Camel Dive Club & Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh is a PADI five-star Instructor Development Dive Resort specially designed to be a “one stop” base for your perfect diving holiday in the Red Sea:
We will be celebrating our thirty five year anniversary in 2021. A true achievement for any established business and we are very proud to be reaching this milestone. Established in 1986, we are one of the few dive centres in Sharm el Sheikh that still operates from an original location in the centre of Naama Bay.
The idea for Camel Dive Club began when its founder, Hesham Gabr, visited Naama Bay with friends in the early 1980s. Inspired by the lifestyle of Sinai’s diving pioneers, the project culminated with the opening of Camel Dive Club, in 1986.
Camel Dive Club consisted of a modest one-storey stone building with palm-thatched courtyard (the diving centre), some straw huts (the ‘hotel’), a water tank, and a compressor.
Most diving in Sharm el Sheikh in the 1980s took place from the shore, either on foot or by jeep. The coastline was almost totally undeveloped. Dive sites like Ras Nasrani, White Knight and Tower, now the location of luxury resorts, were popular shore dives.
From sleepy fishing village to world class diving resort
Naama Bay was ‘discovered’ by diving pioneers in the 1970s. It became known for its sheltered sandy bay and the pristine coral reefs surrounding it. Some of the diving pioneers stayed on, and established dive centres along the beach. The few divers who visited on vacation were also pioneers of a sort, since facilities at that time were very basic. Little fresh food was available, with meals mostly consisting of fish – grilled, fried, baked – followed by more fish! Even by the mid-1980s, what is now the lively holiday resort of Naama Bay was little more than a stretch of sand. Along with the dive centres, the area’s only tourist facilities were two hotels. The Marina Sharm hotel had been constructed in the 1970s. The Movenpick Jolie Ville resort on the beach front was newly built.
The intervening three and a half decades have seen huge changes. Sharm el Sheikh has transformed itself from a sleepy fishing village to a sophisticated tourist resort complete with airport offering daily charter flights and a choice of hotels stretching for nearly 30 km. Naama Bay is the focus of tourist activity, with a wide range of shops, and restaurants serving food from around the world. The days of nothing to eat but fish, are long gone.
Although the growth of tourism has inevitably left its mark on the environment, very early on it was recognized that this place of natural beauty needed to be protected. In 1983 Ras Mohammed and the Straits of Tiran were declared National Parks spanning an area of 480 km², including 135 km² of surface land area and 345 km² area over water. Protecting these areas from fishing and any urban development then extended to installing a system of fixed boat moorings to protect the coral reefs from anchor damage, as well as strict diving rules such as no touching, no collecting of fish or corals, no knives, no gloves and no feeding of the fish.
Scuba diving in Sharm El Sheikh has remained world-class thanks to the local community working together along government ministers and officials to educate and preserve our unique corner of the Red Sea. Very few dive locations so close to Europe offer warm water, year-round sunshine, abundant marine life and a huge variety of easily accessible dive sites, from 800m drop offs to sandy plateaus and wrecks like the SS Thistlegorm, Dunraven, Million Hope and Kormoran.
Camel Dive Club has grown up over the last 35 years too. It is now a PADI five-star Instructor Development Dive Resort (the original stone walls of the diving centre remain). The Camel Hotel replaces the straw hut accommodation, along with our restaurant, café, and two bars. Camel Dive Club & Hotel is now located in the heart of Na’ama Bay’s pedestrian area.
According to Hesham Gabr, Chairman and founder of Camel Dive Club, “Sharm el Sheikh, and Camel Dive Club, have changed enormously over the last 35 years. But Camel’s philosophy is still the same. As divers ourselves, we have always focused on providing what divers want – top-quality facilities, friendly dive guides, and fantastic diving and that will never change”.