Sudan is a diving destination that although it has always been there, is a few years away, due in large part to its political stability that has begun to sound strongly as a diving destination. The truth is that a server that has been several times and knows it from North to its southern border with Eritrea can assure that it is a marvel that surprises every diver who for the first time immerses himself in its crystalline waters.
This destination is only carried out as a diving liveaboard, normally for 7 nights, although there are some 14 routes that cover the entire Red Sea of Sudan. The ships that make Sudan are mostly the same fleets that operate the Egyptian Red Sea, but the first thing I want to say is that not any ship that operates in Egypt can do Sudan. It sails much more on the high seas and far from the coast, there are no helicopters that can help us and the only hyperbaric chamber is in Port Sudan and belongs to a private company, so ships are required well prepared, large, comfortable and completely safe to be able to perform in similar conditions. I say this because as a fashion destination I see more and more boats (not to mention small boats) that join the car and this is great, both due to the navigation conditions and the little experience of the guides in these waters.
Having said that, it must be said that in Sudan, as in Egypt, there are several routes, and although depending on the shipping company they can vary in name. These are the North route, the South route, the Deep South route and the two week route of which I speak a little. later.
Sudan is usually reached by flying from Europe with Emirates to Dubai and then with its subsidiary company Flydubai to Port Sudan. The departure from Dubai is a comfortable flight of only two hours as the plane then continues to Khartoum, but on the way back is the opposite, the flight makes Port Sudan Khartoum where it makes a platform for the passengers to get on (not off the plane) Then continue to Dubai, which becomes a six-hour flight. When you arrive almost at midnight in Dubai, a few hours wait for you … since the flight to Europe normally does not leave until approximately 8 in the morning. Fortunately, the airport has excellent VIP rooms where, for around 40€0, you can spend the night with access to Wi-Fi, food and drinks (alcohol included except champagne) at your discretion, TV, etc. Of course, if you want to sleep you will have to be a butacón if you are lucky to find one free.
Although as you can see the return is a bit of a beating, the destination is well worth the effort because its seabed is a marvel (as I suppose were those of Egypt forty or fifty years ago) with spectacular reefs full of life and in perfect conditions, great number of schools and sharks in all the dives, that without counting the best wreck of the Red Sea as I said before. Another incentive (at least for the moment) is the small number of boats that are diving in these waters which makes even more pleasant the dives without just crossing with anyone from another boat.
And when is the best time to dive in Sudan? because the season goes from January to May (although some boats in December are already seen in the area). After several trips to the area and of course talked to the local guides (who really know how things are going), I can say that the best time to dive in Sudan is from March to May. In March and April there is usually a lot of hammer among other large pelagic and in general May is when more wildlife and sharks you will see but it is already getting very hot and in the middle of the month the boats go back to Egypt. The water is about 27º.
I explain a little the different routes;
The North route is the one that is usually done in your first visit to Sudan, you sail less than in the other routes and you have a bit of everything, good reefs, the curiosity of seeing “Precontinent” of Cousteau, visit to lighthouse and diving in the best wreck of the entire Red Sea, Umbria. As in all routes, we start from Port Sudan in this case North, (I do not mention the areas in order) to one of the star points, the island of Sanganeb, where both the North and South faces are teeming with life on its beautiful reefs . Here it is easy to see sharks and also has the incentive to visit its huge lighthouse that offers incredible views. The two characters that live in the lighthouse offer T-shirts and some souvenirs.
Further North we find Merlo which is another great point for diving with sharks. We continued north until we reached Shaab Rumi (Pre-continent), where Cousteau made his famous experiment of living under the sea. The truth is that the area is not worth much, the reef is much poorer and with less life than in other areas, if it is not for the morbid of seeing what is left of the experiment, the place is not worth it. There remains the bell where the ship arrived, you can access the interior where there is an air pocket (quite rarefied) and you can get out regulator and breathe. Nearby are the remains of the supply cages and some other piece of metal, little thing. In my modest opinion, it is a place that arouses great curiosity about everything read on the subject but when you arrive you are disappointed enough, except of course the “fotosub” that can always take advantage of some good pictures of the “mushroom.” Abingtion and Angarosh are the northernmost reefs. Angarosh is spectacular and along with Sanganeb the best of the route (apart from the clear Umbria). Here you can also see sharks in a good number. Back to Port Sudan, the last dives are made, both day and night in the Umbria wreck. Without lengthening much in the history (that I know myself) I will say that this Italian ship was in Port Sudan a few days from the beginning of the second world war. He carried all kinds of war material to provide the Italian troops in Abyssinia but the port, which at that time was British territory, was heavily guarded by warships of the Royal Navy waiting for the hostilities to begin to attack and sink the Umbria. The captain, aware of the approaching one, asked the Royal Navy for permission to leave port under the pretext of maneuvers, and when he was a little over a mile from the port he mimed the ship so that the material did not fall into his hands. Enemies
To lovers of wreck diving (among which I include myself) I recommend doing the immersions in Umbria with the bib on. It is just perfect, it is just over a mile from the port and therefore sheltered by currents, from the surface and the wreck begins to about -25 meters (if you do not want to put your ear in the sand) and therefore neither ” decos “or milk, the visibility is usually good, it is easy to dive both outside and inside because its position (heighted on Babor) makes even inside the wreck we have a good natural light. In addition it is whole, and when I say enterito I say with helix and rudder included! Inside we can find an infinite amount of ammunition (eye with taking a bullet to the jacket that as you get caught at the airport you will know the comforts of the Sudanese jails) Fiat trucks, large caliber bombs, aircraft parts and how could it be another way on an Italian ship, thousands of bottles of wine scattered through one of the cellars.
Ruote South is famous for being an area where sharks are seen more than in the North (and it is true), there is usually more current and you know, where there is current there is joy … Leaving Port Sudan we reach the southern reefs. Special mention to Pinnacle, Protector and Pender Reef, which are located to the south of this route and where with a little luck you get to see sharks, especially schools of hammers, silky sharks, big grays, etc. Here also the big schools and in general the perfect state of their reefs impress. On the way back you can also dive in the Umbria completing a more than interesting route.
The deep South route is the recommended one when you have been to Sudan before, it is not that you can not do it the first time, but it is a route in which you sail much more, there are usually currents that can become strong and also not Dives in the Umbria. The Deep South reefs begin just south of Protector and Pender Reef. There is a good variety of places of incredible beauty, notable for the amount of fauna and especially sharks the reefs of Darraka and Dahrat Abid located a few kilometers from the border with Eritrea. Although you do not dive in the Umbria since it does not give time for logistics it is a very, very interesting route.
The route of two weeks as you can imagine picks up the best of each of the routes, at a stroke you get all of Sudan and if you have time and money it is without a doubt the best alternative.
And this is all I can tell you about Sudan …