Scuba Diving in Sudan

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Scuba Diving Locations - Scuba Diving in Sudan
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 00:54

While the diving in Sudan is among some of the best in the world, it is really not a place that many people think of when they decide to go on a pleasant holiday to relax and take in some of nature’s beauty.  The combination of genocide, political unrest, and the problems with violence and possible terrorism has made Sudan an unlikely holiday spot.  However, the waters in this area are interesting and ripe for exploration, and because of the low numbers of holiday makers in the area it means there are fewer tourists to contend with.  This can be a valuable scuba diving destination for those who are dedicated to exploration of the waters and are willing to go to the area despite its problems.


Diving Map of Sudan

Diving Map of Sudan


Another thing that has long attracted divers to Sudan, despite its ongoing problems is the wealth of marine life and interesting diving locations that are available.  These waters are definitely something that should not be overlooked by serious divers who are truly interested in diving in some of the most appealing waters in the area.  Plus, depending on the time of year you go, you will have the chance to see the amazing sights of hammerhead sharks and manta rays.  There are diving locations available for every experience level, so it doesn’t matter if you are a novice diver who just wants to explore somewhere new and interesting, or an experienced diver who is looking for the latest adventure, you will surely find something that fits the bill in Sudan.


Diving Wrecks in Sudan

One of the most famous wrecks in the world to explore is found in Sudan.   is a ship that was originally used as a freighter after being built in 1912.  During the Second World War the ship was being used by the Italians to transport bombs and other war-time munitions.  The British realised the ship was probably being used to transport weaponry so decided to impound the Umbria, but when they ordered its surrender the Italians decided instead to sink the ship rather than let it fall into the hands of the British.  The weapons (and all other cargo) remained onboard when it sank, and this includes an estimated three hundred and fifty thousand bombs.   The ship can be easily explored in a single dive, but there is enough in the area to keep you busy for hours.  One of the most interesting things about the Umbria is the way in which it has become an integral part of the sea life in the area.  It has been called one of the best ship dives in the entire world, and it is definitely worthy of this title.


 The Umbria Wreck

The Umbria Wreck


Another interesting dive in the area is the Blue Belt cargo ship.  The Blue Belt sank in 1977 while carrying a load of cars, tractors, trucks, and other various assembly parts for Toyota, and now lies upside down.  That is why this wreck is also known by some as the “Toyota Wreck.”  The ship sank because it was trying to fit through a gap in a reef that was too small for such a large cargo ship.  It’s rumoured that this happened because the crew of the ship were smuggling other goods, but the true cause of the reef passage may never be known.  The cargo was removed and scattered around the ship in order to try to refloat the vessel, but this attempt ultimately met with failure.  However, the one thing that it did do by removing the cargo was to make the wreck that much more interesting.  You can also penetrate the wreck through an opening that can be found in the hull.  This will allow you to swim through the wreck until you emerge around the bow of the ship.  In total, this dive has all of the intriguing aspects of a wreck dive and attracts many serious divers each year.


The Blue Belt Wreck

The Blue Belt Wreck


Best Time to Dive in Sudan

You can dive in Sudan all year round, so temperature factors aren’t really an issue.  Since it’s not a big tourist destination you don’t have to worry about trying to avoid large groups of people.  One of the things that you can base your diving time around is the migration patterns of certain marine animals that you might wish to see during your dive times.  If you want to see manta rays, then you can visit Sudan in August and October but if you are more interested in hammerheads then you should go around January and April.


Best Places to Dive in Sudan

Fasima Suedi is an exciting dive location which can be found in a gap in the Sha’ab Suedi reef.  It offers divers of all experience the chance to swim in between the different reef pinnacles that are in the area with an abundance of interesting fish.  One interesting draw to the dive site is the fact that a lot of people prefer to dive at night while the coral is alive with crabs and shrimp. 

Merlo is a diving location in Sudan that has two very distinct sites to dive in.  The southern ledge is a very steep reef dive.  There are a lot of different fish in this area and it is the perfect spot for beginners to get into the water and gain a little experience.  You are likely to see moray eels, triggerfish, trevally, and possibly even some blue spotted stingrays.  The northern side is a plateau which offers those there the chance to see corals and fusiliers.  You might get the chance to see barracuda, turtles, one eyed jacks, and even grey reef sharks.

If you want to visit a circular reef with steep drop offs and a spectacular view, the Qita el Banna is the perfect location for your diving adventures in Sudan.  Not only is the view wonderful, but you will also have the chance to see some wonderful marine life.  It is recommended for novice to intermediate divers, but experienced divers might also enjoy the serene beauty of the reef.  Keep an eye out as you have the chance to see manta and hammerhead during this dive.

One of the highest praised reefs in Sudan is the Sha’ab Rumi.  This reef is next to an underwater wall and on top of a plateau.  This dive is an excellent option for families that consist of different levels of diving experience as you can stay on the plateau and swim through the reef, taking in the sights or you can go over the edge into the slightly darker waters to try and find a few reef sharks.  If you follow the connecting reef wall, you will also be in for quite a few interesting sites including barracuda, jacks, parrotfish, Maori wrasse, white snapper, acropora, and even large anemones.

An interesting dive in Sudan that is not to be missed is the Precontinent II.  This area was used by Jacques Cousteau for many of his underwater experiments and diving locations.  This area is known for the relics that Cousteau left behind and the area is a spectacular marvel and is a good way to illustrate the advances that were made because of pioneers like Cousteau, and their willingness to explore new and unfamiliar underwater territories.  In fact, many divers who swim through this area often compare it to a sort of spectacular underwater museum where the history of diving and exploration is on display for all to see.  All ages and levels of experience can dive this site and it is definitely a must see for all.

Types of Marine Life in Sudan

Coral, bumphead parrotfish, acropora, table cora, sweetlips, barracuda, one-eyed jacks, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, grey tipped sharks, white snapper, anemones, trevally, tuna, manta rays, moray eels, reef fish, sea turtles, and many other types of fish.


Sudan Diving Fact Sheet:

Average Air Temperature:              29°C – 32°C

Average Water Temperature:         26°C – 30°C

Recommended Exposure Protection: A 3mm – 5 mm wetsuit is recommended for most dives.

Average Visibility:     10 – 30 metres

Coldest Times:          December to April

Hottest Times:         August to October

Best Times to Dive:  If you want to see hammerhead sharks, then you should go from January to April as that is when they are most abundant, and if you want to see manta rays, then you should go in August to October as that is when they tend to be at their best.

Worst Times to Dive:  There really isn’t a particularly bad time to dive in Sudan as the political climate tends to keep away larger groups of tourists and the area is warm enough to swim in all year round.


Diving in Sudan Video:




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