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Dive Review of Camel Dive Club in
Africa/Egypt, Sharm El Sheikh

Camel Dive Club, Jul, 2013,

by David E Reubush, VA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 62 reports with 30 Helpful votes). Report 7153.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments My son is an ex-pat living in Doha, Qatar with his family. He had not been diving in a number of years due to work and family responsibilities, but was ready to get back into it. I pass through Doha to visit them whenever I travel to Indonesia, so this July seemed like a good time for us to take a trip together as I was going to be on the way home from stops in Bali and Lembeh. I was first in Sharm in 1996 and remembered it as having very laid-back dive operations so it seemed like a good place for us to go for him to get back into diving. The dive travel agency that I am currently using recommended Camel Dive Club & Hotel so we signed up for a week. The first positive about Camel is that it is really cheap. The week of diving (including nitrox), airport transportation, and hotel and breakfast for both of us was less than $1200. When the time finally came for us to head to Sharm we had some definite concerns about the political situation in Egypt as there had been lots of violent demonstrations in Cairo and other cities with the ouster of President Morsi and the US State Department was telling US citizens not to go to Egypt at all. My son found a British Foreign Office site that said to avoid Cairo and the major cities, but that the resort areas of Sharm and Hurghada were safe. We found this to be true. We never felt unsafe in Sharm for even a second. As a matter of fact, the people there were glad to see us. Tourism in Sharm is a pale shadow of what it had been. In 1996 the hotels were clustered around Naama Bay, but now extend for a distance of perhaps 25 miles from south of Naama Bay north to the Straits of Tiran. In July most of these hotels were virtually empty. One of the divemasters told my son that Camel normally ran 8 or 9 boats every day. During the week we were there the maximum number of Camel boats out was 3 and somedays only 1. Also, there were never enough people who wanted to dive either the Thistlegorm or the Dunraven for them to run a boat that far. That said, the one day we went up to the Straits of Tiran there were a total of 10 boats on one of the sites we visited and I counted 25 boats within sight. I would not want to dive Sharm in booming times. Now to some comments about the diving. First of all, diving in Sharm is really laid-back. A typical day has you doing one dive in the morning, followed by lunch on the boat (inexpensive), and one dive in the afternoon. A second positive for Camel is that the boats are large and very comfortable. The downside is that the heads discharge directly into the water. It's not too bad until you run into the situation where someone has flushed a bunch of toilet paper down the head and you end up swimming through it. For dives in the Straits of Tiran or Ras Mohammed (extra cost, but reasonable) you do two dives in the morning followed by lunch on the boat and potentially a 3rd dive in the afternoon (at an additional extra cost). The first day we were limited to local spots because they wanted to evaluate our capabilities before allowing us to go further afield. Diving in Naama Bay was good in 1996, today it is not worth doing. What you find are mainly sand and dead coral. We got talked into a night dive the first day. This was off the beach near the hotel, for which we got charged 40 euros. This was the only extra cost item that we felt was a rip-off. There were 3 small coral heads with 3 morays and a few miscellaneous other fish and crabs to see and not much else. The 2nd and 4th days we went south to Ras Mohammed. Ras Mohammed is a marine park and, for some reason, the Egyptian authorities do not allow moorings to be placed, so the boat ends up backing up to the edge of the wall, you jump off and do your dive, while the boat waits in the distance until the dive master signals it to come and get you. This results in a big dance among all the boats which happen to be at a given site, and the potential for getting run over by a boat from another dive operation which is trying to get to its divers. Of the sites we did in Ras Mohammed the site called Shark & Yolanda Reefs was the only good one. At this site we saw big schools of snapper, unicorn fish, batfish, and chevron barracuda and the Yolanda wreck with its cargo of toilets and sinks scattered across the bottom. The other sites were just so-so. The 3rd day we went north to the Straits of Tiran. Here we found beautiful hard coral gardens with clouds of anthias and miscellaneous other tropical fish. These were pretty dives, but nothing special. The last day of diving we elected to stay local, even though we knew the diving was going to be less than spectacular because we did not feel it was worth spending extra money to see either the Straits of Tiran or Ras Mohammed which we had already done. The Camel hotel was clean and the rooms were spacious and comfortable. The hotel is set up in a square with the rooms surrounding a pool in the middle of the square. The hotel has 2 restaurants, both of which have good food at reasonable prices. The included breakfast is a buffet, with less than exciting food, however, you could order omelets which were made to order and quite good. For divers in Europe, where Sharm is a short flight away I can see it as a destination for a long weekend or for someone who has a non-diving partner as it's cheap, easy to get to, and there are other things to do. For those of us in the US who have to endure a long flight to get there I would suggest that a live-aboard in the southern Red Sea would be a much better choice as the diving is much better.
Websites Camel Dive Club   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Belize, Bimini, Bonaire, Caymans, Curacao, Galapagos, Indonesia (Wakatobi, Raja Ampat, Komodo, Lembeh etc.), Philippines, Red Sea, Southern Bahamas, St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 78-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80-120 Ft/ 24-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions They generally wanted you to stay in the same general area with the guide and surface at the same time with 50 bar. However, once they became comfortable with your capabilities things were pretty loose.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments No rinse tank on the boats. Had to share rinse tank on shore with gear rinsing. Photo pro said that he had been trying to get something done for photographers, but was ignored. The bottom line is that this is a mass market operation that does not cater to photographers.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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