Is snorkeling in Egypt dangerous?

Some time ago we made an article about the possibilities of snorkeling in Egypt (Red Sea). From questions we had about the dangers of snorkeling in the Red Sea near Egypt we conclude that there are many questions about the safety of swimming and snorkeling in the Red Sea. “Is snorkeling in Egypt dangerous?” or “what about dangerous animals and sharks in Egypt?” are common questions. There are indeed some risks involved in entering the Red Sea on the Egyptian coast, but is snorkeling in Egypt really that dangerous? A few examples.

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Is snorkeling in Egypt really that dangerous?

Gevaarlijke dieren in de Rode Zee bij Egypte

Egypt, especially the area near Marsa Alam and Hurghada, is a hugely popular vacation destination for sun worshippers, snorkelers and scuba divers. This is not surprising because the sun shines on average 365 days a year and the underwater world is breathtaking from just a few meters from the beach. The coral reefs along the coast are home to a huge variety of fish, turtles, octopuses, rays and more. When you walk into the sea you will soon see the necessary fish swimming around your legs. If you go snorkeling, there is actually a lot to see from the first few meters.

Along the coast of the Red Sea are many coral reefs where it is teeming with life. Many of the animals are not dangerous, but still it is a bit careful, because snorkeling in Egypt has some dangers and risks. There are certainly some dangerous animals. Some of the animals along the Egyptian coast near Marsa Alam and Hurghada that are not entirely harmless we have described in this article.

The chance that you will encounter these animals along the coast and in the coral reefs while snorkeling in Egypt is high. To prevent problems, ‘respect’ remains the magic word. You determine (to a large extent) to what extent snorkeling in Egypt is dangerous.

You enter the domain of these sea dwellers. So just keep your distance and don’t rush them. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone too. This also applies to the friendly giants, the turtles. While snorkeling you will probably also encounter huge turtles. These animals don’t do anything at all. You can get pretty close to them and swim with them for a while. At most they will keep an eye on you but won’t do anything. Still, they can bite, so again… don’t hunt them down and keep a proper distance. You sometimes see people who find it necessary to touch or hold the turtles in order to get in front of them. Apart from the fact that you shouldn’t do this, snorkeling with these friendly giants can become dangerous. You can only blame yourself for a ride to the hospital.

Sharks in Egypt / Red Sea

You don’t have to worry about the animals you encounter, as long as you keep an appropriate distance and let them have their way. But… There are also different species of sharks living there. Some of the shark species that live here off the coast can be dangerous for people snorkeling. Near Marsa Alam and Hurghada near the coast of Egypt live among others reef sharks, bull sharks and hammerheads.

You don’t have to worry too much about sharks, but it does happen occasionally that people are attacked by sharks. Snorkeling near the places Marsa Alam and Hurghada in Egypt can therefore certainly be dangerous.

In the summer of 2018 a tourist was attacked by a bull shark just off the coast of Marsa Alam. This tourist did not survive the attack. This was a few hundred meters from where we were snorkeling a few weeks later. This gave a special feeling, especially because we were snorkeling with our family. I myself kept a close eye on the rest of the family and the surroundings.

Never go snorkeling alone, that makes it less dangerous!
It is therefore not advisable to go snorkeling on your own, even though the chance of encountering an aggressive shark is not so great. Four eyes see more than two and six more than four. Always stay together. It is always wise to bring something that you can use to sting a curious shark if it gets too close.
It is unwise to go snorkeling alone. Besides the animals that can be dangerous, you can also get cramps or other problems. You should always be able to fall back on someone who swims with you.

As a diver you are safe from sharks, but as a snorkeler a meeting with a shark can be a bit more annoying. Because you float on the surface while snorkeling, sharks tend to attack you more quickly because they see you as prey. So you always have to pay attention to what is swimming around you.

So is snorkeling in Egypt dangerous?

Snorkeling, swimming and diving in Egypt at Marsa Alam and Hurghada is not really dangerous as long as you treat the animals with respect and keep your distance. So it is not without danger, there are sharks swimming and attacking people, which also happens sometimes. Still, the chance of encountering a shark is not that big. If you look at the number of people who enter the sea in Egypt every year and how few people encounter a shark… then it’s not all that bad… But of course there is a chance…

Snorkeling in Egypt dangerous? When you keep your distance and don’t just go snorkeling it’s okay, but it’s not completely harmless.
You largely decide how dangerous snorkeling at Hurghada and Marsa Alam is, so keep your head… don’t get overconfident… respect the animals and coral