The Red Sea, Middle East
There are few experiences on Earth like a Red Sea luxury yacht charter, where the desolate and dramatic desert landscape contrasts with the colour-filled aquatic wonders awaiting beneath the glassy seas of the Middle East.
Shopping enthusiasts will be amazed by the choice available to them, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where the shopping centres are part of the culture and have art galleries and libraries within as well as the expected shops, cinemas and eateries. Sample a wide range of local dishes from street vendors to award-winning restaurants, and party the night away to live music at ambient bars and clubs indoors and under the stars.
The incredible marine life is one of the main attractions for visitors to the region, and with your own transport, crew and flexible itinerary, you can make your way to the best sites and spend as much time there as you desire. Spend your days playing with the water toys in the shallows, snorkel and Scuba dive at thriving reefs and then rest on one of the incredible beaches sipping on a cool cocktail at sundown.
The Red Sea is home to 200 species of hard and soft corals which attract myriad fish species as well as sharks, dolphins, rays, turtles and the rare dugongs. This lively eco system has countless dive sites covering reefs, canyons and wrecks that will thrill experienced divers while making for a memorable training ground for beginners.
A Red Sea luxury yacht charter is an opportunity for sun, sand and sea in a region that has proven its excellence without attracting too much international attention so far. Now is an excellent time to discover this culturally rich destination before the rest of the world does.
Five quick reasons to visit the Red Sea
Magnificent rare marine species, Perfect for water sports, Unique desert landscape, Fantastic beaches, Year-round sunshine
More about this part of the Middle East
The Red Sea is situated between the east countries of Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti, and Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. These long desert coastlines provide stark contrasts between remote sandy beaches fringed by sapphire seas and towering ancient settlements and modern day resorts with spas, golf courses and beach bars and restaurants.
The region has undergone a significant transformation to boost tourism in recent years and the cities offer Scuba diving services as well as activities such as sky diving, paragliding, rock climbing and much more.
The Red Sea Yacht Charter Experiences
A cruise along the Western side of the Red Sea will take guests to striking turquoise lagoons fringed with pale sands that are perfect for an afternoon sunbathing in the shade, snorkelling or simply soaking in the wonderfully warm temperatures of the sea. Wadi el Gemal National Park is close to Marsa Alam and is a treat for non-motorised water sports and picture-perfect scenery, and the nearby resort town has plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants if you desire a change from eating on board. Unwind after an action-packed day with a massage, then stargaze from the sunbeds aboard your vessel or turn in early for a comfortable night's rest in air-conditioned cabins.
Jeddah in Saudi Arabia is a city not to be missed: Shop for the latest local and international fashions in the malls and pick up some choice souvenirs in the local markets. The Athr Galley will give insight into the thriving contemporary arts scene within the city, while for a truly ancient and atmospheric attraction close to the port, visit the old town of Al-Balad, which has been standing since the 7th Century, and the nearby museum Dokkan albalad.
Scuba diving in the region is abundant, from the 10m/32.8ft deep Moses Rock and 15m/49.2ft Dolphin Reef in Israel to the plethora of coral reefs, canyons and wrecks along the Egyptian coast. The shores of Egypt alone boast a massive variety of dive sites for all ability levels, and snorkelers can have close encounters with the wildlife and amazing fauna at the shallowest sites under 10m/33ft. Sharks, octopi, turtles, rays and dolphins are all spotted in the region on a regular basis, while a cruise to the popular resort of Marsa Alam might result in an encounter with dugongs.
The SS THISTLEGORM was listed as one of the 'Top 10 Diving Sites in the World' by The Times, and this 1940s armed merchant navy ship rests on the seabed at 30m/100ft. Following her sinking, she was rediscovered by Jacques Cousteau in the 1950s using information from local fisherman, and is now a popular dive site for Scuba enthusiasts of an intermediate level and beyond.
Sataya Reef is a wildlife sanctuary and visitors of all ages will be awed by the curiosity and friendliness of these creatures as you swim among them.
Another exceptional and popular dive site is the Elphinstone Reef, where the brightly coloured coral walls are visited by sea turtles and Oceanic white-tipped sharks. The strong currents will take experienced dives on a drift dive for a thrilling tour through the area.
Things to Consider:
Yachting Seasons & Climate:
Temperatures in the Middle East reach a high of 35°C/95°F in summer months of April to October, with July-August being the peak. At night it can drop by more than 10°C/20°F.
The winter months of December until March experience a low of 23°C/73°F during the day and at night the temperatures are a cool 14°C/57°F. This is considered the best time to visit for guests who want to spend a lot of time out of the water, sunbathing along the beaches or sightseeing in the region. The trade-off for a winter yacht charter is that conditions on the water are choppier so that diving is inadvisable during this time.
The sea temperature varies between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F throughout the year, providing 'warm bath' temperatures for those looking to wallow in the shallows, and excellent conditions for beginner divers and those more experienced who want to go deeper without having to worry about cold exposure. Summer is the best time to visit for water sports activities due to the calmer seas.
Clothing to Pack For Your Charter:
The Red Sea has a desert climate alleviated by the sea breezes, with a hot summer and a warm winter, with temperatures dropping noticeably at night. A jumper (sweater) is recommended for colder nights, as is a wind breaker. A hat is an essential accessory throughout the year to shade from the intense sunshine.
For time spent on the beach and aboard your luxury yacht it is advisable to pack natural, breathable fibres and a loose long layer to cover up once you are done sunbathing. The resorts and popular tourist locations have a more relaxed dress code, however when visiting religious sites and more conservative areas visitors should cover shoulders, collar bones and knees.
Main Ports and Marinas:
Jazan Port (Saudi Arabia), Jeddah Marina (Saudai Arabia), Eilat Port (Israel), Suez Port (Egypt), Marina El Gouna (Egypt), Sagafa Port (Egypt), Berenice Port (Egypt), Port Sudan (Sudan), Massawa Port (Eritrea), Djibouti Port (Djibouti)
Famous Restaurants & Clubs:
White Elephant Thai Restaurant And Sushi Bar (Sharm el Sheikh), Camel Bar & Roof Bar & Club (Naama Bay), On Deck Restaurant (Naama Bay), Viva Beach Bar (Naama Bay), The Lodge Bar (Hurghada Marina)
A Must See Attraction:
Wadi el Gemal National Park (Marsa Alam, Egypt), Coral Beach Nature Reserve (Eilat, Israel), Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary (Saudi Arabia), Athr Gallery (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), Al-Balad 'Old Town' (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Best beaches to visit on your yacht:
Coral Beach (Jordan), El Gona (Egypt), Hurghada Beach (Egypt), Safaga black sand beach (Egypt), Soma Bay (Egypt), Sharm El Lili (Egypt), Marsa Mubarak (Egypt), Yanbu Al Bahr Beach (Saudi Arabia), Silver Sands Beach (Saudi Arabia)
Local Yacht Events:
Red Sea Week
Best time to go:
The best time to visit the Red Sea depends on the kind of interests and itinerary that guests want to have during their luxury yacht charter: The winter has cooler temperatures for longer time spent on the beaches and visiting cultural sites, but due to rougher sea conditions it is unsuitable for most Scuba dives.
The summer is the most popular time to go and in comparison is an excellent time for underwater adventuring and guests can still enjoy time outdoors with a cooling sea breeze, and plenty of shade provided by a beach setup.
Further Charter Information
Yacht Rentals Available: Go here for the current list of yacht rentals in the Red Sea.
Full Middle East Yacht Charter Guide: Go here for the essential Middle East yacht charter guide.
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