Swim with dolphins in Egypt

“This is an ideal chance for families and eco-conscious animal lovers to swim with wild dolphins and turtles in the protected offshore reefs and marine reserves of the Red Sea.”


Swim with dolphins | swim with turtles in a protected reserve | snorkel over an offshore reef | optional activities: Bedouin tours, camels ride, day trip to Luxor, overnight desert safari

Description of Swim with dolphins in Egypt

This holiday is based out of a beautiful eco-village resort. Located right by the beach, it is an ideal spot from which to take boat trips out to the reef – where we can swim with wild dolphins in the Red Sea.

The eco-village caters to a range of budgets, with accommodation ranging from furnished tents to luxury, air conditioned chalets. Three varied, buffet-style meals a day are included in the price, as are soft drinks and airport transfers. The price also includes three excursions to swim with dolphins in Egypt. The dolphins here are wild, which means sightings can never be guaranteed – but we have enjoyed an 80 percent success rate over the years with both sightings and swimming since 2003. We run this holiday throughout the year, but keep in mind that July and August are very hot (although the eco village offers air conditioning). Spring and autumn tend to be the best seasons to visit.

How the trip works

On the first day, your guide will show you around and there is time to practise with your mask and snorkel in the bay by the resort to ensure you feel comfortable. There will be a safety talk, with guides on hand to answer any questions or offer advice on snorkelling. You can also book any additional tours while here. If you don’t have your own snorkelling equipment, masks, fins and snorkels can be hired on site – and the beach by the resort even has its own coral reef for you to explore between boat trips. You don’t need to be especially fit – but you must be able to swim.

A one-hour boat ride away is a U-shaped coral reef in the calm, turquoise water off the Egyptian coast. Up to 200 spinner dolphins play, feed and raise their young in this sheltered spot, away from the stronger currents in the open sea. Our dive boats take you to swim with the dolphins in this bay – or, if the dolphins are outside the bay, the smaller RIB boats can drop you close to a pod to swim with them there. You are likely to encounter other dive boats and groups of swimmers near the dolphins. Keep an eye out too for turtles, rays and the rare but gentle dugong. Lunch is served onboard, and when not in the water you can relax on the sun deck.

Discounts for children are available on this holiday; it is an idyllic spot for families thanks to the calm, warm water, the shallow beaches and the “house reef” which surrounds the resort and offers the chance to swim and snorkel with abundant, colourful fish. Sea turtles are common in a nearby bay; a trip to swim with them is included. We have been working with the same local guide for 15 years – you will be well looked after.

In addition to swimming with dolphins in the Red Sea, you can try scuba diving. Egypt’s exquisite reefs, marine life and incredible visibility make this a great spot to either learn to dive or put existing skills into practice. If you’d like to spend even longer at sea, we offer an overnight adventure. This gives us time to cruise to a remote reef in the Southern Red Sea in our Dolphin Safari boat, and spend longer with the dolphins – swimming with them in the early morning and late evening, observing the differences in behaviour.
This swimming with dolphins in Egypt holiday is great for small groups of friends, families and solo travellers, and there are plenty of additional excursions on offer. Explore the desert with a horseback or camel ride, or on a Bedouin tour. Take a day trip to Luxor to see the famous, ancient temples, or take a city shopping tour. From the resort itself, you have plenty of time to relax on the beach, snorkel around the “house reef” or take short zodiac excursions.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Arrive into Marsa Alam Airport and be transferred to the eco-village resort. Below is a sample itinerary for the week. Three dolphins swimming trips and one sea turtle trip are included; all other excursions are optional, depending on your preferences and availability.
Day 2:After an orientation, you’ll have a snorkelling briefing and can arrange extra excursions for the following days. Join a trip to swim with turtles in a protected reserve beach (this excursion will take place on day 2 or 3).
Day 3:Boat ride to the offshore reef to snorkel and swim with wild dolphins.
Day 4:Free day. Optional excursion: camel ride in the desert.
Day 5:Boat ride to the offshore reef to snorkel and swim with wild dolphins.
Day 6:Free day. Optional day tour to Luxor, or to take a sunset desert tour with the Bedouin.
Day 7:Boat ride to the offshore reef to snorkel and swim with wild dolphins.
Day 8:If time allows in the morning, there is an optional city tour of El Queseir to see the monuments and enjoy some shopping. Lunch in a superb seafood restaurant. Afternoon transfer to Marsa Alam Airport for flight home.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
You may want to visit some of the unprotected reefs to swim with more dolphins - please don't. Tourist levels are too high at peak season and have contributed to a significant decline in dolphin numbers as well as adding to noticeably unnatural dolphin behaviour.
Trip type:
Tailor made. Ideal for families.
Activity level:
Leisurely. Swimming, snorkelling and boat trips.
Choice within an eco-village, including en-suite luxury chalets, dome tents and stone huts.
Accomm, 3 dolphin trips, snorkel practise session (equipment can be hired in-resort), experienced guide and all transfers.
3 daily buffet meals, afternoon cake and soft/hot drinks.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Swim with dolphins in Egypt


Our local boat company, crew and guides have an environmentally responsible policy. They act to cause low impact on both the coral reef and the dolphins by educating the swimmers and divers. They have a special anchoring system which does not harm the reef and is a permanent fixture which a crew member has to swim underwater in order to secure the boat. They issue the guests with non plastic bottles which can be re-filled and re-used after being cleaned.

Also there are various conservation initiatives in the area such as at the resort we use, there is an ongoing study on sharks. Through education, "Shark School" and creating a protected marine reserve (HEPCA) the decreasing population of sharks seems to be making a recovery. We give our guests a lot of information with ideas of how they can contribute to the preservation of the reefs and the marine life. We also contribute a portion of the company profits to support this charity.

We have also started a campaign called "Tourists Against Trash" (TAT). Every guest is given a bag in which to collect some of the huge amounts of waste plastic littering the desert. They are asked to be very visible and this actually has already encouraged the local Egyptians involved in tourism to clean up the litter which had previously been ignored. They are keen to please the tourists and if the tourists appear to want the plastic bottles removed, they will comply. The tourists are informed of how a flood from the sea into the desert could pollute the ocean dramatically as the build up of plastic is huge.

We work closely with the Red Sea Rangers to ensure the preservation of the dolphins and abide by Marine Park Regulations as well as the International Dolphin Watch Code of Conduct. We are Approved IDW Dolphin Swim Operators and follow an ethical code of conduct, i.e. no touching.


We work only with Egyptian owned eco resorts and companies who employ local workers. By coming here, you help to provide employment for local people who have would otherwise not have the opportunity to earn good wages in work that allows them to follow their traditional employment on the sea.

Together we are involved with a dolphin research study. This is to monitor the behaviour of the dolphins by collecting data from studying their behaviour. We have arranged for marine biology students to work on this study, hosted by our boat company using photo ID, and documenting patterns of behaviour, especially with regards to the "moods" of the dolphins in order to ascertain the best times to enter the water that will not disturb their rest time. The intention is to use this data to provide a protocol for a low impact effect from the tourists who visit this off-shore reef.

There is a long term plan to create a "Dolphin School". The eco dive resort we work with conducted a similar study on another reef which has a lot of tourists. The dolphins were being negatively impacted, so after the study, a zoning protocol was implemented and the number of swimmers and boats in the area is controlled. We plan to provide important information about this other relatively undiscovered group of dolphins on another off-shore reef so they can also be protected if tourism increases.

Reviews of Swim with dolphins in Egypt

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 24 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Obviously the main wish for this holiday was to swim with dolphins and the I was so lucky to have the very special opportunities I had, and a huge part of that was thanks to the amazing guidee, Khaled. He seems to have a sixth sense to anticipate what the dolphins are going to do and which direction they'll head in to get you to the right spot at the right time. When I observed the other guides on the boat trips, none of them did what Khaled did. I called him the dolphin paparazzi! This meant that on the 3 trips I took - the 2 boat trips and the overnight boat trip, I was the only one on the boats who had a significant amount of time swimming with these amazing creatures. In total, I was lucky enough to swim with them for around 2 1/2 hours, and most of that time was either just me and Khaled or on my own. Very special and spiritual!
As part of the holiday a snorkelling trip was included to a nearby beach where the dugong and turtles feed on sea grass. Again, I witnessed other guides from boat trips take an approach which didn't really benefit the customer, but Khaled knew exactly what to watch for so I was blessed with swimming with a dugong (just me and Khaled again) for 20 mins. I also saw two turtles there.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you're wondering whether to book the extra overnight trip to dolphin reef, I would definitely recommend it and say that was where most of my time swimming with the dolphins was spent. In the lagoon there, you have unlimited time to swim with them and aren't restricted in specific swimming areas like you are at dolphin house. The whole overnight trip was fantastic, and Khaled took me on a night snorkel there, too. The cabins get suffocatingly hot to sleep in at night so most people sleep on deck and the starts are amazing!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. There are protected areas where swimmers/boats aren't allowed.
There are also officials on the boat making sure you only swim there between certain times. The captains and staff on the boats were all contentious in making sure regulations were adhered to.
I stayed in an eco-resort and they are very aware of environmental impacts. I was staying at RSDS as part of a snorkelling holiday. I stayed in a deluxe chalet with aircon. The resort of simple in a charming, rustic way and very clean. All the staff were friendly and helpful. The house reef there is fantastic! I spoke to a lot of people who were repeat guests and they all said they kept coming because of unlimited diving there and they enjoyed the relaxed resort. There is a covered area on the beach with chairs, but it would've been nice to have some sunbeds, too, to relax on in between snorkelling/dives. The food is quite limited. There are only 8 dishes served at meals, and if you're vegetarian or vegan you will probably struggle as at least 2 dishes were meat, but usually 4 of them. Unless you want to eat salad bits, rice, potatoes all the time, you may want to take snacks with you. The bedouin cafe is lovely. The stars are fantastic from the beach, and Sky gave me an interesring talk about them with his laser light. Tip: The resort is lit up at night by lots of tiny lamps, which look beautiful but don't give off much light so take a torch.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic. I've recommended it to several friends who've seen my photos and videos and are so jealous!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Sibil,
We are so pleased you had such an exceptional time! Yes our guide really knows how to ensure the guests have the best possible experience with the dolphins, we sometimes think he is part dolphin / part human! He is very sensitive and the dolphins seem to know him! He has spent 20 years and thousands of hours in the water with them!
You mentioned the food at the resort and I am not sure if you realised that the kitchen are happy to do some extra vegetarian dishes if asked, or cater for special diets.
If your friends want to come on one of the holidays they are welcome!
I hope your memories stay vivid and get you thru the winder months in the UK
Kind regards

Reviewed on 25 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I was lucky, I saw dolphins on all three visits to The Dolphin House and also saw a giant turtle.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light, don't take too many clothes, its easy to wash things through and they dry quickly. The catering is lavish, you probably will gain some weight.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The eco village resort is very environmentally responsible. It employs local people and supports local businesses.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

An excellent resort right on the beach with friendly and helpful staff. There is a lovely reef which can be snorkelled or dived whenever you're not doing something else.

Reviewed on 04 Jan 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

New Years Day when 10-15 spinner dolphins came out of the protected reef into the ocean to play with us.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't go on any of the external trips to the unprotected reefs. We did this unknowingly and the difference in the dolphins behaviour is noticeable- in a bad way! I also learnt that at the unprotected reefs the levels of tourists that visit, particularly in peak season, may have contributed to a significant decline in dolphin numbers.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The activities at Shagra resort and with this operator were supportive of
conservation. However the external trips added to the package were not.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A fantastic way to spend xmas and new year. Would definitely recommend this, taking into account all previous comments.

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being so close to dolphins and turtles. We kept telling ourselves nothing was guaranteed but the joy when we were being 'investigated' by dolphins or stared at by turtles - or a triggerfish with huge teeth - was amazing.

Also great - coffee in the Bedouin cafe, the friendliness of the staff, the beautiful reefs just a few metres walk from the beach, Khaled's helpful and reassuring presence, the thrill of sleeping on deck on the overnight safari.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

1 If you're travelling June-September consider a chalet with air-conditioning. The chalets do not cool down much at night and the fan is noisy.
2 Take a guide to the fish on Red Sea reefs - or make sure you borrow Khaled's. It really enhances your experience.
3 take an underwater camera. We didn't and so wish we had. Even if the pictures are rubbish they will remind you of what you have seen. There are so many amazing fish you can't even remember them afterwards to look them up! And sometimes you see things you just want to relive later. Next time we're taking one.
4 Don't worry about getting into the boats after snorkelling. I fell in like a stranded tuna a few times but got the hang of it eventually. The boatmen are so friendly and although they seem to weigh about 8 stone they are strong. They have a technique using crossed-over hands that pulls you up and twists you so that you sit on the edge with your feet inside.
Magic! One woman in our overnight group was very overweight indeed but was hauled in with no more fuss than the rest of us.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All the staff cared for the reef and the wildlife and impressed the rules on us - no touching etc. It was clear that other companies were not so strict when we met their guests on trips.

We were given a bottle of water and refilled it throughout the week.

There were a lot of staff and I hope they benefitted. They deserved their tips!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We loved it so much we are going to do it again. It's a week of being somewhere completely amazing. peaceful and different - underwater - and everyone and everything helped us to concentrate on that and have a terrific time.

Reviewed on 03 Jan 2014 by

My holiday was amazing. Our guide Khaled was a star and looked after us all superbly and we saw the dolphins on every trip. The last day Thursday 2 Jan we went out just 4 of us on a special chartered boat and we had in all over 3 hours in the water with the dolphins. I swam for about 40 mins solo it was just the best being part of a little pod for a short time. It is a very beautiful and special place and thank you so much for this opportunity.

I would recommend this experience and holiday to anyone who loves dolphins and wants to swim with them and see them in the wild. If you are quiet and calm and just wait they will swim to you and with you and you can pretend just for a short time that you are part of their underwater world.

Food was brilliant very fresh and lots of choice, accommodation in the domed tent was great and warm with blankets and so close to the sea.... I met some lovely people and as a solo traveller I was never short of good company.

Special thanks to Khaled who goes the extra mile to make sure that you have the best all round trip possible and see the dolphins. He can call them and they swim towards him!

Reviewed on 03 Feb 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming with the dolphins was certainly the most memorable part of the holiday. Their eye contact and way of playing
was just extraordinary, something will remain with me forever.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have a chat with Dolphins Connections (Amanda) to ensure that you go swim with dolphins accompanied by her
snorkeling guide contact (Mr Khalid Said) because he knows the dolphins very well and he loves and respects them.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All the staff at the resort were local people, so the holiday did benefit local people, although may not be a whole local
community to be benefited. The resort has advanced environmental policies (in terms of water use and waste and plastic
management), so although resources are used, this is done with minimum environmental impact. Swimming with the
dolphins is also done in such a way that environmental impacts are reduced to the very minimum or to zero (e.g. no
touching of coral reef and marine life). The income from the marine-based activities contributes to conservation efforts,
so I believe that this holiday supported conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the very best I have ever had.

Reviewed on 11 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming with the wild Dolphins in the Red Sea. It was an amazing experience. I'd encourage any Dolphin lovers to go to Egypt and experience just that. The culture and the people are great too - really friendly.
Secondly it would have to be the "Royal Tent on the Beach" sleeping arrangement. Definately something i would do again. Peaceful.........very romantic.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book in advance to avoid any disappointment. For flights, use Thomson airways,they were very efficient during the whole booking process.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think the holiday i chose, benefitted the local people more than anything else. They provided the great entertainment and we, as holiday-makers make it possible for them to do such wonderful jobs.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I'd give it 4.5 stars. Absolutely amazing.

Reviewed on 18 Apr 2011 by

We have had an excellent holiday. I can share a few thoughts with you for your readers.

1) The resort at Shagra on the Red Sea coast in Egypt is definitely environmentally sensitive making much of its determination to protect the local reef. Visitors were discouraged from swimming out over the reef and a clear cordon was put round it enabling swimmers and divers to just keep to the edge. As a result a great deal of the reef remains in good condition with a wide variety of reef life including reef sharks, rays and sometimes turtles. The resort itself prides itself on serving simple but nutritional mainly Egyptian food with a reasonable choice of menus. Visitors stay in tents on the beach or simple chalets in keeping with the local surroundings. A great deal is made of saving water and not washing towels unnecessarily but I don't know if solar panels are used. (If not they should be).

2) The marine park where we went to see the dolphins (only saw them once unfortunately - but that was great) is well policed to ensure it is not overused by tourists and we never saw more than 3 boats there. It has an exquisite variety of marine life.

3) The beach where we saw the turtles does not allow boats to go out in the bay and as a result it is a good swim out - though well worth the effort.

4) This is clearly in contrast with other resorts which have large swimming pools (Shagra does not) water green grass outside (Shagra has sustainable local plants including a cactus garden) and have left their local reefs in a parlous state.

Reviewed on 22 May 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkelling with dolphins in a fantastically beautiful sea. Exploring parts of Egypt and its history.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Great for divers: the resorts are not really set up for snorkelling but they provide a very good service to snorkellers even so. For swimming with dolphins, rely on this operator: they provide a very good package. The eco-village where we stayed (Marsa Shagra) was quite outstanding: you may have to take a mini-bus to get to some dive/snokelling locations but it's easy. Not sure about the other eco-villages.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, definitely. Diving and snorkelling in that part of the Red Sea are well-regulated.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


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