Ras Um Sid, located just few miles south of Na’ama Bay, is fringed by a narrow coral reef. With its reef flat colonized by dozens of giant clams and its spectacular reef drop-off on the Red Sea, is one of the top snorkeling spots accessible from the shore in Sharm el-Sheikh. On the reef you will find clownfish, angelfish, several species of butterflyfish, and shoals of sea goldie living above an exceptional coral wall.

How to get there?

Ras Um Sid is a small peninsula located between Na’ama Bay and the old Sharm el-Sheikh. There are three options to reach the spot.

The easiest way to reach the spot is to spend the day at El Fanar Beach, small beach resort located on the central part of the spot. You’ll have to pay a $10 per person entrance fee, but you will enjoy the facilities of the complex (deck chairs, bar, restaurant, showers…). At the end of a small pier, there is a ladder where you can easy enter the water, directly on the reef.

To reach the spot free of charge, you need to enter the water from the public beach (see map below), and swim to the spot (follow the reef edge for about 250m to the east).

View over Ras Um Sid reef, Sharm el-Sheikh snorkeling

Last option, some snorkeling tours include a stop at Ras Um Sid. In this case, you will enter the water directly from the boat.

Water entrance

You can enter the water either from the El Fanar Beach pier (by far the best option), from the public beach (but you’ll have to swim about 250 meters to reach the central part of the spot), or directly from a boat, if you take part to an organized tour.

Ras Um Sid snorkeling map, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Exploration

The area to explore covers a narrow strip between the reef flat (↕2ft/0.5m), colonized by hundreds of giant clams, and the reef drop-off, some 20 yards from the beach. The drop-off plunges abruptly down toward an immaculate sandy seabed (↕50ft/15m).

On the drop-off, the seabed is exceptional. In the presence of the density and variety of the underwater life here, sometimes you will not know which way to look: shoals of Red Sea bannerfish rest in the shade of the drop-off, scarcely troubled by the superb angelfish and parrotfish meandering on the reef alone.

Snorkeling with clownfish at Ras Um Sid, Sharm el-Sheikh

Swim along the reef edge and, here and there, you will surely spot a triggerfish, a small group of blue cheek butterflyfish (endemic of the region) or a bluespotted grouper. And as you find yourself face to face with Red Sea clownfish playing in their anemone, you may be surprised by an humphead wrasse darting in the deep blue sea

The Red Sea is a particularly sheltered sea, and this spot can explored practically all the year round. During the winter months, the air temperature in the region falls and the wind sometimes blows all day. Don’t forget your rashguard so that you don’t have to cut short your exploration due to the cold.

Giant clam at Ras Um Sid, Sharm el-Sheikh

Restaurants and accomodation

If you choose to spend the day at El Fanar Beach, you can have a meal at the restaurant, but it is not allowed to take a picnic with you. On the public beach, there are two mid-category restaurants above the beach, offering a spectacular view on the reef (Sadiki Café and Farsha Café). A few luxury hotels have opened close to the area, particularly the Renaissance Sharm el-Sheikh Golden View Beach Resort, adjacent to El Fanar Beach.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Ras Um Sid
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Regal angelfish Pygoplites diacanthus  
Emperor angelfish Pomacanthus imperator  
Bluecheek butterflyfish Chaetodon semilarvatus  
Diagonal butterflyfish Chaetodon fasciatus  
Black-tailed butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus  
Red Sea bannerfish Heniochus intermedius  
Sohal surgeonfish Acanthurus sohal  
Klunzinger’s wrasse Thalassoma rueppellii  
Arabian Picasso triggerfish Rhinecanthus assasi  
Red Sea clownfish Amphiprion bicinctus  
Eritrean butterflyfish Chaetodon paucifasciatus  
Red pencil urchin Heterocentrotus mamillatus  
Green Chromis Chromis viridis  
Sulphur damsel Pomacentrus sulfureus  
Indo-Pacific sergeant Abudefduf vaigiensis  
Red Sea sailfin tang Zebrasoma desjardinii  
Yellowtail surgeonfish Zebrasoma xanthurum  
Sea goldie Pseudanthias squamipinnis  
Giant clam Tridacna sp.  
Masked puffer Arothron diadematus  
  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth3ft/1m on the reef flat, 65ft/20m on the drop off
  • Water entranceFrom a ladder, a beach or a boat
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree (or $10pp. El Fanar Beach entrance fee)
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.