Place Category: Hurghada / El Gouna
Just off the end of Ben el Gebel in the middle of the Giftun Strait sits Banana Reef.
It is also known as ‘Gota Ben el Gebel’, ‘Gota Torfa el Shait’ or more poetically ‘Shaab Farina’ (meaning ‘dragonfly reef’, look at its shape to see why).
It’s a Y-shaped reef lying in shallow water (15m).
It’s pretty well sheltered to the south of the reef where the moorings are. Current can often be very strong. Being in shallow sandy water, the visibility drops dramatically in bad weather.
You can moor up and dive on either side of the reef. The northeast point has some shallow caves. The Northwest point, on the other hand, has a particularly stunning erg. Don’t waste time on the lee (south) side of the reef, it is naturally dead. Head towards the outer reef, at the corner is a fan shaped boulder that is home to a school of Bannerfish. Here you should turn away from the main reef and head west. 20m away is a 4m high pinnacle, carpeted in Purple Soft Corals, another 20m beyond that is the erg. It is overhanging on the south side with a “nest” of coral fragments beneath. The north side is sloping and also carpeted in Pink, Purple and Lilac Soft Corals. Beyond it is a Gorgonian clad boulder. To the north the reef slopes to 20m.
Mainly you will see Bannerfish, but also Unicorn Fishes, Emperor Angelfish and Puffers.