Sudan is a virgin territory for challenging diversDivers who choose Sudan as a diving destination will find pristine reefs that hide underwater science fiction stories like Jacques Cousteau's laboratory of Conshelf II, world class wrecks like the Umbria with 5,000 tons of aerial bombs still inside, schools of hammerhead sharks only comparable with those in Coco's Island, whale sharks, manta rays and a great variety of extraordinary reef fish.
The exploration of the underwater world present in the Sudan seas has caught the imagination of divers since the time of Cousteau and other international pioneers, like Hans Hass, who came here to set up their scientific and cinematic expeditions bringing back with them extraordinary images and information about these depths. There is no organized tourism in the Sudan or any tourist office capable of satisfying the demands of underwater diving enthusiasts, so the only way to do any underwater exploring in these parts is by embarking on a cruise.
We started organizing cruises in this area some years ago and have found that the seabeds are everything that one could hope for: limpid waters allow for the coral to develop freely and exuberantly, shoals of barracuda and carangidae swim about just a few metres from the surface, and a great many sharks concentrate in such ideal underwater diving areas as Shaab Rumi, north of Port Sudan where embarcation takes place.
The most interesting underwater diving stop after leaving Port Sudan behind, is the Umbria, an Italian ship that sank rather than fall into enemy hands. The wreck can also be explored on the inside and four Fiat Balillas, meant for the Italian contingent in East Africa, can be seen in one of the holds. The route continues northward to Sanganeb, where a towering lighthouse was built on the heel of an enormous circular reef. It is easy to see barracuda, carangidae and sharks in any underwater expedition here. Still further north, at North Shaab Rumi, hammer sharks, albimarginatus and manta rays can be approached. It was at the entrance of the pass to this enormous circular reef that, in 1964, Cousteau began his Pre-Continent II experiment.
Some of the most popular dive sites in Sudan includes;
Angarosh - is a site which normally enjoys impressive visibility upwards of 25m on average.Experienced divers enjoy the deep diving opportunity that Angarosh presents, approximately 12 km east of Mukawwar Island. It therefore lends itself to a deep dive profile, sinking deep initially and then working your way slowly shallower close to the reef. The topography consists of a deep plateau of between 40 and 55m and a reef which rises to about 10m at its shallowest point,
Cousteau's Conshelf (aka Precontinent II) - As a shallow site you may be diving here either in the daytime or as a night dive. Either way it is fascinating and a real piece of scuba diving history.This is one of Sudan's best known dive sites and one of the most bizarre ones you will likely ever encounter. While many places claim to have rent-a-quote Cousteau's special seal of approval, this site is one he actually selected as a location for one of his 'underwater living' project.
Sanganeb Reef - Large schools of barracuda, jacks and snappers are regularly seen. Sharks you might spot include whitetips and grey reef sharks and, if you are lucky, hammerheads can be seen in deeper sections of the blue. Rising from the depths of the sea, Sanganeb Reef is something of a hotspot for nutrient-rich upwellings that beckon all the marine life from the surrounding area. Britannia no longer rules the waves here and beneath them it is the pelagics who are clearly in charge.Your approach to this dive site is heralded by the site of an impressive erection in the form of a grey stone British-built lighthouse. Sudan was granted independence from Britain only in 1956 and you can scale this imperial relic during your surface interval.
The Toyota Wreck (aka the Blue Belt Wreck) - The picture of this dive site is quite unique. The wreck lies upside down on an incline from 20m to a maximum of about 36m with vehicles scattered all around the slope. This cargo ship sank in 1977 with its load of cars, trucks, tractors and spare parts, which explains the automotive moniker. In a vain attempt the refloat the vessel, the cargo was removed to the surrounding sea bed. You can penetrate the hull and swim the full length of the ship emerging near the bow which is a fun swimthrough, even if there is not a huge amount to see inside.
The Umbria wreck - Reputedly the ship sank with some 350,000 bombs on board and you can see stacks of them in the hold, but it is the cargo of trucks that many scuba divers find most interesting and reminiscent of the Thistlegorm to which the Umbria is often compared. The wreck is bejewelled with encrusting algae, sponges, corals and featherstars. Scuttled by the Italians to avoid letting it get into the hands of the British, the Umbria sank still loaded with a huge cargo of bombs and weaponry. Marine life that call The Umbria home include innumerable cleaner shrimps, a large school of snappers, circling spiney fish, butterflyfish and barracudas.This site is deservedly considered to be one of the finest wreck dives in the world and one of the jewels in the crown of Sudanese diving.Lying in shallow water with a maximum depth of 35m and a minimum of only 5m, The Umbria has become completely "marinated" and you have plenty of bottom time in which to explore. This Italian war supply vessel was built in 1912 in Hamburg and met its watery fate in 1940 when enroute to Eritrea.
- 7 nights / 6 days: Euro 195
- 10 nights / 9 days or 11 nights / 10 days: Euro 240
Other useful information:
Best time do dive this destination: You can dive all year round in Sudan, however, the conditions vary from time to time during the year. Hammerhead season is supposed to be from January to April, whereas mantas are mostly spotted between August and October. Most sharks have no defined season and can be seen at any time during the year. Manta period normally between September to early November
Third bed reduction in triple cabin: - 50 %
Supplement suite cabin: Euro 30 per night per cabin
Water Temperature: Water temperatures will be the highest between June and September when yo ucan expect water temperatures frmo 31-33°C. The coolest water temperatures ormally occur between December to March when it drops down to between 24-27°C. The Sudan Red Sea also will be less affected by the wind which you have further orth, giving calmer sea conditions. November to February are known to be the months with more unsettled surface conditions.
Currents: Usually mild but can be strong
Visibility: The dry season (November to June) generally have better visibility than the rainy season (May to October) and normally the visibility will be between 10 - 35m. .
Minimum required number of passengers: 8
Visa and entry regulations: Visa arranged upon arrival (just send copy of passport at time of booking (rates vary from nationality to nationality but normally USD155)
To see the yachts specifications - click here
To see the dive map for this cruise - click here
See our video from this destination
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