The annual sardine run brings many divers from all around the year to witness one of the planets major eco-events. Every year millions upon millions of sardines swim up through the sub Antarctic waters into warmer regions to spawn. In their journey they pass near the eastern cape and KwaZulu-Natal south coast. The result is a fish bonanza, with incredible convergence of predators large and small, all seeking out sardines.
How we go about finding bait balls and fish action on the sardine run is by following huge masses of common dolphins who seem to know where all the fish are. Also we look for waterfalls of diving cape gannets, as they slam into the ocean head first, darting at sardines in an effort to fill their crops. Whales are often the grand finale, when they take what’s left of the ball with a few well guided gulps.
Scuba Diving or Snorkelling
Most of the action takes place on the surface. We observe the rules of nature an try our best not to interfere with nature at work. Snorkelling is the primary way of viewing bait balls. Scuba diving on the former Transkei coast also lends itself to a few challenges with scuba diving as an activity due to its remote nature.
What to Bring
Sun care is of the highest priority as you will be in the sun with constant sun glare. Bring along sunglasses with a floating pouch for convenience. Sunscreen factor 50 is recommended for all body part exposed to the sun. A (faceguard cloth) can be used or a hat with a chin tie. If you would like to take photos we recommend any waterproof system such as a GoPro or TG-Tough. If you have a DSLR system please bring the right size cooler bag for your cameras protection. Warm cloths are recommended for evening wear. Bring all your own bathroom requirements including towel, soap, toothpaste and shaving equipment.
Typical Sardine Run Day
5:00AM – Wakeup alarm – Warm beverage/early snack. Make our way out of our rooms where everyone gathers for a good morning greeting and a cup of coffee, tea or hot-chocolate.
5:30AM – Boat preparation – loading/launch – The boats are made ready and sent down to the launch site. All crew gather and with a few manoeuvres the boat is launched. All crew hop into the boat and navigate out of the waves and into deeper waters
7:30AM – Spotted dolphins – pursue, to find gannets gathering and a bait ball lasting 20 minutes
9:00AM – Super pod of dolphins moving south – followed for an hour with sightings of more than 5000 dolphin adults and adolescent
11:00AM – Back for lunch – Enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants or prepared lunches at Hole In The Wall in view. This is inceed one of those special places to look upon.
Sardine Run Group Schedule
Group A 01June/08June
Group B 09June/16June
Group C 17June/23June
Group D 23June/01July
Group E 01July/08July
Group F 09July/16July
Group G 17July/23July