3 snorkelling adventures in Umluj

It was pure luck that drove us to Umluj.

At one point, we were in Yanbu researching our snorkelling opportunities. Then, one of our waiters asked us: ‘Why don’t you go to Umluj?’.

Umluj is a paradise spot at the Red Sea. The main beach is gigantic… and empty. No one knows why boats aren’t allowed to shore anymore. To protect the coral, perhaps?

Sunsets in Umluj, KSA


You end up having no other choice than to snorkel from the shore! Happiest option for me!


Some more helpful info?

About the snorkelling gear

We travel with our masks and tubes, carry antifog liquid and water shoes (at times – when the luggage allows it –, also fins). We also have UV-resistant tops and I wore neoprene shorts (in line with KSA beach etiquette).

I am not sure where you can rent gear in Umluj, but your best bet would be to contact a scuba diving company.


About the corals

Saudi Arabia is said to host the largest diversity of corals in the world (even greater than the Caribbean Sea!), so you’ll see so many interesting formations!


About the visibility

The sea bottom is sandy in this stretch of the Red Sea. It will not be crystal clear, but there are rockier areas, too.


About the sharks

It is the Red Sea. Yes, in theory, there are sharks, but we haven’t seen any. From what I’ve read, reef sharks are smaller sharks that do not normally attack humans.

To avoid riskier periods, try snorkelling more than two hours after sunrise and no less than two hours before sunset.


About the open sea

While you are safe in the reef area, the open sea can seem scary at times, especially on gloomier days. If you reach the end of the reef and don’t feel safe anymore, swim back, get to shallow water, and take a break. Only do what makes you happy!


About the fauna in Umluj

Cornetfish – checked, surgeonfish – checked (as cheeky as always!), lionfish – checked, pufferfish – checked (Marcel loves to see what they’re up to, always!), clownfish – checked… Dugongs can be spotted if you are lucky. We weren’t (this time around!).

We must return; we’ve already done it once, as we went, snorkelled (Snorkelling Spot 1), then spent one night in AlUla and returned to Umluj for two more nights.


About the adventures

Snorkelling Spot No. 1 (25.084, 37.259)

You will walk a lot (the water’s too shallow to swim). After 100-130 metres, you will reach the reef wall and beautiful and diverse corals. The visibility was very good when we were there!



Snorkelling Spot No. 2 (25.088, 37.262)

[It was recommended by a scuba diving instructor – we thank him!]

It is close to Al-Baik fast food. We went round the larger government building found on the corniche and ended up on the beach. We crossed a mini lagoon by foot and dove in. From the first moments, you’ll be wowed! You’re inside the reef!


Snorkelling Spot No. 3 (25.08883, 37.26190)

[This is found between the first two spots mentioned.]

You will again have to walk a lot because the water is shallow and you’ll end up in even shallower water (we rested on sand), alongside several birds (it was cute!).

From here, you can dive in. The only problem with this spot is that the depth increases fast and you’ll find yourself swimming in open water in no time. Choose a very bright day for this experience!

Umluj snorkelling (Spot No. 3, on the surface), KSA

Umluj snorkelling (Spot No. 3), KSA


I hope that I was of help and that you’ll enjoy your time in Umluj!

It is one of the places dearest to my heart!

Umluj itself is a giant beating turquoise heart!

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