Who has never dreamed of swimming on the surface of a turquoise sea, surrounded by dozens of playful dolphins, in the wild? Sataya Reef (often nicknamed “Dolphin House”), located off the Egyptian Riviera, is simply one of the best places in the world to live this unique experience.

Boats at Sataya Reef - Dolphin House

How to get there?

Sataya Reef is a coral reef located in the Red Sea, about 10km off the coast of the Egyptian Riviera. It is only reachable by boat. If most visitors opt for a day trip (from euro 65 pp., meals and snorkel gear included), it is also possible to book liveaboard trips on the reef (2 to 5 nights, from of euro 120 pp. Most of the boats departs from Hamata Jetty, located about 100 kilometers south of Marsa Alam. From there, the crossing lasts from 2h to 2h30.

Sataya Reef - Dolphin House snorkeling map

Water entrance

Once on the reef, you will board a zodiac with your guide, in search of the dolphins. Once they are located, you’ll have to jump in the water from your boat to go to meet them.

Exploration

Sataya is a half-moon shaped coral reef, stretching for almost 5km on its greatest length. It forms a shallow, sheltered lagoon (5 to 10 m on average), in which large pods of spinner dolphins enter daily. The lagoon serves as a haven for the dolphins, far from the dangers of the open sea, where they can rest and feed their calf. This almost permanent presence of dolphins makes Sataya Reef one of the best places in the world to swim with them in the wild. It is not uncommon to snorkel with pods of twenty to thirty playful and inquisitive dolphins, swimming around snorkelers during a few tens of minutes. This show will undoubtedly be one of your most beautiful underwater memories under. Always observe the dolphin watching rules: swim gently, do not try to touch them and do not feed them.

Snorkeling with dolphins at Sataya Reef

Dolphin watching in Sataya Reef is easy but is not guaranteed. Sometimes dolphins move out of the lagoon for several hours. If you have opted for a day trip (which only allows a few hours visit on the reef), you may leave Sataya Reef without getting the chance to see the dolphins. Some day tours (and all overnight stays) also offer the possibility to snorkel the inner side of the reef edging the lagoon. Above the corals, you will surely spot clownfish in their anemone, triggerfish, butterflyfish, bannerfish, and even some green turtles, enjoying the shelter of the lagoon too.

Swim with dolphins in the wild at Snorkeling with dolphins at Sataya Reef

Restaurants and accommodation

Day trips and liveaboard tours all include meals and drinks.

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaSataya Reef Protected Area
  • Maximum depth65ft/20m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsDay tours from €65pp.
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

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.