Boats off Dahlak Archipelago, Eritrea

Dahlak Islands

This cluster of almost 130 islands is spread along Eritrea’s coastline, scattered amongst the warm waters of the Red Sea. Famed for its pearl fisheries, which have operated since Roman times, the archipelago is also home to a diverse range of marine life.

Although humans have left their mark on the islands – four of which are still permanently inhabited – the Dahlak Archipelago has gained recognition as a pristine marine wilderness, largely untouched for more than 30 years, due to the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Coral reefs and white beaches fringe the islands, which are dry and rocky. Overhead seabirds circle, preying on the fish that feed off the reefs. Some of the Red Sea’s more elusive marine species can sometimes be spotted here, including dolphins, dugongs, sharks and turtles.

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