The Red sea is a body of seawater that is trapped between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa’s north eastern coastline. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan and Yemen. The opening to the seas is very narrow through a stretch of sea between Yemen and Eritrea. The Red sea has been the subject of many historical events, most notable being Moses’ crossing with the Israelites. Though some speculate that this body of water takes its name from red colored algae that float on the surface, historical sources indicate that in ancient times Asian languages used color as a method of denoting direction. This is consistent with the Black Sea being in the north as black was the color used to describe the north or higher up regions.
Today, the Red Sea has gained importance as a tourist hotspot due its abundant marine life. Supposedly 1,000 species of invertebrate animals and hundreds of other corals are found here. The Red Sea forms a unique eco-system as it is the northern tropical ocean at an average temperature above 25 Celsius and the lack of rainfall in this arid desert region means that it has a high salinity.
This unique environment has spawned the development of a highly diverse ecosystem consisting of thousands of varieties of fish about ten percent of which are endemic to the region. Some of the best areas to dive are along the costal coral reefs which provide a habitat to the numerous varieties of fish, among these are forty four species of shark. To add to the adventure of scuba diving here, there are a number of wreck sites some which are centuries old and are relics of an age when this region was the hub of sea travel.
Divers can expect to see sharks, dolphins, barracuda and different species of sea turtles while they are submerged underwater. A Makkah hotel such as the Raffles Makkah Palace allows guests to travel to the Red Sea coast and enroll in a diving program. Another advantage of hotels in Mecca is that it gives transport links to most attractions in the country.