The Red Sea off the coast of Sudan boasts immaculate coral, large pelagics and some of the best wreck diving in the world. Less crowded than Egyptian waters and offering challenging dive sites, a Sudan liveaboard trip should be on every advanced diver’s bucket list.
Sudan’s Red Sea is teeming with marine life. Healthy corals and underwater caves support myriads of schooling fish. At remote sites only accessible by liveaboard, you’ll swim with sharks, moray eels, manta rays, barracudas, sea turtles and the impressively ugly humphead parrot fishes. Incredible wrecks include Jacques Cousteau’s Conshelf 2 and the Italian Umbria warship, sunk in World War 2 with 360 000 undetonated bombs still inside.
Many people steer clear of Sudan because of the political situation and as a result, you’ll have the dive sites practically to yourself. Divers who choose to take the plunge are guaranteed to have a one-of-a-kind experience.
QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST SUDAN LIVEABOARD TRIPS
- MY CASSIOPEIA
- MY ANDROMEDA
- LE BARON NOIR
- MSY ELEGANTE
- MS ROYAL EVOLUTION
- MY DOLCE VITA
- DON QUESTO
- MY SEAWOLF-DOMINATOR
- MY VOYAGER
- MY EXCELLENCE
THE BEST SUDAN LIVEABOARDS – A COMPARISON
4 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A LIVEABOARD IN SUDAN
1. WHAT TIME OF YEAR ARE YOU GOING?
Whatever time of year you go, diving Sudan will never be very crowded. Visibility is always good and even better during the dry season from November to May, especially from February on. Water temperatures run around 85°F (30°C) between June and September and down to 75°F (24°C) between December and March.
Typical Sudan liveaboard trips are one or two weeks long, and the most popular time of year for diving is between October and July. The water can be choppier between November and February.
2. WHAT MARINE LIFE DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
For your best chance of seeing hammerhead sharks, head to Sudan between February and May. Whale sharks tend to be more abundant between November and February, and you have a better possibility of glimpsing manta rays between August and October. Most other sharks and marine life can be spotted all year round. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
If you’re interested in a particular wreck or dive site, check the diving itineraries of your liveaboard operator. Most liveaboards cover different areas in different parts of the year.
3. WHAT’S YOUR COMFORT LEVEL?
Sudan liveaboards range from basic to luxurious. Le Baron Noir and the double-masted MSY Elegante are smaller, budget-friendly liveaboards that offer less amenities but a more genuine experience. For all the frills, try the MY Cassiopeia or the MY Andromeda, sister ships which both offer a shisha bar and personal underwater scooters for rent. The MS Royal Evolution boasts a jacuzzi as well as wheelchair facilities for disabled persons.
4. EASE OF TRAVEL: WHERE ARE YOU FLYING TO SUDAN FROM?
Some of the liveaboards on this list have their starting point in Egypt. Almost all nationalities need a visa to enter Sudan and Egypt. Check liveaboard details to see whether the cost of the visa and applicable taxes is included in the liveaboard price. The MY Voyager liveaboard has tailored a 9-day itinerary around flights from Europe for ease of travel.
People with Israeli stamps in their passport might not be able to enter the country. Don’t forget to look into travel advice regarding alcohol, safety and vaccinations before you book your trip to Sudan.
VIDEO: SCUBA DIVING IN SUDAN
SUDAN LIVEABOARD REVIEWS
THE TOP 10 SUDAN LIVEABOARD BOATS
Photo Credit: My Cassiopeia Liveaboard
The MY Cassiopeia is a 40m liveaboard with a huge partially shaded sun deck and spacious cabins. The chef serves four meals a day of Italian, local and international cuisine; vegetarian and Halal dishes are available. Guests have the choice of relaxing in the classic European salon or getting acquainted with the local culture in the special shisha room with Arabic music. Another nice touch, the MY Cassiopeia provides personal EPIRBs and underwater scooters for rent. Rental scuba equipment is available but be sure to book in advance.
Photo Credit: My Andromeda Liveaboard
The 40m MY Andromeda is sister ship to the MY Cassiopeia. This attractive liveaboard also features a shisha room and an enormous sundeck, as well as personal EPIRBs and underwater scooters for hire. The food is served buffet-style and comprises both local and international specialties, while snacks and soft drinks are always complimentary. Vegetarian and Halal meals can be arranged. The liveaboard has free wifi and nitrox is available onboard for a surcharge, but rental equipment should be booked in advance.
LE BARON NOIR
Photo Credit: Le Baron Noir Liveaboard
The relatively small Le Baron Noir liveaboard measures only 22m and accepts a maximum of 12 divers for a truly exclusive experience. Operating in the area since 1987 and renovated in 2015, this is a handsome craft with all the amenities and the latest equipment. Guests can participate in fishing for their own dinners to complement the traditional French and Sudanese dishes. The crew speaks English and French. Nitrox is available for a charge. Liveaboard diving on this boat is recommended for advanced divers only.
Photo Credit: Msy Elegante Liveaboard
Classic, traditional, stately…the name MSY Elegante says it all. Warm Italian hospitality welcomes you and thirteen other guests on board this 25m sailing yacht liveaboard. Renovated in 2009, the schooner features seven double cabins with private showers and air conditioning. Meals are often eaten al fresco, and guests can kick back in the lounge or on the shaded sundeck between dives. Rental equipment is available for hire; there is no internet and no nitrox but you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience on the MSY Elegante.
MS ROYAL EVOLUTION
Photo Credit: Ms Royal Evolution Liveaboard
The 39m MS Royal Evolution liveaboard yacht has an impressive list of perks. The liveaboard boasts a wheelchair-accessible main deck cabin completely outfitted for disabled guests. Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom, a fridge and a television. The Royal Evolution is also the only Sudan liveaboard to have a jacuzzi, with a nearby bar and all-day snacks.
All liveaboard trips on the MS Royal Evolution start and end in Egypt; wifi is free when in range and the boat can support technical and rebreather diving. Rental equipment and nitrox are available for a surcharge. Divers can take a multitude of PADI courses onboard, among them nitrox certification and specialty diving courses such as night diving and drift diving.
MY DOLCE VITA
Photo Credit: My Dolce Vita Liveaboard
The cabins of the MY Dolce Vita liveaboard are so luxurious you just might forget you’re on a boat. This 38m liveaboard can accommodate up to 20 divers who will enjoy the two outdoor sundecks with loungers, the bar and the tastefully decorated dining room and lounge. Every cabin has air conditioning and its own private bathroom and the crew speaks English, German, Arabic and Italian. Onboard wifi is free and nitrox and rental equipment are available for a surcharge.
Photo Credit: Don Questo Liveaboard
Don Questo is a good pick if you want a more down-to-earth experience. The sturdy 34m boat was originally built for the North Sea in Europe before being reborn as a liveaboard. The liveaboard only welcomes a maximum of 17 guests, making for a more personalized experience and a very convivial atmosphere. Lunch and dinner are often made from the fresh catch of the day.
The Don Questo has a good environmental record and for this reason, it is a top pick for scientific research. The liveaboard is also the only Sudan liveaboard to have an on-board recompression chamber. Nitrox, rental equipment and diving certification are available for a surcharge. The experienced crew speaks English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Italian.
Photo Credit: My Seawolf-Dominator Liveaboard
The modern and stylish 36m MY Seawolf-Dominator was just renovated in 2017. Each of the gorgeously appointed rooms in this liveaboard come equipped with their own private bathrooms, sound systems and minibars. Copious amounts of food are provided, with buffets three times a day, snacks in between and beer and wine included. As well as vegetarian options, Halal food is also available. Nitrox is available free of charge. Technical diving, rebreather, rescue diving and other courses are offered on board.
Photo Credit: My Voyager Liveaboard
The dedicated crew onboard the MY Voyager liveaboard has been providing memorable experiences to divers in the Red Sea for more than 30 years. Every cabin comes with a private bathroom, climate control and minibar. The MY Voyager has two sky decks, including a secluded “sky-deck” with sun loungers. Wifi is provided free of charge. Diving courses, nitrox and rental equipment are available for a fee. For visitors connecting through Europe, there are special 9-day itineraries tailored around the flight schedules.
Photo Credit: My Excellence Liveaboard
The MY Excellence is decorated in elegant tones of oak and mahogany. Guests will feel at home in the comfortable cabins with individual climate control and en-suite bathrooms. Local and international meals are served buffet-style; vegetarian and Halal meals can be arranged. Relax in the lounge or one of the shaded sundecks and catch up with friends and family back home thanks to the onboard wifi. The MY Excellence Onboard can be booked for groups and private charters at a discounted rate. Divemaster, technical diving and nitrox certification are available, and nitrox is free!