A stunning hotel in a beautiful location, The Palace Port Ghalib is where luxurious accommodation meets the beauty of the Red Sea. Nestled in manicured gardens the hotel overlooks both protected waters of the Red Sea and Port Ghalib’s marina. It is within easy walking distance of the Corniche, the heart of the resort, and offers spacious accommodation, gracious service and a delicious buffet and à la carte dining with both local and international specialties.
This luxury 5* star all-inclusive resort is approximately 15 minutes from Marsa Alam airport. Situated by the marina with its bars, shops, cafes and restaurants, this quiet resort is still perfect for divers with a non-diving person.
Ideal for visitors of all levels of diving experience, the hotel includes a PADI five-star diving school. Whether you are an experienced diver or a diving novice, you can take full advantage of the hotel’s immediate accessibility to all surrounding diving sites.
Transportation is also provided to the world’s best diving coves and open sea spots, ensuring visitors take full advantage of the natural wonders of Port Ghalib.
Food and drink
The Olive restaurant serving buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner with daily theme nights
Pool Deck bar serving snacks, lunch and à la carte dinner* of seafood and oriental specialties
Look Out bar
35m swimming pool (heated in winter) with sun terrace and gardens
Loungers and parasols provided
Private golden sand beach with jetty access to the house reef.
Loungers, parasols and towels provided.
Sports & leisure
Live evening entertainment
Spa* with Hammam, Sauna, Massage and Treatments
At Siva Port Ghalib Resort:
WiFi* in Lobby, Look Out and Pool Deck bars
24 hr Reception
Christmas and New Year buffet dinners included”
Hotel-run kids’ club (ages 4-12)
All rooms have king size or twin beds, shower, WC, hairdryer, bathrobe, beach bag with towel, iron/board, air conditioning, safe and satellite TV. Telephone, tea/coffee facilities and mini-bar are at extra charge.
STANDARD ROOMS sleep 2 adults and 1 child or 3 adults and have a French balcony, balcony or terrace with a garden view.
LAGOON VIEW and SEA VIEW upgrades available.
Buffet, breakfast, lunch and dinner
Afternoon tea, coffee and cake
Unlimited soft drinks by the glass – 10:00-midnight
Unlimited local alcoholic beverages by the glass – 10:00-midnight
*Extra charge. *Some outlets, drinks and menu items may incur extra charges.
Marsa Alam is a great location for both learners and experienced divers, with a range of trips from shallow wrecks and bays to world-class Elphinstone. Learn to dive or take your diving further with our friendly, experienced team of guides. We are based directly inside Port Ghalib, 5 minutes from Marsa Alam International Airport (RMF) and 2.5 hours from Hurghada Airport (HRG). Port Ghalib is the departure port for most daily diving boats and safari boats in the South, so you are right where you want to be.
Our furthest north site and one for good weather only, Torombi always gives a wilderness feel. Immaculate corals underwater, an undeveloped coastline view – and often you’ll be the only boat there! Sites include:
- Torombi Pinnacles – Usually a school of barracuda meets the divers under the boat in summer months and mesmerise with their movement. Moving around the pinnacles at the deeper part you will spot rays, Scorpionfish and Lionfish before ascending to the finger-like walls on the eastern side of the largest pinnacle. Here the colourful hard corals are host to thousands of small reef fish, and perhaps even a Hawksbill Turtle.
- Marsa Torombi – With deep seagrass in the bay divers usually stick to the reef walls. The northern side is a good place to see some of the more unusual Red Sea creatures, such as Burrfish but a firm favourite is a shallow drift dive over the south reef. Here large hard corals flank small lagoons and table corals stack up near the reef plate. Turtles are often seen mixing it with the abundant Unicornfish and large Titan Triggerfish patrol their territory.
- Torombi Garden – A small lagoon just south of the main bay has become a recent favourite with guests.
Only 10 minutes north of Port Ghalib, the 5 sites of Torfet Ali all have deep, blue water and sections of steep drop-offs. While advanced divers will enjoy drifting along at depth, those who want to stay shallow will find sand shelves and reef tongues to explore. Whatever depth you are, keep an eye out in the blue. Sites include:
- Torfet Abu Shash – This site is really only accessible using our high powered RIB as there are no moorings here. If you get the opportunity though, you will find a sand patch protected by a small headland that’s dotted with coral blocks, home to colourful reef fish of all shapes and sizes. As you reach the northern point you will find a large pinnacle that is teeming with fish and shrimp before exploring the cracks in the shallow reef wall – if you can see them through the large schools of Unicornfish!
- Pipeline – Drift along from north to south picking your depth as you go. On the deep reef wall look out for scores of Anthias going about their business, and the eagle eyed may spot a Nembrotha nudibranch or two. Large Tuna may swim past you forcing the large schools of Fusiliers to stream past you en masse. Shallow up to some beautifully soft sand banks surrounded by coral banks.
- Villa (Kharafi) – Depending on which way you dive this site you will either start or end your dive in one of the most diverse hard coral gardens in the area. Small fish face into the current as you pass them along the way, and Dart Gobies hover over the drop off. Always keep an eye out for Barney – our resident Hawksbill Turtle who loves divers. If he’s not chilling out under a ledge, Barney will often lead the dive for a few minutes and maybe even pose for a camera or two!
- Halg Nigma – So named by the fisherman after a fable to do with a star falling from the sky, this cut into the reef is a dive guide favourite. A shallow sand plateau inside the lagoon drops off at 45o to unknown depths, but the reef wall is the place to dive! A large pinnacle next to the boat is an area you could spend your whole dive on – swarms of Glassfish and Sweepers trying to keep out of the way of the ever present Trevallys and Groupers, Fang Blennies hiding in worm holes, Pipefish feeding on coral polyps – it’s a stunning spot. Move off down the reef though and you’ll find a red anemone at 20mt and one of the largest individual coral colonies we have – a wall of stag-horn coral tumbling from the surface to 15mt.
- Shaab Ghalib – Large tongues of coral form slopes and small canyons on this dive meaning the scenery is always changing. Expect large schools of fusiliers to accompany you as you explore the coral beds and the sand strips. Critters such as Whip Coral Gobies can be spotted here, but of course the shallows are packed with Butterflyfish, Angelfish and Goatfish.
Our nearest and largest bay which provides a huge range of dive sites suitable for all levels of diver and snorkeller. Sites include:
- Panorama – A one way dive over deep pinnacles and littered with table corals. Hawksbill turtles and yellow tail barracuda are regular visitors.
- Shaab Abu Ziyad – With an extensively lined and mapped cavern system (for the trained only!) and a stunning hard coral garden at the start of the dive, you then continue around large pinnacles and even a gorgeous red anemone before ending your dive on the reef wall.
- Madrassah – A favourite for photographers due to the patient fish life, this site, named after the word ‘school’ due to it’s versatility for training course does not immediately ‘wow’ the diver like some of our others. However dive slowly and you will find stonefish, scorpionfish, pipefish, frogfish and crocodilefish living amongst the nooks and crannies. When you head around the corner, you are confronted with a set of pinnacles swarming with juvenile fish and their ever present predators, and even an anemone city. Quite often, this is the site people ask to dive again!
- El Aruk Goa – These inner pinnacles are reached after heading across some seagrass and are still protected by the north reef, so can be dived in all weather conditions. Here large parrotfish can be seen nibbling at the coral while the residents of the seagrass, namely green sea turtles, come to rest on their favourite coral blocks.
- Seagrass – Don’t expect a freshly mowed lawn, but a dive in the seagrass of Mubarak, while sometimes appearing devoid of life (it isn’t!), can bring you face to face with huge green turtles, honeycomb and feathertail rays. Spot a cloud of sand though and you’re probably about to bump into Dyson, our resident dugong!
- Farsha Sahab – So named because this enormous, immaculate hard coral garden gives you the impression of flying over clouds. The scenery wins the day here, this is about as good as it gets. Coral further than the eye can see, all undamaged, shows you why the southern red sea has such a good reputation.
- Habili Gudda – An advanced dive that is only reached by zodiac, these large coral blocks are so detached from the main reef that they are almost considered off-shore. Subjected to current and wave action, expect to find corals and creatures adapted to such surge conditions, and visibility is usually excellent. Fish life is hugely abundant here, and it has the potential to throw up some sightings that will be proud entries into your logbook – think dolphins, shark, tuna and eagle rays.
- Shaab Abu Mahmoud – When the south winds appear expect to get the opportunity to dive this relatively unexplored site right on the south tip of Marsa Mubarak. Head off to explore the coral beds away from the reef, or stick to the wall to swim along with the huge schools of goatfish and unicornfish – either could bring you close to the resident white-tip reef shark that calls this site home.
Salmaan’s throat – a cut in the reef that doesn’t reach the shore – is a site that is relatively undived. 2 very different dive sites are available here, between them a lagoon that often welcomes pods of Spinner Dolphins. Sites include:
- Maksour – Arabic for ‘broken’, Maksour’s reef wall is littered with overhangs, cracks and swim-thrus. A small but deep canyon and a pinnacle so large you have to chicane around it are highlights, but start to explore the shallows and you will find a table coral as big as any you’ve seen before and fire coral formations that play host to pipefish and cleaner wrasse.
- Hadana – Meaning ‘nursery’ this dive has one of those amazing pinnacles that juvenile fish use for shelter and protection. You’ll reach it by crossing over a sand patch where you may be lucky enough to see an eagle ray or 2 hunting. The pinnacle itself marks the start of a small lagoon that is home to packs of large Black and twinspot snappers, and a large napoleon wrasse prowls the entire reef wall.
Marsa Shouna (Shouni Kebir)
A favourite spot of liveaboards and daily boats alike, Shouna is one of those areas where you can have magic encounters. Sites include:
- Ras Shouna – The corner and outside north of Shouna is unique for its sprawling sand plateau. Littered in table corals of all shapes and sizes, pick your depth on the gradual slope and see what’s hiding beneath each one. Of course blue spot rays are abundant, but certain times of year bring in breeding guitar rays and other surprises.
- Aquarium – The name says it all – this is the site to come to for that fish-tank feel. Cleaning stations up and down the reef serve the resident schools of snappers, batfish, goatfish and fusiliers. Crocodilefish, lionfish and scorpionfish lay in wait for the meals to come to them and the keen eye will spot more camouflaged critters on this site than any other. This is a dive you could do again and again…
- Shouna Seagrass – The fine sand of Shouna supports a lush seagrass bed that runs down the middle of the bay and around two shallow pinnacles. This is a classic dive where you won’t have to go far to see large whiptail rays and green turtles. Ghost pipefish, snake eels and shrimpfish are regularly seen but one of the greatest sights is the large school of golden trevallies that hunt in the seagrass like a pack of dogs. Interested in divers, these large fish come very close – but beware the sand trail the leave behind! For the lucky ones also, Dyson our local dugong is spotted here.
- Sha’ab Sireer – The ‘bed reef’ could be named after the lazy speed we find works best to take in the scenery – but actually it’s so called for the fact that more often than not we encounter sleeping green turtles at about 20mt. Massive male George and cute female Tracy are the most regularly spotted, but there are plenty of others that make cameo appearances. Posing for pictures, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the massive schools of snapper and bream cruising amongst the stunning corals above.
- Sha’ab Abu Khaled – Named after one of our captains, this reef is characterised by steep sloping reef tongues extending down from the reef wall, separated by sandy areas. These sandy areas reflect the sun, lighting up the profuse colourful soft corals and giving another opportunity to see big sleeping green turtles. Large shoals of unicornfish, fuseliers and red snappers congregate next to the reef wall, and you may even be lucky to see something a little bigger out in the blue. The reef tongues are teeming with anthias reminiscent of the more offshore reefs.
Ras El Torfa
Good visibility and excellent corals are a safe bet in R.E.T. and there is always the chance to see turtles, rays and even sharks. Sites include:
- Etnin Galawa – The ‘two lagoons’ are poised between beds of some of the most intact coral you will see. Being a dive on the east facing wall this is often achieved by a boat drop and zodiac pickup, using the drift to explore the reef wall. Hawksbill turtles are regular visitors and there is a pinnacle infested with boxer shrimp for the macro lovers, but the coral is the star with beds of goniopora mixing it with huge salad corals.
- Abu Siyal – The boat moors in a natural lagoon that forms the most northern part of a sprawling bay. Here a sand strip that starts at 5mt separates the main reef from a series of beds that form a drop-off. Pufferfish and goatfish can be found on the sand patch and the drop off is covered in anthias and other small fish life. Exploring further south you could spot a turtle or two, but on the way back watch out at 9mt for one of the most picturesque pinnacles in this area, complete with a totally undamaged table coral that plays host to the secretive lemon coral goby.
- Kora Kebir – For advanced divers only, seeing the ‘big ball’ loom out of the distance at a depth of 25mt is a memorable experience. On the outer edge of this unique coral formation the drop off extends below 50mt and you are right out in the blue, meaning big life encounters are possible. Coming across a deep sand plateau back to the main reef you may encounter a large resident school of barracuda before exploring the shallows of the reef wall to end your dive.
- Shaab Salata – Named after some very large and vivid salad corals, this dive is usually done by zodiac one-way. In amongst the coral beds you can find hawksbill turtles and all the usual red sea fish, but the lucky few may well spot the resident black-tip reef shark. It pays to keep your head up on this one!
Marsa Shouni Soraya
A very narrow bay an hour south of Port Ghalib, Shouni Soraya provides easy access to 3 very different dives:
- El Lesan – A reef tongue and sand patch marks the turnaround point of this dive but you’ll want more time to explore the beautiful corals in this area. On the way back in the shallows look for camouflaged critters such as scorpionfish and Crocodilefish.
- Talata Tabba – The 3 large table corals the reef was named after have long since died but now host a diverse and vibrant array of soft corals. This reef wall is perfect for picking your depth and enjoying the scenery and the sandy bottom is home to blue spotted rays and goatfish schools.
- Nos Wa Nos – Cross the sand plateau on the south reef, keeping your eyes out for large rays as you do. You then hit a series of 3 large pinnacles out in the blue, smothered in the bicolour chromis fish – giving the site its name ‘half and half’. Barracuda and rays can surprise you on these pinnacles, before you cruise back along the south reef wall.
Our furthest site accessible locally, this idyllic palm tree lined bay is a beautiful place to moor up and dive in:
- Torfet Badawia – A boat drop entry and a zodiac pickup in this small lagoon north of the bay is a real treat. Best explored at depth to start with, the overhangs and whip corals make nice scenery. Shallow up and explore the pinnacle in the centre of the laggon for loads of critters before drifting over the reef tongues and sand patches, enjoying the table corals scattered across them.
- Shaab Tarabesa – Named after a large table coral sitting atop a pinnacle at 12mt, this dive has some lovely coral encrusted pinnacles at depth and some swim-thrus in the shallows. You can see hawksbill turtles and a variety of rays and fish here, and watch out for a resident warty frogfish residing on the reef.
- Shaab Bohar – named after the large schools of black & white and twinspot snappers, this south reef has some great coral growth on the reef wall and also some very interesting large pinnacles. On the way over you’ll go across a deep patch of seagrass where we often spot small green turtles and even from time to time Dennis, the dugong of Abu Dabab fame. On the way back you’ll do your safety stop on a 5mt sand plateau covered in soles, flounders and partner gobies.
Special Trips from Marsa Alam
Marsa Abu Dabab (Half day trip – 2 dives)
This fantastic shore dive is perfect for divers and non-divers alike, and as a half day trip you are back in your hotel for lunchtime. Non diving partners will love the opportunity to just sunbathe or have a refreshing dip in the bay of Marsa Abu Dabab where a snorkel in the shallow waters will be full of colourful fish and corals. The diving is amazing though, as you are pretty much guaranteed to get up close and personal with HUGE green turtles grazing in the seagrass meadows – quite often it’s a case of losing count of them! Also very commonly spotted are guitar sharks and large whiptail rays. Macro lovers will delight in hairy pygmy pipehorses, robust and slender ghost pipefish and even thorny seahorses – but only if you have good eyesight (or an Emperor guide!) The reef is always close by and perfect if you get bored of diving with turtles(!). Here you’ll find soft coral smothered pinnacles, schools of goatfish, scorpionfish and rays of all sizes. Bring a camera!
Minimum qualification: Scuba Diver/1*/Ocean Diver.
Supplement: 15 Euros (includes drinks)
A world famous offshore reef, Elphinstone is the jewel in our crown. Sheer walls and sometimes currents at exhilarating speeds make this one for advanced divers only but it will be one you remember. Dive the east wall in the morning and the west in the afternoon to make the most of the sun, and light up the abundant soft corals. Anthias smother the walls and large gorgonian fans and black corals hide critters such as the infamous longnose hawkfish. Keep an eye out in the blue for resident schools of snapper, large barracuda and enormous Napoleon wrasse.
The north and south plateaus drop to over 40mt in depth but can be a place for very special encounters – manta rays, silvertip, tiger, grey reef and hammerhead sharks have all been seen here and cruising the shallows at the right time of year can be curious silky and oceanic whitetip sharks.
Minimum qualification: Advanced Open Water/2*/Sports Diver with 30 logged dives.
Often named ‘Dolphin House’, this offshore reef is shaped like a horseshoe and creates a naturally protected lagoon to moor in. Usually with very good visibility, here the diving is stunning: a labyrinth of pinnacles, some steep drop offs on the outer walls, table corals bigger than you are likely to have seen and a stunning ‘Cathedral’ swim-through at 5m.
A pod of spinner dolphins uses this lagoon as a nursery and shelter and the chance to snorkel with them in between dives is the ‘icing on the cake’. If you ever figure out which way to look when you have 50+ dolphins playing around you, be sure to let us know!
Minimum qualification: Open Water/1*/Ocean Diver.
Wreck of the Hamada
A wreck you can dive from the shore! Just wait until you see the stern of this 65mt long coaster looming out of the blue after just a few minutes swim! Situated in a wonderfully secluded bay, the wreck of the Hamada is a new addition to Emperor Marsa Alam’s list of top class dives. No need for any great depth here as you explore this two-part wreck that sank in mysterious circumstances in 1993. Masts and ropes are still attached and now smothered in fledgling hard corals while butterflyfish and parrotfish nibble away. Lying on its starboard side at 15mt it makes for a nice subject for photographers, while ‘wreckies’ will delight in the intact propeller and the possibility to explore holds and cabins. Snorkellers will also love the opportunity to snorkel a wreck – so unique!
Light lunch on the unspoiled beach with an imposing backdrop of mountains sets you up for either another dive on the wreck or the chance to explore an immaculate north reef. Then drive back through Wadi El Gamal National Park and keep your eye out for the grazing camels on the way home!
Minimum qualification: Open Water/1*/Ocean Diver.
Supplement: 30 Euros (includes lunch)