Discover the Red Sea with the right diving centre
How to choose the right diving centre in Egypt – Useful tips and tricks for finding the centre that suits your needs and preferences.
A diving holiday in Egypt
Discover the underwater world ... surrounded by colourful and fascinating creatures and
bizarre coral formations. Let your mind run free, and find peace - all this and
much more describes a dive in the Red Sea.
Since many years, Egypt counts among the top diving spots in the world. A magnificent
underwater world, plenty of sunshine, bargain holiday deals and short flight
times between Europe and the land of the pharaohs create the perfect package
for a diving holiday.
Particularly in the northern part of the Red Sea – Safaga, El Gouna, Hurghada and Sharm El
Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula - the diving boom has also developed its
downside. Over the years, numerous diving centres opened their doors all over
the place. At the peak period, there were over 150 diving centres alone in
for novice divers or those who want to learn diving, the choice of diving centres
is in fact overwhelming. Which ones are good? What do I need to pay attention
Gather information before your diving holiday
First, a thorough research on the internet is a good start. There are a number of platforms and forums that offer advice, experience and opinions by divers for divers.
Look out for the CDWS Certificate (Chamber for Diving and Water Sports) - this Egyptian association makes sure, that safety and health standards are respected.
Dive operators, which work on a worldwide level (for example: www.euro-divers.com) usually have strict standards regarding service, safety, training and equipment. Thus, with them you are in good hands, anywhere you go.
Of course there are also small, privately-owned diving centres, which offer excellent service and good safety standards. A good guideline is the number and quality of comments about the single diving centres.
Also, the e-mail habits can be quite revealing. Are your requests and questions answered promptly, and are they understandable and informative? If after three days you still didn't receive an answer, well, this says it all: "They couldn't be bothered, they have no time because they're understaffed or they are so cool, that they do not need more guests."
Visit different diving centres on site
The diving centre your tour leader offers during your first meeting must not necessarily be the best. Tour operators are working on a commission basis, which means that to them it usually does not matter too much how the diving centre works, but rather how much they get paid per guest.
Even though almost every hotel has its own diving centre, it may well be that you are taken 25 km further to a diving centre in another town.
Once arrived at the diving centre, pay heed to a few things that may facilitate the decision for or against this centre.
- Listen to your instinct! Diving has a lot to do with trust. How are you welcomed? Are you
offered information or do you need to ask for every single detail?
- Look around! First of all, look out for credentials of diving organization (PADI / CMAS /
SSI / NAUI, etc.). They look mostly like a diploma. Is the diving centre tested and approved by CDWS? Again, a certificate should be visible exposed on the premises.
- Are there photos of the team? Are diving courses are offered in different languages? Especially during theory classes, it is important that instructors and students understand each other perfectly.
- Are you offered a guided tour through the diving centre? Are you allowed to have a look into the compressor room? It should be clean - no oil layer on the floor and walls -, have good supply and return air fans, and the air for the tanks should come from an outside area where clean and fresh air is available.
- How does the rental equipment look like? New? Worn? Clean? (Salt crusts?)
Some dive centre managers commit their staff to give new guests a complete tour around the diving centre - a good sign for absolute professionalism!
Open your eyes, look at a few diving centres and rather spend a little more, but enjoy
safe and carefree diving. Safety while diving and a proper diving education are priceless!
Have fun in Neptune's Kingdom, and let there be bubbles!
About the authors
The Hagenz are Angelica and Daniel Hagen.
Angelica is a certified translator for Italian, German and English with more than 16 years of professional experience.
Daniel is a trained chef and hotel manager; 15 years he toured the world as a branch manager and diving instructor.