Gordon Reef is the most southern of the four reefs located between the Sinai Peninsula and Tiran Island. It is known for the wreck of the Lovilla, which ran aground on the northern end in September 1981. The southern part of the reef, sheltered from wind and waves, is covered by corals and rich in fish.

Gordon Reef snorkeling, Egypt

How to get there?

Gordon Reef is only accessible by boat. This is one of the most popular snorkeling tours in Sharm el-Sheikh, and you will have no trouble finding tour operators to take you. Most excursions to Gordon Reef leave from Sharm el-Mina marina, south of Sharm el-Sheikh. Excursions generally include stops on 3 to 4 snorkeling spots (Ras Bob, Ras Um Sid…), and tour organizers generally provide meals and drinks – ask them for more details. It takes about 1 hour 30 minute by boat to reach the reef from the marina.

Water entrance

Your guide will show you where to get into the water from the boat.

Gordon Reef snorkeling map, Egypt

Exploration

The area to explore covers the south edge of the reef, which is sheltered from the wind and the waves. Gordon Reef has both a shallow reef flat (↕2ft/0.5m), and drop-offs opening to the sea (↕12-20ft/4-6m). The reef flat is covered by giant clams. Due to the shallowness of the water, the luminosity is exceptional, and taking underwater photos is a real pleasure.

Coral reef at Gordon Reef, Red Sea

On the drop-offs, the diversity of coral is striking, and a large amount of underwater life is drawn to the coral areas. The coral (mainly of the acropora type) is very well preserved. Crowds of damselfish and anthias are drawn to the coral beds, while surgeonfish and butterflyfish with spectacular colours (several of which are endemic to the Red Sea) come and go along the reef. In the deep blue of the reef drop-off, you may also have the chance to see a humphead wrasse or an impressive grouper, although they are shy.

This is a very popular spot at certain times of day, so watch out for the boats and the other snorkelers.

Masked butterflyfish at Gordon Reef, Red Sea

Restaurants and accommodation

Gordon Reef is completely natural. Tour organizers generally provide drinks and meal (check beforehand).



Species you may spot while snorkeling Gordon Reef
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Regal angelfish Pygoplites diacanthus  
Bluecheek butterflyfish Chaetodon semilarvatus  
Chevron butterflyfish Chaetodon trifascialis  
Diagonal butterflyfish Chaetodon fasciatus  
Black-tailed butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus  
Masked puffer Arothron diadematus  
Broomtail wrasse Cheilinus lunulatus  
Klunzinger’s wrasse Thalassoma rueppellii  
Sea goldie Pseudanthias squamipinnis  
Giant clam Tridacna sp.  

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsSnorkeling tour price
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.