Hamata is the Wild Wild South and the furthest land based spot of Egyptian diving in the Red Sea. It is situated right next to one of the less spoiled coral reefs called Fury Shoals. There are walls and coral gardens, shallow and deep dive sites full of small and big marine life, including such predators as Hammerhead Shark and Grey Reef Shark.
You can also use Hamata as a departure gate to the fascinating southern Egyptian liveaboard destinations: St. John’s, Zabargad, and Rocky Island.
Hamata is a less known quiet and peaceful destination in the southern part of Egypt which is located 190km (118mi) to the south from more popular Marsa Alam. There is no airport in Hamata. So you can choose either to arrive at Marsa Alam International airport with the following 2.5 hours transfer by a car, a minivan or a bus; or you can arrive in Hurghada International Airport. But you should then get ready to travel another 5 hours in a vehicle to get from Hurghada to Hamata.
The area of Hamata stretches for 60km (37mi) along the Red Sea southern coast, and it includes Wadi Lahami, Lahami Bay, and Hamata Port.
Fury Shoals represents a chain of reefs on a shelf along the coastline of Hamata. This area has more than 35 rarely visited spectacular dive destinations. Usually, they can be reached within 1-2 hour boat transfer from Hamata.
Each diver can find something interesting according to his or her level of experience. Beginners can enjoy the House Reef of Hamata; fantastic underwater gardens of Shaab Sataya where dolphins can be spotted during diving or snorkeling; and Anemone city of the Coral Garden dive site. Shaab Sataya is often chosen as a night dive destination.
More experienced divers are welcomed to discover caves at Shaab Claudio; walls and drifts in Shaab Said and Shaab Maksur; and wreck diving at Abu Galawa Kebir. Generally, currents are medium in the area. However, there are a few dive spots where you can come across strong currents especially in winter months.
Currently, there are 4 dive clubs in the area of Hamata: Aquarius Diving Club, Extra Divers, Barakuda Diving Center, and Orca Dive Club. Barakuda Diving Center and Orca Dive Center are located in the beachfront Resorts. They provide mainly daily diving and snorkeling services. Extra Divers are situated in the marina of Port Ghalib and they are offering daily diving and snorkeling services. Aquarius Diving Club can be found near the marina of Port Ghalib. You can organize daily diving tours and a safari on a liveaboard with them. If needed, the clubs are ready to provide daily transfers from your accommodation as well as airport transfers.
Best Dive Sites Overview
If the sea conditions allow you can explore this dive site located within 50-minute boat transfer from Hamata. The reef starts from the surface and it drops down to 40m (131ft.) in the eastern part. There is a canyon in the middle of the reef full of hard and soft corals. Among the big inhabitants, you can expect Grey Reef Shark, Whitetip Reef Shark, and Turtle.
Shaab Maksur looks similar to the famous Elphinstone Reef and it is recommended only for advanced divers. The reef starts at about 6m and there are 2 pinnacles going down to a plateau at 18m (59ft.) with the following drop-off to 90m (295ft.). Both eastern and western sides are magnificent walls. Deep blue waters around the reef and the current attract pelagic and large underwater creatures. You might see Hammerhead Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Manta, Turtle and occasional Whale Shark. Dolphins are regularly spotted from the surface, though it’s hard to come across them during the dives.
Shaab Sataya and Erg Sataya
This is a perfect dive site for all levels, underwater photography and night dives as the larger part of the reef is flat and it is located in shallow waters. The reef consists of a great variety of soft corals like Anemones filled with Clownfish, Bubble corals, Tree Corals; and hard corals like Yellow Hard Scroll Coral, Brain Coral, Finger Corals, and many others. The usual residents of this area are Fusiliers, Snappers, Trevally, Pufferfish, Surgeonfish, Unicornfish, Stonefish, Scorpionfish, and Morays. You might be lucky to come across Dolphins in Shaab Sataya.
Erg Sataya is another part of this dive site. It is a pinnacle which is located apart from the main reef formation. Between April and June, it is possible to see schools of Hammerheads which hunt for the schools of Mackerel.
It will take you about 1.30 hour by a boat transfer to get to this dive site. Shaab Claudio is full of coral gardens and pinnacles. At the depth of 14m (45ft.), you will find a cave with several entry points. There is plenty of light getting in that is why this place is loved by underwater photographers. You can discover Bluespotted Stingrays, Lionfish, and Big Morays inside the cave. Often Napoleons are patrolling the area.
Shaab Claudio can be combined with the other 2 dive spots here: Shaab Ini and Shaab Gannah. The latter can be reached only in good sea condition that is why it has preserved the pristine reef.
All of these dive sites are recommended for advanced divers as there can be strong currents and waves.
Gotta Aby Diab
In order to get to this dive site, you will need to travel more than 2 hours by the boat from Hamata Port. It can be visited only by experienced divers as the steep drop off goes to more than 100m (328ft.) down. But it is worth visiting in order to spot big schools of Hammerhead Sharks, Oceanic Whitetip Reef Shark, Thresher Shark, and Grey Reef Shark.
Abu Galawa Kibeer (Tienstin Wreck)
Tien Hsing also known as Tienstin used to be a 35m (114ft.) long steam vessel. She was traveling from Suez when she sank in 1943. Now it is a wonderful artificial reef inhabited by different corals, macro life, Glassfish, Giant Morays, and other creatures. Napoleons and Whitetip Reef Sharks are often seen near the wreck.
The upper part of the wreck starts just below the surface going down to 18m (59ft.). If you have a specialty you can penetrate the wreck through the engine room and the pilothouse. The dive site can be reached in 80 minutes by the boat from Hamata.
If you are travelling from Hamata on a liveaboard than St. John’s might be one of your destinations. This group of reefs is located in the deep waters not far from the border with Sudan. The place is famous for Black Coral, Giant Sea Fans, and large pelagic and predators like Hammerhead Shark, Silvertip Shark, Grey Reef Shark, and Manta.
This is another liveaboard destination in the Deep South of Egypt. A standalone reef is covered with beautiful corals. It is common to see Whitetip Reef Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Turtle, and Manta in the deep waters around the Island.
Best Dive Season
You can dive at Hamata all the year round. May, June, and September are the most pleasant months as it is not too hot and there are no cold winds which are typical for the period between December and March.
The water temperature stays between 22-28°C (71-82°F) during all the year. The coldest months are December-March. It might be a good idea to dive in 5mm wetsuit with a hood as well as to take some warm clothes aboard to hide you from the chilly winds during this period.
If you are diving during the summer months, especially in July-August, when air temperature can get more than 40°C (104°F) in Hamata, it is better to avoid staying in the sun and to drink plenty of water between and after the dives due to fast dehydration. For summer months, 3mm wetsuit is recommended to protect you from the coral cuts.
The Deep South of Egypt possesses the healthiest soft and hard coral systems in the Egyptian Red Sea. There are more than 80 species of corals found in this area.
Macro life consists of a large variety of Crustaceans, Nudibranchs, Ghost Pipefish, Seahorse, and many others. Fish fascinates by their colors, shades, and forms. Among the most common species, there are Hawkfish, Grouper, Unicorn, Sweetlip, Wrasse, Goatfish, Fusiliers, Surgeonfish, Pufferfish, Angelfish, Lionfish, Napoleon, and Barracuda. Morays are mainly represented by Snowflake, Grey, and Brown spotted Moray. Among rays, there is a high chance of seeing Bluespotted Stingray, Giant Ray, and Eagle Ray and on some occasions, you might see Manta Ray and Red Sea Torpedo Ray.
The most typical sharks which inhabit the area of Hamata are Grey Reef Shark, Whitetip, and Blacktip Reef Sharks. Upon arrival of Mackerel, Jacks, and Tuna especially during the months of May-August there is a chance to come across Hammerhead Shark, Silver Shark, Thresher Shark, and Oceanic Whitetip Shark.
Hamata is still a hidden destination, less famous that other Egyptian coastal towns. You can hardly find a traditional center of the town as there are no crowds and little people most of the time. Hamata makes you assimilate to nature and tune to relaxation. There are not many accommodations there. Most of the restaurants, cafes, and accommodations are located near the marina of Port Ghalib. There are also 2 resorts along the coastline. It should be noted that in the case of low occupancy some of the facilities at the coastal resorts can be closed.
The Palace Port Ghalib
If you wish to relax in a 5-star award-winning Deluxe Hotel then The Palace Port Ghalib is the best place for you. The guests can choose from Deluxe Rooms and Multi Types Suites. The Hotel owns a private beach with water sports center on site.
The facilities also include a restaurant, a bar, a pool, tennis court, sauna, fitness center, Hammam, Spa, and Children’s playground. It is possible to organize diving and snorkeling trips at the Hotel.
Rehana Royal Port Ghalib Resort
The main theme of 5-star Rehana Royal Port Ghalib Resort is water. It is located in Port Ghalib. There are 3 pools and one of them is heated which is great especially during the winter months. You can choose to accommodate in Rooms, Suites or Apartments with beautiful views over pools or the Red Sea. Youngsters can enjoy an Aqua Park, Kid’s club, and a playground. The facilities of the Resort also include 3 restaurants, bars, Spa, and tennis court. Among the provided services there are belly-dancing lessons, camel and horse riding, and karting. Diving and snorkeling trips can also be organized there.
Siva Port Ghalib
This is another 5-star resort located in Port Ghalib. The Resort is surrounded by the waters of sea lagoon. It offers Rooms and Suites. The facilities include a pool, a sun terrace, restaurants, bars, a tennis court, billiards, Spa, a fitness center, a library, and children’s playground.
Wadi Lahmy Azur Resort
This is a 4-star Resort which offers a large number of rooms with an all-inclusive package. All rooms have either a terrace or a balcony, private bathrooms, coffee and tea making facilities and air-conditioning. The House Reef is located just in front of the Resort. The Orca Dive Club with a fleet of 2 boats is situated on the territory of the hotel and they provide a full range of daily diving and snorkeling services.
Lahami Bay Beach Resort
The Resort offers rooms in 2-floor buildings either with half board or full board packages. Each room has a terrace or a balcony and a spacious living room. There is a Spa, a gym, a tennis court and a pool with the swim-in bar on the territory of the Resort. Daily diving services are provided by Barakuda Diving Centre located onsite.
As Deep South of Egypt is famous for its standalone reefs in deep waters closer to the border with Sudan the only way to get to such destinations as St. John’s, Rocky Island or Zabargad is by a liveaboard.
Itineraries usually cover the main dive sites at Brothers, Daedelus, St. John’s Reef, Rocky Island and Fury Shoals during the 7-day safari. Some of the boats leave from Hamata while others start from Marsa Alam or Hurghada. The package usually includes accommodation, all meals, beverages, tanks, weights, and 3-4 dives a day. Sometimes you can even make an unlimited number of dives as liveaboards allow stationing of a large number of tanks aboard. However, you should pay careful attention to depth limits and intervals between the dives. There are several decompression chambers located in Marsa Alam and Hamata.
Due to strong currents and deep waters, the divers on board are required to have at least 30 logged dives. Experience in drift dives is highly recommended. You should be ready to enter the dive sites from Zodiacs.
The most famous fleets servicing the Southern Egyptian destinations are Emperor Fleet (Emperor Elite, Emperor Asmaa, Emperor Superior, Snefro Target, Snefro Spirit, Snefro Love, King Snefro 5&6); Sea Serpent Fleet (M/Y Grand Sea Serpent, M/Y Sea Serpent, M/Y Obsession, M/Y Excellence, M/Y Miss Nouran, M/Y Dreams, M/Y Contessa Mia); Aggressor Fleet (Red Sea Aggressor); Sea Queen Fleet (South Moon); Scuba Adventure Fleet (M/Y Voyager, M/Y Miss Veena, M/Y Aldebaran); Blue o Two Fleet (M/Y Blue Fin, M/Y Blue Melody, M/Y Blue Horizon).
To order a liveaboard you need to contact the representatives of the fleets. An office of Emperor Fleet is located in the marina of Port Ghalib. Aquarius Diving Club is located close to the marina as well and it offers standard 7-day itineraries as well as mini itineraries in Deep South during 2-3 days.
Emperor Elite is one of the best custom-designed vessels of Emperor Fleet. Her length is 38m (124ft.). The liveaboard is ready to take aboard 24 guests. You can choose between 11 Standard Cabins and 1 Master Suite. There is a flat-screen media player, a hairdryer, and a mini-bar in each room. Bathrobes and towels are provided for the comfort of guests. The dives are performed from Zodiacs while you will find plenty of space on the dive deck. After dives, you can relax on one of the 3 decks.
M/Y Grand Sea Serpent
She is a luxury liveaboard being part of Sea Serpent Fleet. The length of the boat is 41m (134ft.) and she is one of the fastest boats in the Red Sea. The liveaboard can accommodate up to 24 guests in 2 Suits and 10 Cabins. Each cabin has a large en-suite bathroom, fridge and music player. Bathrobes and towels are provided for free. There are a separate lounge and dining room, several sun decks, and a library aboard. The meals are served as an open buffet with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. The boat features all the necessary equipment for recreational and technical diving, including Nitrox and Rebreathers.
Red Sea Aggressor
This is a 5-star liveaboard from the world’s famous Aggressor Fleet. The length of the vessel is 36m (118ft.). She can service up to 20 passengers in 7 Deluxe Staterooms and 3 Master Staterooms. There is Jacuzzi, a bar, photo and video center aboard. The home port of the vessel is Port Ghalib. The packages usually include up to 5 daily dives, accommodation, meals, free wine and beer. If you arrive in Marsa Alam, the package will also cover transfers to and from the airport.
One of the best liveaboards of Scuba Adventure Fleet is a 40m (131ft.) long M/Y Voyager. Up to 25 guests can be accommodated in 1 Suite, 2 Double Bed Cabins, 1 Bunk Bed Cabin, 1 Triple Cabin, and 7 Deluxe Double Cabins. Towels and bathrobes are provided in en-suite bathrooms in each of the cabins. Meals are served as an open buffet accompanied by free non-alcoholic drinks. The vessel features 4 decks.
M/Y Blue Horizon
M/Y Blue Horizon is a flagman 5-star liveaboard of the Blue o Two Fleet. She is 38m (124ft.) long. There can be accommodated up to 26 guests in 3 Double Cabins and 10 Twin Cabins. The liveaboard has 4 decks, including a spacious diving deck. The itineraries to the Deep South usually start from Port Ghalib.
Other Activities For Non-Divers
The area of Hamata is famous for both diving and snorkeling opportunities. Lahami Bay is the best place for snorkeling as the reef is located right next to the beach. You can swim over beautiful coral formations taking special care during swim throughs in order not to be cut by the corals. In areas with the sea grass, you can try to find tiny Seahorses. If you go to Shaab Sataya you might be lucky to snorkel among Dolphins.
Hamata became famous for great kitesurfing. There is a special Kite-Village which provides the full range of services for kitesurfers. Every March they hold Seaman Race Festival. Facilities include different water sports, a bar, a lounge, a massage area, WCs, and showers. The Kite-Village also provides stand-up paddles and wakeboards. The center can organize a safari in the desert and birds watching tours.