You won’t find colourful corals and clear water here like in the Red Sea but what you will find is some of the most interesting dives in the world. From underwater cities to palaces and wrecks, there are an estimated 7000 artefacts and monuments from the Pharonic and Roman eras that are preserved underwater here.
It’s very important that you contact the dive centre two days before you want to dive and provide them with a copy of your passport so that they can prepare all the permissions for you.
The best dive in the area is Cleopatra’s Palace in the Eastern Harbour. The city was built by Alexander the Great in 300BC and collapsed into the sea after an earthquake. There’s a statue of Mark Anthony, Cleopatra’s royal districts and sun boat and a plane wreck. Another great ruins site is Pharos Lighthouse.
To the east of the city is Abu Quir Bay and the battle of the Nile was fought here so there are a couple of wrecks. You need to be an advanced diver to do any wreck dives in the area. Beginners can enjoy diving around some ruins and a shallow wreck of an airplane from World War II, Faros Island or Lighthouse with headless statues and the ruins of an ancient lighthouse. At Omu Sukan a family of eagle rays and the occasional white tip reef shark come out to say hello.
Another special dive is at the Siwa Oasis, three hours drive from Alexandria and in the middle of the desert. This is best done on an overnight trip combined with a tour of the area where you can sand board, kite sail and experience the local Bedouin culture. Around the oasis there various springs suitable for diving, most of them about eight metres deep and containing the remains of Roman construction. The water is crystal clear and you can see a few fish in the springs as well. Very cool to be diving in the middle of the desert!
Enjoy this amazing diving experience and be sure to let us know what your favourite dive is in Alexandria.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Founded by Alexander the Great in 332BC, Alexandria is one of Egypt’s most historical cities. It sits on the Mediterranean Sea making it a great tourist destination for relaxation, interesting archaeological sites, culture and culinary delights. What secrets will you find in this city?
If you arrive in Cairo then you can catch a bus (2.5 hours, leaves every 30 mins) or train (2 hours, 3 times a day) to Alexandria. The international airport is 20 mins by taxi to the centre, be sure to agree on a price BEFORE getting into the cab. There are many international flights but flying to Cairo is usually cheaper and you can then catch a bus or train or quick domestic flight to Alexandria.
You can find a cheap double room in a hostel for about $25 for two people per night or luxury spa resorts for about $90. Prices increase the closer you get to the ocean and there are a couple of all inclusive options available as well.
There are some fascinating sites such as Quaitby Fort, which you can climb to the top of for fantastic views of the city or the Kom el Shokafa Catacombs, the largest known Roman burial grounds in Egypt. Visit the Montazah Palace and Gardens or Abu Abbas al-Mursi Mosque or one of the many museums throughout the city. Relax on the beach or take a stroll along the Corniche, a promenade along the ocean, for a great sunset.
There are loads of other things to explore in the city; it’ll take you a few days to get through them. For an extra special adventure you can dive one of the many underwater temples or cities just off the coast, something very special and not to be missed.
Head to the Corniche for cheap eats and food stalls a plenty, or the restaurant Fish Market for great food and entertainment. If you feel like going out on the town then Café Salsa is a great place for a dance and a drink. Girls, remember you’re in an Arabic country and if you don’t dress modestly you might find yourself in a little trouble so take a scarf or sarong with you to cover your shoulders on the street.
We hope you have a great time in Alexandria.
(By Kelly Luckman)