Sudan’s only Red Sea eco-resort is looking to attract regional and international divers to kick start the tourism season in the country.
The Red Sea Resort, which is 27 kilometers north of Port Sudan is located only 211 nautical miles from Jeddah and has become the first Sudanese resort to acquire Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) license.
Despite the length of the beaches of the Red Sea in Sudan, 750 kilometers, and the fact that it is characterized by unique biodiversity and coral reefs the resort is the only one of its kind in the country.
Businesswoman Iman Osman DeKock opened the modest resort in 2000 with the aim of opening the shores of the Red Sea in Sudan to diving enthusiasts and discovering deep-water coral reefs.
“The resort offers tourists the opportunity to enjoy untouched pristine beaches, beauty of nature and the clean environment around the Red Sea mountain chain,” she told Al Arabiya English. “We will be able to provide diving vacations and courses for those who want to learn,” she said.
The resort offers bungalows and suites inspired by the architecture of the Red Sea region, where wood and environmentally friendly building materials are incorporated as a major component of the construction process.
Interior murals and handcrafts highlighting the region's culture and cultural diversity in Sudan, she added. Tourists have been visiting the resort as an “off the beaten track” location for deep-sea divers, Iman added.
Although areas on the Sudanese Red Sea coast offer excellent diving opportunities, many of the tours offered are Live aboard diving safaris that are mostly originating from Egypt. However, scuba diving tourism is very much on the rise as word spreads of beautiful, colourful, pristine reefs, healthy shark populations, uncrowded dive sites, unforgettable wrecks and big schools of fish.
“Sudan is now attracting world-class diving professionals, not just amateurs, and we are working to satisfy them,” Iman said.
Over the past three years, Sudan has witnessed a significant increase in the number of tourists, investment opportunities on the Red Sea coast are pushing government agencies to encourage more foreign investments in this region to support the construction of more villages and tourist resorts according to Nasruddin Ahmed al-Awad from the Red Sea State ministry of Tourism.
“The annual share of tourists is about 4,000, in the Red Sea state,” said. Some 7,000 tourists spend between 7 and 21 days in the most important diving sites, such as Sanganeb, Makarsam and Mashareef,” he added.
The Sanganeb National Park houses 124 coral reefs, where dolphins, turtles, three shark species, and an array of fish species thrive. Large fish, including barracuda, groupers, and jackfish, are common.
The Shaab Rumi site is one of the most favored scuba diving destinations in Sudan. The clarity of water and diversity of marine life attracted famous French explorer and conservationalist Jacque-Yves Cousteau when studied it in the 1960s, and built his 'Precontinent 2' underwater village to explore how man can live underwater in 1963.
Al-Awad said that the state government plans to build 10 tourist villages over the next year as part of a plan to take advantage of 76 berths along the Red Sea coast that are all suitable for tourism villages.