In the Red Sea there are undoubtedly many places where can dive and explore the underwater world. However, only some of them are remaining wild and virtually untouched by man. An example of this is Daedalus Reef, where, in addition to various corals, small fish and crustaceans, you can admire hammerhead sharks or oceanic whitetip sharks. Daedalus Coral Reef, together with Elphinstone Reef and Brothers Islands, form the so-called Golden Triangle of the Red Sea. These places are the most visited areas by experienced divers coming to Egypt, and also the most spectacular in terms of flora and fauna.

Daedalus Coral Reef, Egypt, Red Sea
Author Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).



Daedalus Reef is one of the best diving spots in the Red Sea. It measures 400-600 meters in length (data depending on the source) and 100-150 meters in width. The reef lies in solitude and is surrounded by water that a depth reaches of about 500 meters. The site is characterized by steep walls, except on the southern side, where there is a plateau at a depth of 30-40 meters/90-130 feet. Its remote location makes that is protected from too many tourists, which contributes to the arrival of many sea creatures here. Daedalus is located within the National Marine Park. Can only dive here as part of liveaboard cruises (diving expedition during which participants can stay overnight on the ship). Diving is most often dictated by the currents, which define the direction of the reef. Very often the currents run from north to south. It is best to dive from the eastern side in the morning and finish in the late afternoon on the western side. An artificial island has been created on the reef and a lighthouse has been built, which can be visited between dives. Diving at night is forbidden, due to the rules of the marine park, which are imposed for the safety of visitors. At night are stronger currents, making diving at this time is dangerous. In Daedalus Reef are an abundance of corals, fish and crustaceans, which then attract larger fish. Its location on the open sea makes that the currents here “bring in” a lot of plankton, which is food for many of the creatures here, as well as the world’s largest fish – the whale shark, which usually comes here in July and August. Daedalus Reef is one of the best, if not the best dive site among hammerhead sharks in the Red Sea. For non-technical divers, the allowable dive depth is a maximum of 40 meters. 



Daedalus Reef is located 80 kilometers east of Marsa Alam, almost halfway between the coastlines of Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea. It is also about halfway from Sharm el Sheikh at the northern end of the sea and Egypt’s southern border with Sudan. Most Egyptian yachts depart from Port Ghalib from the city of Marsa Alam, which is the closest land port. The port can easy arrive from Marsa Alam Airport, which services flights from many major European airports. There is also the alternative of coming to Marsa Alam from the airport from Hurghada, which is apart about less a 4-hour bus ride. Cruises from the port to the reef last about 4-5 hours and usually nightowlish, in order that divers can begin to admire the beauty of the local coral reef at dawn.

Source Google Maps.



Although you can dive in Daedalus year-round, the sea is noticeably cooler from January to March. Most liveaboard cruises offer trips from mid-March to mid-December. The best time to dive Daedalus Reef is from May to July (considering weather factors). However, it is important to remember that you may not see some marine animals during these months! More about this in later part of the article.



Not everyone can dive on Daedalus. You need to have one of the certifications:

– PADI Advanced Open Water

– CMAS 2

– NAUI Experienced

– SSI Advanced Adventurer

There may be another equivalent or higher degree. You must also have at least 50 recorded dives to your account. These requirements are due to the presence of ocean currents, resulting from the location of the reef in the open sea.

Daedalus Coral Reef, Egypt, Red Sea, whitetip shark
Author Gerald Schömbs, source Unsplash.



The presence of strong currents requires of confidence and experience in navigating in this type of environment.

Currents on Daedalus can be strong, but their directions are fairly predictable. It is a good idea to take a compass with you to keep orientation in terrain.

Wearing gloves while diving is prohibited.

Be sure to bring adequate thermal protection for diving, as currents make that the deeper you go, the colder the water will be.

Enter to the Daedalus Reef marine park is paid. The price will depend on the number of days on the boat, as well as the number of dives.

You can ask your yacht rental company about the currently prevailing orders and fees on Daedalus Reef.



In the area around the reef you can see various species of sharks, such as whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks, gray sharks, and even the very rare fox shark, if you’re lucky. Except for sharks, there are many fish to see here, such as Clown Anemonefish, Moorish Idol, Dogtooth Tuna and Mackerel. In summer, there is also a chance to see whale sharks, which swim nearby, feeding on plankton.

The table below shows in which months it is best to observe a particular animal.

Animal Period
Daedalus Coral Reef, Egypt, Red Sea, whale shark and diver
Author Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).



The lighthouse was built on an artificial island in 1863. The main reason for erecting the lighthouse at this location was the collisions of several ships with the coral reef. At the southwestern end of the island, which measures 400 meters long and 100 meters wide, there are two long piers, but only one is currently in use. Boats dock here in order that tourists can enter the pier and then walk along it to the lighthouse. It measures 30 meters (98 feet) high and is painted in black and white horizontal stripes. Next to it is a 2-story accommodation building for the Egyptian Coast Guard and Navy. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1931 and a thoroughgoing renovation made in 1993. Its light can be seen from a distance of 15 nautical miles, that is nearly 30 kilometers.

Artificial island and lighthouse, Daedalus Reef, sunset
Artificial island and lighthouse, author Walter Frehner, source pixabay (photo edited).



Source Google Maps.
Two Coral Hinds cruising the reef at Daedalus Reef, Red Sea, Egypt
Author Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).



The name Daedalus was given by the British Admiralty (the name of the command of the British Royal Navy- Royal Navy). It was responsible for drawing up maps for shipping in this area. The other name of this place is Abu Kizan. It comes from the Arabic word “kizan,” which means pots. Why such naming? Well, on the northern wall of the reef is the wreck of a ship that carried mainly pots on its deck. It crashed about the coral reef and sank. Today there is almost nothing left of the wreck, as it was destroyed by the sea waves and currents.

During an evening cruise to Daedalus Reef, in the middle of the Red Sea, you can admire the beautifully starry sky. In cloudless weather, you can even see the Milky Way. 

In peak season, are moored up to 20 yachts at Daedalus Reef, and in the same time can dive 500 divers. This is worth keeping in mind, because if is more people, it is the less chance of seeing sharks.

On the Daedalus Reef is the wreck of the Zealot, which is at a depth of 80 to 120 meters. The ship was carrying cargoes of iron, which are scattered around it. The steamer sank due to bad navigation in the 1980s. The wreck is well suited for exploration by technical divers.



Seeing a herd of sharks in their natural habitat will be probably an amazing experience for any diver. The Daedalus coral reef is one of the best places in the world to observe whitetip sharks and hammerhead sharks. Mantas, known also as devilfish, can also swim over our heads. Beside including sharks and manta rays, you can search among the corals their smaller inhabitants, such as Clown Anemonefish or Moorish Idol. The reef is also inhabited by giant moray, which can measure even 250 cm in length, which like to hide and rest in rock crevices. If you have a sufficient number of recorded dives and a certificate, it is worth buying or renting a camera to take photos underwater, as the photographs which can take of the flora and fauna will be sure exceptional.  

Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).

Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).

Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).

Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).

Derek Keats, source commons.wikimedia.org (photo edited).

Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).

Gerald Schömbs, source Unsplash.

Gerald Schömbs, source Unsplash.

Gerald Schömbs, source Unsplash.

Derek Keats, source commons.wikimedia.org (photo edited).

Derek Keats, source flickr (photo edited).



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