By Michel Kuijpers
In September 2022 we finally went snorkeling in Egypt after three missing years for obvious reasons.
We visited the Marsa Alam area, and stayed in three different spots: the Magrove Bay, Marsa Shagra Eco Lodge, and a new one for us, the Hilton Hotel el Quesir, close to Abu Dhabab. We did only shore snorkeling on the house reefs of the mentioned hotels.
We were happy to find that the coral was in an even better condition than last time we saw it, in 2019. By then there was minor coral bleaching the shallow areas, especially in Marsa Shagra. This time we noticed no bleaching at all.
Snorkeling in Egypt – Shore Access from Resorts
Mangrove Bay and Marsa Shagra are still very good places for snorkeling in Egypt. There are some more reports from me on this site on those locations, and the situation is still the same. Here are links to my previous posts: my 2019 update, my 2017 trip report, and my original 2015 post.
Mangrove Bay is very good for corals, lots of Giant Clams and very good fish diversity. Marsa Shagra is also good for corals, on average somewhat bigger fish (probably due to fishermen living in Mangrove Bay) and better chances for nice things like dolphins in the bay and small sharks, mainly White-tip Reef Shark. We saw one on this trip, and one pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. Snorkeling conditions (good visibility and no waves because it’s a very sheltered bay) are superior in Mangrove Bay.
The Hilton is a very big hotel, and unlike the other two did not cater only to divers and snorkelers, but to general tourists. The bay is a short walk from the hotel, public area and very, very busy. It’s also somewhat exposed to the wind, so a bit less comfortable for snorkeling when windy. Lots of snorkeling excursions visit the bay, but you can more or less avoid those, since most of them don’t go very far. To our surprise the coral was in a very good condition, and all the normal fish species from reefs in this area are present.
Overall, for us it was a once, but not again visit. But if you prefer a big, luxurious hotel over the small diving hotels, this is a fairly good choice for snorkeling in Egypt, we think.
Mind you, this is not the bay where the Dugongs are sighted, although the beach is called Abu Dhabab Beach. The bay with the Dugong and some Green Sea Turtles is a few miles away, easy access by boat excursion if you want to.