Giftun Drift, on Small Giftun Island, is a beautiful, deep-wall dive that is one hour offshore east of Hurghada; this is one of the deepest sites in the area, and the marine life here is beautiful. Abu Ramada, south of Small Giftun Island, has remarkable multicolored corals. Shu'ab al-Erg looks like a large crescent with big ergs (shifting dunes) at its tips. The site, two hours from Hurghada, has a gorgeous coral garden. You may also see dolphins here.
Expect to pay about €50 for a day of diving, including two tanks; full gear rental per day is usually around €24. Inquire about diving packages of up to 10 days, which include 20 dives. An open-water course costs €315.
SUBEX. Specializing in underwater safaris south of Hurghada, SUBEX is always in search of virgin reefs unpopulated by divers and boats; the guides offer weeklong live-aboard trips to the kinds of sites that make a splash in National Geographic. Aldahar, Hurghada, Red Sea, 84511. 065/354–3261. www.subex.org.
Divers' Lodge. Pioneers of technical diving in the Red Sea, Divers' Lodge has its own jetty, fully equipped live-aboard boat, and several contracted daily boats. The company runs PADI courses from beginner to instructor levels and has night diving, technical diving, and NITROX and rebreather courses. The staff is warm and professional and includes divers from around the world. Divers' Lodge also has the only courses in Egypt in sign language for the hearing impaired, conducted by a hearing-impaired instructor. Continental Resort Hurghada, Hurghada–Safaga Rd., Km 17, Hurghada, Red Sea. 065/346–5100. www.divers-lodge.com.