Snorkeling Fort Arabesque Resort, Egypt in October 2023

By Delana Louw

We want to share about our experience snorkeling Fort Arabesque Resort, Egypt. This is a follow-up to our trip report on our snorkeling experience at Marsa Shagra Village. In October 2023, we left Marsa Shagra Village to go to Fort Arabesque Resort, which is very large and has many adjacent resorts covering the whole of Makadi Bay near the city of Hurghada. We went there so that the non-snorkeling part of our group could enjoy the many swimming pools, restaurants and more resort-type activities. Our expectations for good snorkeling were low, especially seeing hundreds of beach umbrellas with many many bodies in the water along the whole length of the bay.

Snorkeling Fort Arabesque Resort with Klunzinger's Wrasse and Bullethead Parrotfish

Imagine our shock and surprise when we put our heads under the water and amongst all the dangling legs saw bommies and a reef in aquarium-like crystal clear water with fish everywhere. It was an unreal experience snorkeling north along the reef, ducking and crossing ropes that crisscross everywhere and boats dragging people around on blow-up contraptions. And with the sound of the Macarena blasting out of massive speakers and 60 or so people dancing in the sea slapping the water accompanying the band and the dance instructors.

Hound Needlefish over hard corals in Egypt

Snorkeling Fort Arabesque Resort House Reef

The snorkeling on the resort’s house reef was superb. The water clarity was excellent in this protected bay. The fishes are obviously very used to humans and being so tame awarded excellent opportunities for good photos. There were also many large species of fish around.

Bicolor Parrotfish and Sohal Surgeonfish in Egypt

We spent on average six hours per day snorkeling early in the morning and late afternoon over six days. We took approximately 8000 photos among the three dedicated snorkelers. I identified and photographed 146 species of fish (compared to the the final tally of 132 at Marsa Shagra) and saw an additional 18 lifers (over and above the 49 I saw at Marsa Shagra). We also saw many turtles and reef octopuses.

Broomtail Wrasse in Egypt

Overall, once one gets past the shock of all the people and activities in the water, snorkeling Fort Arabesque Resort was a fantastic experience with unbelievable water clarity. Right in front of the resort are many bommies, mostly in very shallow water. Further north is a very extensive reef which we swam most of the length of.

Review of Snorkeling Services at Fort Arabesque Resort

Compared to a dedicated diving resort such as Marsa Shagra Village, there are limited snorkeling services. There are just too many people to control everybody’s activities. There are however lifeguards spaced all along the coast that do try and control bad behavior by shouting and blowing whistles.

There are also roped passages between which one should snorkel when moving next to the reef. However, there is no written information in the rooms or anywhere to tell one what this means. Some of the ropes are also far away from the reef and one has to duck underneath to get some good photos. Also, people use the rope to hang on and move up and down, kicking their feet onto the reef or standing on the reef and walking along it.

The lifeguards are very strict about the time when one is allowed to go into the sea in the morning and especially when to get out. This is due to shark attacks on two tourists on an adjacent resort. We did go in the water at 07:00 in the morning as there is nothing to stop you, and usually got shouted out of the water kicking and screaming at 18:00.

There are many snorkeling, diving and general tourist excursions to nearby islands. We, however, did not partake in this due to the limited time one can spend in the water as well as the numbers of people.

We Recommend Snorkeling Fort Arabesque

Overall, snorkeling Fort Arabesque Resort was an unexpected surprise and highly recommended for any level of snorkeler. If however, you want peace and quiet – in or out of the water after 10:00 in the morning – this is not the place for you! In our opinion, the superb house reef, water clarity, diversity of fish and other reef creatures and corals more than make up for any negatives.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Delana, thank you for another great post about snorkeling in Egypt’s Red Sea, and for the colorful photos!

    Another community member posted about snorkeling Fort Arabesque Resort on this page.

    For anyone interested, here is a link to TripAdvisor’s reviews of Fort Arabesque Resort. You can help us if you use this link. We may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.


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