The handful of miles along the Jordan coast of the Red Sea are lined by a reef protected by the Aqaba Marine Park. We particularly recommend South Beach snorkeling spot, located approximately 10km south of Aqaba. On the reef drop-off you will find clownfish, moray eels, turtles and shoals of sea goldie living above a pretty healthy coral bed.

South Beach Aqaba reef flat snorkeling
South Beach reef flat is shallow and covered with healthy soft coral.

How to go snorkeling in South Beach?

South Beach snorkeling spot is located 10km south of Aqaba city centre. To get there, take the Saudi border road south. Leave the motorway at about 1.5km before the Tala Bay complex, near the Bedouin Garden Village. It is easy to park near the public beach decorated with umbrellas. The setting has nothing exceptional, but there is really something special in the water.

Another great snorkeling spot, Seven Sisters (where you can see the famous tank, sitting on sandy beds, just off the reef) is located just a few hundred meters south of South Beach. Don’t hesitate to pay it a visit too.

South Beach Aqaba Marine Park snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Aqaba South Beach

You can enter the water anywhere along the beach. A whole host of small lionfish swim near the shore: to avoid accidents, put your head underwater quickly. The reef is quite wide, and the area to explore as shown on the map can of course be extended.

Snorkeling tips to enjoy the best of South Beach

The spot to explore covers a wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off, about one hundred yards apart. From the beach, you will cross a few dozen yards of sandy sea bed and seagrass (↕2-3ft/0.5-1m), then a sea bed covered with soft coral (↕3-10ft/1-3m) as far as the reef drop-off (↕+20ft/6m).

South Beach Reef snorkeling, Aqaba
South Beach Aqaba reef drop off is a fantastic area to explore.

Although there are interesting things to see in the seagrass and on the reef flat (lionfish, peacock flounder, pufferfish and small moray eels live in the rocks), the spectacle takes on another dimension when you get closer to the reef drop-off. The sea bed here is exceptional: crowds of damselfish and sea goldies are drawn to the coral beds, while surgeonfish and butterflyfish with spectacular colors (several of which are endemic to the Red Sea) come and go along the reef. You will never tire of watching all the clownfish, which disappear into the tentacles of their anemones at the least sign of danger. In the deep blue of the reef drop-off, you may also have the chance to see a turtle, although they are shy.

Snorkeling with clownfish in South Beach, Aqaba Marine Park
Close encounters with Red Sea clownfish (amphiprion bicinctus) in sea anemones are pretty easy at South Beach reef.

Visibility in this spot is exceptional. 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.

Restaurants and accommodation in Aqaba Marine Park

There are a dozen economic and mid-range hotels facing the beach, on the other side of the road. Most of them have diving clubs. You can also eat there if you are spending the day at the site.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaAqaba Marine Park
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m on the reef flat, 40ft/12m on the reef drop-off
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersLionfish, sometimes very close to the shore
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

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.