Join us and experience the phenomenon of the Sardine Run. Spend time out at sea interacting with dolphins, whales, seals, penguins, sharks and birds. All chasing the Biggest Shoal on earth!
Let the adventure begin
The phenomenon of the Sardine Run consists of millions of sardines migrating northwards along the east coast of Africa following a cool inshore current. These shoals can be up to 30km long, over 7km wide and nearly 40m deep!
Super-pods of common dolphins which can be more than 10,000 in number follow the shoal to feed. They work together to “corner” the sardines and bring them to the surface forming giant bait-balls. Gannets rain down from above, while sharks, seals and even whales join the frenzy, swallowing as many sardines as they can. With such a vast school of fish migrating, this phenomenon builds over a period of many weeks and predators congregate expecting a feast.
Before you head out searching for the sardines, the trip will start with a few days of diving at fantastic Aliwal Shoal. This way you will get used to the South African conditions while having stunning diving, as well as a thrilling baited shark dive.
This trip seeks to combine the finest South African hospitality with the pinnacle of marine experience. Although, as with all wildlife encounters, nothing can be guaranteed. It is for this reason that we work with the most experienced local operators to ensure that when the sardines are on the run, you are there to join them.
There will be no more then ten divers in a boat during the actual sardine run days at sea, and with more creatures under you than the East African great migration, now that’s an experience! Although you may feel outnumbered by the sheer extent of the marine life you are about to join, we like to ensure that at least your fellow divers will not crowd you.
Aliwal Shoal in Scottburgh
Aliwal Shoal is one of the most spectacular dive spots on the planet. A place where the cold Cape waters and the tropical waters of East Africa meet to create a melting pot of life! On one of your days in Aliwal you will experience a baited shark dive. This type of diving can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to set up, but the result will be worth waiting for. This type of baiting pulls in lots of sharks giving you the possibility of seeing Black Tips and Bulls, and if you are lucky the Tigers that Aliwal is famous for will come as well. The whole dive is conducted at a relaxed and safe pace, starting with the fully informative dive brief, so that you will find the whole process educational and relaxing.
Your other days will be spent investigating the reefs and wrecks of the shoal. Ragged Tooth sharks can be seen at the famous dive site “Cathedral,” alongside numerous fish species on the reefs, and Giant Bass (300 kgs +) can be found perusing around the wreck of the 100m long Produce.
You accommodation during your stay here will be at the Blue Marlin hotel which is located just 300 meters from the beach.
Port St. Johns River Lodge
Port St. Johns, situated in the heart of the Wild Coast, adds a whole new dimension to the Sardine Run experience. Spend afternoons and evenings at leisure experiencing the local culture, restaurants and the breathtaking scenic beauty of the surrounding area.
Port St. John’s River Lodge is ideally situated on the Umzimvubu River and provides tastefully decorated en-suite bedrooms and comfortably furnished chalets, where guests are assured of comfort in a relaxed and peaceful environment.
The lodge is also an excellent base for the Sardine Run, as the boats will be moored in the river just 20m away from the lodge. This allows everyone to get straight out to sea after breakfast without any extra transfers.
Offering a comprehensive restaurant, fully licensed bar, pool and exceptional scenic views, the River Lodge is a perfect place to unwind and tell the stories of the day over a great dinner and quiet evening drink.Request more information