The Middle East is a rich region, blessed with all kinds of different environments and ecosystems, best known for breathe taking beaches and amazing marine life.
Facing three different seas, the countries in the region host unique marine biodiversity across different locales that take visitors’ breath away in an instant, however, we’re going to focus on one specific creature that lives within these crystal clear waters, sea turtles.
In celebration of World Sea Turtles Day, we got you six amazing diving spots within the region, where you can enjoy the company of these interesting reptiles.
Egypt’s eastern coast on the Red Sea is chock-full of sea turtle sightings, especially during the summer, all the way from Hurghada going south along the coast into Sudan and beyond.
That said, we have a couple of diving spots that are perfect for those who want to hang loose with the sea turtles.
Shark & Yolanda
Situated at the bottom tip of the Sinai peninsula, it ranks in many top ten lists as one of the best places to dive in the world.
Diving in the area usually starts at Anemone City, which is a frequent spot for turtle sightings during the summer before heading onto the colorful reefs in Yolanda.
The area there has an impressive and diverse ecosystem with several kinds of different sharks, snappers, barracudas, and of course, turtles.
Khaled Fahmy, a diving instructor with over 25 years of experience, recommended the spot for all kinds of divers as it has a little bit of everything for everyone.
“The area is a magical place with wonderful and amazing things to see there, colorful reefs, sea turtles, and an impressive underwater drop-off,” stated Fahmy.
Jackson Reef near Tiran Island
The most famous diving spot near Tiran island, it’s an incredible place to enjoy the crystal clear waters and amazing marine life; however, the underwater currents can be a bit too strong for some beginners.
There’s so much to see there! Spotted stingrays, a chubby tiger shark that makes an appearance every once in a while named Obelix, a school of hammerhead sharks, and the chill sea turtles.
You’ll most likely see the turtles chilling among the ruby red reefs feeding on sponges or flowing along with the currents like a scene out of “Finding Nemo.”
Moving away from the Red Sea and towards the east of the Arabian peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman has been known for years as a haven for sea turtles. There you’ll find five of the world’s seven species of sea turtles, making it perfect for those who love turtle watching.
The species are the hawksbill, loggerhead, green, leatherback, and olive ridley sea turtles.
Ras Al-Hadd & Ras Al-Jinz
People from far and wide converge on Ras Al-Jinz, where they can go to the turtle reserve where they have the opportunity to go on planned trips that observe mommy turtles as they lay their eggs and make their way over the sandy beach to the warm waters.
The area is famous for its turtles’ nesting areas, and while people love watching them laying their eggs at sea, others take to the roaring seas, where they dive and observe the different species of turtles in their natural habitat.
It’s a unique experience and definitely a memorable one; especially since you can watch the gigantic Green turtles glide in the calm waters of Oman.
Nine islands 18 kilometers off the coast, they’re astonishing and a must-go if you’re in Oman; no matter what time of the year it is. The islands and their surrounding waters are full of different kinds of marine wildlife and are home to two species of sea turtles.
Diving in the area, you can swim next to the endangered Hawksbill sea turtles and the Green turtles, who are also nesting on the islands!
This opportunity makes it perfect for an underwater picture or just admiring them from afar in order not to disturb them; that said, be advised that you might not have access to the islands themselves as it’s a protected site for the rare and endangered birds nesting there.
United Arab Emirates
Another country that has access to the same five of the seven endangered sea turtles is none other than the UAE.
Home to the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, it helps rescue and offers veterinarian support for the reptiles under the auspices of Dubai’s Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
One of the best diving spots in the UAE, it’s also a beautiful location for turtle lovers everywhere because you’ll find them swimming and lounging around at the nearby corals. It’s really hard to miss, especially with the huge Dibba Rock marking its location.
The spot is also home to all kinds of marine wildlife, including black tip sharks, giant pufferfish, lionfish, parrotfish, and whale sharks too, so maintain safety measures when near some of them since a couple of them are venomous.
3 Rocks (Sharm Rock)
Made out of three giant rocks hence the name, the place is full of gorgeous things to see, including the friendly jawfish with which you can play some games, Parrot fish, and the stars of our article, sea turtles!
The turtles in the area are attracted to the beautiful corals, where they feed on the surrounding algae and seagrass, making them easier to find.
Similar to the Dibba Rock situation, you should be careful when diving in the area since there are poisonous fish in the area, including the giant pufferfish, so approach with care.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t Forget… Egypt Uncovers 250 Sarcophagus & 150 Statues From 500 B.C.