SUDAN DIVE SITES INFORMATION
Diving in Sudan is like plunging into the pages of diving history – here you can explore the remains of Jacques Cousteau's legendary Conshelf II underwater living environment, follow the route of his maiden voyage aboard Calypso, visit reefs immortalized by Hans Hass in his groundbreaking 1951 film “Adventure in the Red Sea” and dive on World War II wrecks such as the Umbria. The profuse, perfectly preserved reef here give new meaning to the term ‘coral garden’ with schooling fish in copious numbers. The heart-pounding possibility of meeting the sharks for which the area is famed, and a dazzling display of every type of tropical Reef fish under the sun. Waters are clear and warm, and the complexities of arranging a dive trip here mean that you have all this splendour to yourself with none of the crowding of the Northern Red Sea.
Quantity vies with quality when it comes to fish life in Sudanese waters. Along with a truly phenomenal density of all manner of Schooling fish, you will find a huge variety of reef species including angelfish, banner fish, moray eels, big grouper, lyre tail cod, huge parrot fish, butterflies, spotted stingrays, titan trigger fish and many more.
Off the reef, barracuda compete for your attention with grey Reef and hammerhead sharks, devil rays and mantas, turtles cruise majestically by, while nurse and leopard sharks wait patiently on the bottom. In many ways, the fish and other Marine Animals of Sudan’s waters are the crowning jewel of the Red Sea Nowhere else does such profusion and diversity exists.
This is another flat-topped “cake” reef, with sheer sided drop-offs on the three sides of a small cay and a sloping plateau on the fourth side. On the south Fish life is equally exciting, along with the full complement of reef species there are massive numbers of pelagic fishes here. Chief among these are the immense schools of barracuda that can commonly be seen off the reef in dense congregations of several hundred individuals.
SHA'AB RUMI EAST - THE CONSHELF SITE
If there is a holy grail of Sudanese diving this is probably it – The site of Jacques Cousteau's legendary 1963 Conshelf II Experiment, familiar to millions the world over from the award- swimming film “ le monde sans soleil”.
More than any other Sudanese site, this spot captures the imagination . It is not hard to see why, as you dive through the Thirty-nine-years-old remains of Cousteau's underwater village.
SHA'AB RUMI SOUTH:
This is perhaps the most famous in Sudan. The site begins with a rich inshore mini-wall, dropping to nearly 15m at the reef’s southern edge. To the east and west, sheer walls drop vertically for hundreds of metres, while a flat plateau slopes gently southward from around 20m to a depth of 30m, before dropping off into the depths.
The entire reef is covered in incredible profuse coral. Soft varieties and gorgonians dominate, but the reef encompasses virtually every Red Sea species. Given the phenomenal richness of this habitat, it is no surprise to find a matching superabundance of reef fish. Off the reef , the fish circus continues, with amazing pelagic displays that can include big pick handle barracuda in their hundreds, jacks, tuna, and the virtual certainty of lots of sharks, including grey reefs, silvertips, black tips and above them the exotic hammerheads. A shark cage looms at 20m, left behind by the Conshelf expedition.
SANGANEB NORTH AND SOUTH:
If it were possible to give a dive site 20 stars, this site would get them. This is the epitome of red Sea Diving. It consists of an unbelievably rich tower of brilliant pristine coral, rising through hundreds of metres of clear blue sea. The entire site is blanketed in reef fish, while silvery pelagics, from jacks to huge Hammerheads, spin round the reef in a shimmering orbit.
Topographically, SANGANEB is a huge offshore tower reef rising from a seabed over 800 m deep. The dive site is on the reef’s southern tip, just offshore from the lighthouse. A shallow reef top, only a few centimetres deep, is packed with vivid corals. Sheer vertical walls plunge from the reef top to immense depths on almost all sides. The plateau is the centre point for Sanganeb dives. It is carpeted in soft corals interspersed with heads and pinnacles of mixed hard corals. This side is regarded by many divers, with good reason, as possibly the finest coral site in the Red Sea.
The reef fish here defy description and you can find examples of almost any coral species you choose to name. But, rich as the reef life may be, it is the action offshore that really distinguishes Sanganeb: A never ending procession of pelagic life to rival any site in this or any other sea. Sharks, including black tips, grey reef’s, silvertips and immense hammerheads, all appear in bewildering numbers.
Sanganeb has a manned lighthouse complete with keepers. The Sudanese navy is also often in residence, in the form of patrol crews. Both keepers and military personnel will no doubt be glad to see you, but remember to treat them with respect. It is their turf and you are here as visitor.
This historic wreck is one of the Sudanese Red Sea’s real treasures and ranks among the finest wreck dives in the world. With a maximum depth of less than 28m, she is shallow by most wreck diver’s standard, and at her shallowest point she actually breaks the surface. The Umbria lies on her port side. The hull is still completely intact, although heavily encrusted. It can be explored both internally and externally along its entire length.
BEST TIME OF DIVING:
Feb - beginning of June max & from mid Sept - December.
SAFARI: VERY FEW IF ANY safari boats operate from mid June - mid September
Best Visibility: March - end of May
Best time to see Sharks: October to June
Best time to see Manta Rays: mid Sept - mid Nov]
Sudan is known to have some of the world's best diving. Famous for it's schools of hammerheads and large pelagics it also has fantastic walls, wrecks and fish and corals of every colour, size and description. It truly is every divers dream.