Ikhwa Islands

El Ikhwa Islands

El Ikhwa Islands, commonly known as Brothers Islands, are two small Red Sea islands in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt.

Location of El Ikhwa Islands

El Ikhwa Islands lie 67 kilometres (42 mi) from El Quseir on the mainland, Al-Bahr Al-Ahmar Governorate.


The most prominent feature of the islands is the Brothers Islands Lighthouse, built by the British in 1883. Small Brother island lies one kilometre (0.6 miles) south of Big Brother.

Brothers Islands Lighthouse is an active 19th-century lighthouse located on The Brothers, Egypt, an island in the Red Sea, 65 km east of al-Qusayr. Built by the British in 1883 and renovated in 1993, the Egyptian Navy operates the lighthouse. The site is usually open to visitors customarily permitted to climb the 31-metre-high (102 ft) tower.

The lighthouse retains its original hand-cranked Chance Brothers Fresnel lens and drives mechanism, requiring the attendant lighthouse keepers’ winding every four hours.

Underwater Diving around El Ikhwa Islands

El Ikhwa Islands are a dive site featuring corals and two wrecks: Numidia and Aida. The islands are also famed for encounters with Oceanic Whitetip and Hammerhead Sharks. However, they are only suitable for very professional divers due to their isolated position, the challenging dive conditions, and powerful currents. During high season there are many dive safari boats around both islands.

In 2012, Jade Bremner ranked Big Brother ninth in a list of the world’s 50 best dive sites and second in the Red Sea.

Dive Remarks

Brothers Islands is one of the full remarks of the Red Sea. Basically, below sea level, these islands have two sharp-edged mountains, steep-sided cones allegedly formed by volcanic eruptions. In return, these mountains are interlinked at a depth of 90 meters by a rocky barrier. Furthermore, Brothers Islands are pretty remote and thus a delicacy to be savoured by the privileged few.

Big Brother has a 32-meter towering lighthouse, a legacy of British rule. Small Brother is barren, lying within a one-kilometre reach, south of Big Brother. However, both islands boast marine park status.

Big Brother Island lies about 1 km to the north of its smaller sibling. It is famous for the considerable fish population, dominated by tiny anthias, glassfish and sweepers. All are resident on or around a fringing reef that plunges steeply away on all sides. Huge gorgonians and colourful soft corals densely cover the walls.

Big Brother is also home to two Red Sea wrecks, lying quite close off the island’s northeast point, near the lighthouse. The Numidia is also known as the Railway Wreck for the vessel’s two locomotive wheels that now lie in the shallows.

The Aida was a 75m transport supply ship that came off last during a head-to-head with Big Brother and sank in 1957.

El Ikhwa Islands are generally significant from an environmental and ecological point of view. The islands attract barracuda schools and Napoleon wrasses and shark populations in the category of seasonal thresher sharks, oceanic grey and white tip reef sharks, and hammerhead sharks.

The Brother Islands boast an abundance of coral reefs, coming in every shape and colour of the rainbow. The diversity and density are breathtaking. Divers see underwater walls covered with Broccoli soft coral or ‘Litho’hyton arboretum.”