RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast has emerged as a top destination for vacationers. It has marine life-filled waters, fantastic vistas, swimming and diving sites — making it an ideal summer destination.
There are several excellent diving and swimming sites along the coastline, with the northern areas offering shipwrecks. The southern regions are home to islands filled with flora and fauna, offering dramatic encounters with manta rays, sharks and other species that live off the mangroves and shallow coral reefs.
The warm climate in Saudi Arabia makes for beautiful diving and swimming weather year-round along the coast, tempting many across the Kingdom to visit.
Farzanul Haque, an Indian expat living in Jeddah who has toured different cities and towns along the Red Sea coast, told Arab News: “The reason why I enjoy swimming in the waters here is due to the amazing colors of the corals, the marine life, and the water temperatures are warm all year round,” he said.
“Since my family arrived in 2017, I started visiting seaside cities such as Umluj, Yanbu and Thuwal while spending some quality time with them; we’re used to going to the Corniche most of the time, especially on the weekend and to other coastal cities during a vacation to enjoy swimming.”
For scuba divers, the Red Sea offers an adventure in discovering rich marine environments, as well as the experience of exploring historic shipwrecks such as the more than 100-year-old Sunken British ship Iona, as well as a Greek ship and a Chinese boat wholly covered with coral and seaweed.
The Seven Sisters is a series of red sea coral reefs known for their formations and bright colors. Some adventurers are keen to take photographs, with sophisticated cameras provided by diving centers.
Not only do these destinations have great swimming and diving opportunities, local seafood restaurants offer an assortment of dishes featuring the freshest catch of the day.
“You won’t find fish like the Red Sea’s fish anywhere else but here,” said Khalid Garout, a private sector worker and fishermen who helps provide his family business with fresh fish over the weekends.
“Saudis and foreigners alike come to my family’s quaint restaurant off the road in Thuwal and become frequent visitors,” he told Arab News. “Everyone here knows their fish, they know when to fish them and the best ways of cooking them.”