      But one would like to have the freedom to be treated with respect as an individual snorkeler as well. Perhaps if there is some way of accrediting snorkelers (like divers) this situation can be avoided as anyone can say they are experienced, and the lodge can be held accountable for any problems.

      And I do realize and understand why they have to have some control to protect the reef and for personal safety. (I have never heard whistles being blown as much as I did at Marsa!)

      I was not treated the same way snorkeling on my own at Papua Paradise and Raja Ampat Biodiversity Lodge. However, the numbers of people in the water (and children) are much less than even at a dedicated diving resort like Marsa Shagra.

  2. We think that instead of snorkelers having to get accredited, that the resorts should have to get accredited for how to treat snorkelers equally. We are starting to see, as resorts receive more and more snorkeling groups, that the good ones are starting to realize that we are equal customers to divers, and they are adjusting their services to suit our needs.


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