The sweeping expanse of coastline around Northern Africa hosts an incredibly varied collection of scuba diving opportunities.
From the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean on its Eastern seaboard to the tepid waters of the Red Sea along the western coast, the African continent offers an abundant number of scuba diving sites in many countries. Though the majority of the scuba diving sites in Africa are found in countries bordered by the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, some countries including Egypt offer amazing dive spots at several locations in the Red Sea.
The diving in Egypt is mainly categorized into two chief regions. The first of these is the Sinai Peninsula, a renowned hub for scuba diving in the Middle East. Apart from the dive sites, it also offers wonderful resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh and the popular Dahab, which was founded exclusively for the enjoyment of scuba divers. The second diving region is the Red Sea, which offers a number of amazing scuba dive spots and scuba diving resorts.
Apart from open water scuba diving, the country also has a variety of cave diving – even technical diving – and wreck diving destinations. Cave dives in the Red Sea include the compellingly-named “Devil’s Crack” (for advanced undersea explorers only) and the labyrinthine tunnels of St. John’s cave.
The country’s numerous famous wreck dive sites include the Thistlegorm (a veritable underwater museum of the second world war) and the legendary wreck of the steamship Dunraven. The interesting metalwork of both wrecks provides peek-a-boo views of grouper, scorpionfish, glassfish, crocodilefish and jackfish through the many ruptures in the vessels’ respective hulls. Whale sharks and turtles sometimes also make an appearance.
Morocco, Essaouira and Marrakech:
Morocco is a magnificent North African country in the African scuba diving landscape, and it boasts numerous scuba diving sites. One of the best aspects of the unique scuba dive spots in Morocco is that they don’t just offer an ultimate aquatic adventure – they’re also delightful tourist destinations during surface intervals. Scuba diving here plunks a feather into any scuba diver’s cap, and it comes with the added bonuses of tropical warm water and plenty of rare marine flora and fauna.
Morocco’s beautiful Essaouira offers excellent scuba diving holidays, trips and underwater day tours for Africa-bound scuba divers. Operators offer a range of scuba diving vacation packages (from the budget-friendly to the highly luxurious), and the well-developed infrastructure makes the trip a breeze. The Marrakech towards the southwestern parts of Morocco also offers some of the amazing diving sites of Africa. With its favorable geographical conditions in the strait of Gibraltar, it has an abundance of marine life along with some spectacular collection of gorgonian, sponge and oceanic corals.
Nigeria and Tunisia:
Nigeria is no one’s definition of a popular scuba dive destination – and that’s what makes it so special. Niger’s pleasant climate, mountainous landscape and the magnificent Niger River all attract plenty of adventure-minded tourists, but not many of them are scuba divers. Niger’s dive sites are slowly becoming more popular, as its waters still hold much undiscovered treasure, but the sites are blessedly devoid of anything resembling a crowd.
Further along Africa’s uppermost rim lies Tunisia, which adorns the northern coastline with its gorgeous beaches and sunny Mediterranean climate. Tunisia’s superb diving opportunities, including the Gulf of Hammamet and the Gulf of Gabes, encompass all age groups and experience levels. While diving, you’ll no doubt see the appeal of scuba diving in Africa: colorful fish as far as the eye can see, robust sponge, corals and, seasonally, manta rays.