Snorkeling in Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay – Marsa Alam

The Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay is a special snorkeling place in Egypt. With clear, shallow water and rich marine life, it is an ideal destination for a diving or snorkeling holiday. Explore the Red Sea vibrant coral reefs, meet giant sea turtles and swim with dugong in Marsa Alam!

Where is the Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay

The beautiful Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay can be found about 30 km north of Marsa Alam International Airport. If you want to explore the area, the best is to stay in one of the Abu Dabbab hotels, but the bay can be visited for non-hotel guests too. In this case, there is an entrance fee around 10 EUR / 12 USD.

Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay

You can use beach chairs and umbrellas, snacks and drinks can be purchased from the beach bar and a toilet is also available. Moreover, most tour operators offer boat trips too. Should you arrive to Hurghada but your final destination is Marsa Alam, expect a 3 hours long transfer to get here.

Tip: Marsa Alam is one of the best snorkeling destinations in Egypt if you prefer spending your holiday disconnected from the everyday life. The hotels are far away from the city and also from each other. Marsa Alam is not a busy tourist destination, rather a remote paradise, where you can enjoy the beautiful marine life as well as the famous Egyptian hospitality!

What to see while snorkeling in Abu Dabbab

This U-shaped bay is one of the largest sandy bottom bays with rich seagrass fields on the entire coastline. The bay is protected from strong wind and big waves thanks to the fringing reef the on its northern and southern side. The water deepens slowly as you swim towards the open sea. It is about 3-6 meters deep around the surrounding coral reefs and approx. 15 meters in the middle.

Marsa Alam Abu Dabbab Bay

Outside the bay, there is a steep drop-off with a depth of 30-40 meters. Thanks to the shallow waters, sandy, seagrass-covered bottom and connection to deeper waters, the bay hosts an extremely rich marine life. Besides the colorful coral reef, you will see here giant sea turtles and if you are lucky, you can swim with the famous Red Sea dugong too!

Dugong

This endangered and rare marine mammal, only lives in the Marsa Alam region in Egypt. Due to illegal hunting and other human activities the sea cow population is very small. The dugong is classified as “vulnerable to extinction” according to the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species. They are already disappeared from the Maldives, Mauritius, and Taiwan. There is a significant population around the Australian coastline, but in the Red Sea, they exist in a very small number.

Marsa Alam - Dugong snorkeling
Snorkeler with a dugong in Adu Dabbab

You can see sea cow only at a few places and the Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay is one of them alongside the nearby Marsa Mubarak Bay. It is said, that there are two resident dugongs here who are named Dennis and Dougal by the local divers. Of course, they are not always in the bay, but if you are lucky, you might bump into them when they come here. Since they feed on seagrass, the best chance to find them is where seagrass grows! Despite their size, they are harmless and seem to enjoy being around humans.

Tip: the dugong belongs to the order Sirenia together with manatees. If you want to see how a manatee looks like and where they live, read our manatee facts article!

Turtles

Other residents of the bay are the Giant Sea Turtles. You can find Green Sea Turtles feeding on the seagrass in the middle of the bay, while the Hawksbill Turtles are usually seen around the coral reef. The Abu Dabbab turtles got used to the presence of divers and snorkelers, they are not shy and allow people to swim close by.

Turtle feeding Red Sea
Huge sea turtle

However they will allow you to get close, respect their habitat and don’t chase or disturb them! Observe them and the accompanying remora fish from a safe distance!

Tip: do you want to know more about these cute animals? Learn interesting facts about turtles!

Other sea creatures

The Red Sea coral reefs are considered to be one of the healthiest on the whole world that withstand well to climate changes. Thanks to its remoteness and reduced number of visitors, the Marsa Alam coral reefs are rich in biodiversity. While snorkeling, you can observe Titan triggerfish, Barracudas, Anemone fish, Angelfish, Damselfish, Parrotfish just to mention a few species. You can spot small sea creatures like ghost Pipefish and Seahorse too.

Guitar shark Egypt Abu Dabbab
Guitar Shark

The sandy sea bottom makes the bay ideal for stingrays who regularly rest and feed here. The most common ray species are the Cowtail Ray, Leopard Ray and Eagle Ray. Moreover, sometimes the harmless guitar shark also shows up and you can find scorpion fish and stonefish too. If this wouldn’t be enough, occasionally whale sharks also swim into the bay when they migrate along the coast.

Best Abu Dabbab hotels

The best way of experiencing the stunning sea life of the Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay is by staying at one of the on-site hotels. Most hotels is Egypt work with All-Inclusive system and feature a very good value for money. In Abu Dabbab, you can choose from the following 3 hotels:

Booking.com

Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort

A pretty 5-star Nubian style all-inclusive hotel with a well-maintained garden and direct access to the Abu Dabbab Dugong bay. The name, Hilton, guarantees the high service level. No matter you just want to just relax enjoying the breath-taking view or stay active with snorkeling, diving or playing volleyball, the Hilton Nubian Resort will provide you with everything you need for a perfect holiday. Choose this resort if you seek a luxurious style all-inclusive resort in Marsa Alam!

Abu Dabbab Lodge

An excellent choice for divers! The Abu Dabbab Lodge with simpler, bungalow-style rooms and a familiar atmosphere is the best option for those who arrive for a diving holiday and don’t like resort-style hotels. A typical come as a guest leave as a friend place!

Malikia Resort Abu Dabbab (Former Sol Y Mar)

The hotel that young and old can will enjoy! Kids will be entertained by the animation team or can have fun in the Waterslides Park, while adults can relax on the sandy beach which is available with a short walk from the rooms. With friendly staff, good food and tons of activities, the Malikia Resort is the best place for family vacations!

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Abu Dabbab snorkeling review

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!