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Featuring the best house reefs near Hurghada, a Makadi Bay snorkeling trip will sure please all who want to explore the Red Sea’s magnificent underwater world in Egypt. Those who are planning their vacation to this destination and look for trustful information on what to see while snorkeling in the Makadi Bay and which hotel has the best house reef will find their questions answered in this article.
Is the Makadi Bay good for snorkeling?
The Makadi Bay is undoubtedly one of the best places for snorkeling in Egypt and our number one recommendation if you are looking for the clearest waters and most beautiful coral reefs near Hurghada.
Here you will get some easy and good snorkeling straight off the beach, so you don’t need to take boat trips unless you wish to explore other snorkel spots in the area. The health and variety of the corals is excellent. The most vibrant section is the bay’s northern corner (in front of Grand Makadi Hotel, with beach and jetty access) but the southern curve is also nice (accessible from the Stella Beach Resort through a wooden jetty).
The reefs are shallow, there is no steep drop-off or walls, while the bay is well-protected from strong winds, waves and currents. These features make the Makadi a perfect destination for beginner snorkelers as well as for kids.
Where is the Makadi Bay?
A resort town and tourist recreation area, Makadi Bay is a stunning natural bay on the Red Sea Riviera with spacious hotel complexes. It lies about 30km south of Hurghada International Airport with a travel time of approx. 35 minutes.
Thanks to its easily accessible location and proximity to the area’s tourist attractions like Hurghada Old Town, Senso Mall and Sahl Hasheesh, this is an excellent location for a relaxing yet adventure-filled vacation where you can enjoy fantastic beaches, prime snorkeling and various places of interest nearby.
What is the best hotel for snorkeling in Makadi Bay?
The Makadi Bay’s resort area offers fantastic hotel choices for all types of vacationers. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly accommodation with a waterpark or arrive for a romantic getaway combined with snorkeling over Egypt’s best coral reefs, there is a perfect resort here in all price categories.
In terms of location, the best hotel for snorkeling in the Makadi Bay is definitely the Grand Makadi Resort since the jetty that takes you to the Makadi Bay Reef lies just in front of this 5-star resort. The reef is available not only through the jetty but also directly off the beach too through several designated access points.
Built-in Middle Eastern-style and recently renovated, couples and families will enjoy their time here. Your children will be kept occupied through the various activities offered by the kid’s club while adults can snorkel, dive, play beach volleyball or just relax in the sun. A diverse choice of restaurants and numerous bars make your stay all-inclusive and worry-free.
A luxurious wellness resort, the Makadi Spa is popular among couples who arrive for a romantic getaway. This adults-only complex offers stylish accommodation, various dining options, sports and wellness programs; it is an excellent choice for those who look for tranquility and relaxation.
If it comes to snorkeling, as a guest of the Makadi Spa, you’ll have access to the same prime snorkeling area as those staying in other nearby hotels. Enter the water through the jetty or directly from the beach and enjoy exploring the best house reef in Makadi Bay!
The Makadi Palace is a Moorish palace-looking resort situated in the Makadi holiday village. It is a little dated but still favored among vacationers who look for an all-inclusive resort for their Egypt snorkeling vacation.
The hotel has an oasis-style pool area and also a beautiful sandy beach with marked entry points offering easy and safe access to the Makadi coral reef. With just a short walk you can get to the wooden pier too if you prefer starting your underwater exploration for there.
Grand Makadi Waterworld
The best hotel for families in the Makadi Bay is definitely the Grand Makadi Waterworld (former Sunwing Waterworld Makadi). This modern oriental style resort has not only spacious rooms and family suites but also an impressive waterpark with pools, slides, fountains, flows and lazy rivers for visitors of all ages.
The Grand Waterworld is linked to the neighboring Makadi hotels by walking ways that offer easy access to the pier, to the designated water entry points and also the possibility of long seaside walks during the day and in the evening too.
Another family-friendly hotel that can be an excellent choice if you want to book a Makadi Bay snorkeling vacation is the Prima Life Makadi. This resort lies just outside of the main Makadi Corner and despite its huge area and numerous rooms, it still has a calm atmosphere that makes it an excellent choice for those traveling with small kids.
Entering the water for snorkeling is easy through the hotel’s sandy beach where even in the shallow water colorful fish species and various coral species can be seen. You can continue your way swimming along the reef to the left and right too to explore the deeper parts of the reef, but the Makadi Bay’s Jetty is also just 10 minutes’ walk if you would prefer snorkeling there.
Fort Arabesque Resort
One of the most top-rated hotels of the Makadi Bay, the Fort Arabesque is great for those who seek the highest quality service during their vacation topped with a prime house reef. With luxurious rooms, suites and villas, several dining venues, a well-equipped gym and a Thai-style spa, this tastefully decorated complex provides an unforgettable resort experience.
You can do snorkeling directly from the resort’s wide sandy beach where one can observe fantastic marine life even in the waist-deep water. Those who wish to explore more can swim along the coral wall towards the Makadi Bay’s northern corner, or even walk on the shore till the Grand Makadi Hotel, enter the water from the jetty and swim all the way back to the Fort Arabesque Resort. This is pretty a long trip but very safe since there is a designated swimming area along the reef where boats cannot enter.
Stella Beach Resort
Although the bay northern corner is more popular if it comes to snorkeling in the Makadi Bay, but if you want to explore the southern end, choose to stay at the Stella Beach Resort and Spa. This complex is surrounded by a beautiful garden and offers a wide variety of facilities and services to cater all types of vacationers: there are shopping opportunities, a disco, gym, tennis court, health club with spa, to name just a few.
Note that if you stay on this side of the bay you cannot walk along the shore towards the middle or northern side of the Makadi since the shore is not open. Snorkeling is possible in front of the hotel and to the right only (there is boat traffic to the left).
The reef is a bit different from what you can see in the north; it is not that deep but there are healthy corals and rich marine life so you won’t be disappointed, but all in all we preferred the northern corner.
Related post: Unique snorkeling spots in Egypt
What can you see while a Makadi Bay snorkeling trip?
With year-round excellent visibility and calm, warm waters, snorkeling in the Makadi Bay provides visitors with the possibility of observing the Red Sea’s diverse underwater world. The condition and variety of corals and species that can be seen in the area is comparable with the marine life of the country’s marine reserves so make sure to bring a waterproof snorkeling camera with you to capture this exceptional beauty.
When entering the water directly off the beach, you’ll find small coral islands surrounded by white sand in shallow, maximum 3-6ft/1-2m deep water. These coral colonies provide home to various fish species including the colorful butterflyfish, angelfish, wrasses, parrotfish, everyone’s favorite the clownfish and around sunset time, beautiful lionfish can also be seen hunting on the reef.
After leaving the shallow area, you will swim over a gently sloping fringing reef (average depth 40-60ft/12-18m) where you can observe fantastic hard and soft coral formations as well as encounter bigger fishes and other sea creatures like moray eels, turtles and rays.
What’s more, you’ll even have the chance here to swim with dolphins and even a whaleshark! Although you need to be lucky to experience such adventures, but it is not impossible that dolphins visit the Makadi Bay’s coral reefs or the world’s biggest fish swims into the area.
Best time to go snorkeling in Makadi Bay Hurghada
With a long and dry summer season that starts at the end of May and lasts till the end of September and a short, mild winter period (Dec-February), Egypt’s Red Sea Coast is a year-round travel destination.
The main summer months bring hot air (33-36C/91.4-98F) and warm water temperatures (27-28C/80.6-82.4F). Compared to tropical countries, the winter months might be chilly for some since the water temps drop to 21-22C/69.8-71.6F during wintertime (December to February) along 20-23C/68-73.4F average daytime air temps.
Such conditions are still comfortable for sunbathing and even for swimming for snorkeling, but those who prefer warmer waters should bring a neoprene snorkeling suit. Wearing UV protective clothing and applying high SPF sun care products is a must year-round due to the strong UV radiation.
Seeing that the summer may be too hot while the winter is a bit cool makes easy to see that the best periods for a Makadi Bay snorkeling trip are the shoulder seasons; if you are flexible with your dates, schedule your vacation for the late spring or early autumn months when you find both the sea and air pleasantly warm to explore the Red Sea’s rich underwater world.
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