The coral reef is a complex, exciting, alive and wonderful ecosystem, the result of the work of billions of organisms called coral polyps. The coral formations that we can admire today on these coasts appeared on the planet about 200 million years ago, feeding on unicellular algae, the zooxanthellae, which require a large amount of sunlight for the photosynthesis process which allows the calcium contained in the water of sea to fixate on the rigid structure that surrounds the polyp.
Despite the effects of global warming, Red Sea corals have developed an unusually high tolerance for extreme temperatures, salinity and the occasional turbidity, mostly caused by seasonal dust storms. Furthermore, the clarity of the water is exceptional, also due to the absence of river discharge and the low rainfall.
Of the more than 1200 recorded fish species, approximately 10% are endemic (not found elsewhere). Over 300 species of hard corals can be admired, belonging to over 50 genera, a truly unique feature of the coral reefs of the Red Sea.
Diving in Marsa Alam is famous all over the world, suitable for beginners because it offers sites that are easily accessible from still virgin bays or from private beaches, such as the famous Abu Dabbab. Entering the water from the beach allows beginners to gradually get used to the depth and find a unique variety of fish and corals even at shallow depths. For the more experienced, diving from a dinghy or boat, caves, pinnacles, drop offs, and the unmissable Elphinstone Reef, which in the autumn season offers exciting encounters with hammerhead and whitetip sharks, cannot be missed.