Sardine Run Diving, South Africa

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What the Tribe Says about Diving the Sardine Run

The Sardine Run off South Africa is the marine equivalent of the massive wildebeest migration that takes place annually in Africa. It should be on everyone’s lifelist as it’s the opportunity to get into the water with more fish, dolphins, sharks and even whales than any other place on the planet. Its a scene right out of Planet Earth or Nat Geo as sardine shoals that can be miles long and look like a gray, impenetrable wall underwater that is disrupted as schools of sharks and pods of dolphins blast through it and come out on the far side with mouth’s full of sardines. It’s wild and woolly diving!

Why We Think This Place Rocks ! (aka-Why Do We Go Here?)

The sardine run off Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa may be the largest animal migration on the planet rivaling the great wildebeest migration – and a swirling mass of high voltage diving. Thousands of sharks, dolphins, whales, sailfish and other predators congregate to feed on enormous shoals of sardines that can reach over 4 miles in length and mile wide containing millions of fish. We get psyched just thinking about it. It is one of the greatest natural phenomenas on planet Earth. And on a good day, this can be the most wickedly bad ass diving on the planet.

An estimated 18,000 dolphins serve as sardine wranglers, pushing the sardines into bait balls that are 50 feet in diameter or larger. Once the bait ball is compressed, bronze whalers, dusky sharks spinner sharks, Zambezi sharks, blacktip sharks, king mackerel, sailfish and a mass of birds make slashing passes through the sardines, emerging on the backside with a mouthful of fish. This wild action lasts for 10 minutes and then once the baitball is consumed, the predators are off to catch up with the massive sardine shoal again.

What’s the Adventure?

We base ourselves out of the Port St. John area, right on the South African coast north of Durban. Each AM is an early morning launch from the beach in our RIB (Zodiac) and we head out to look for the passing sardine shoals. We find the sardines by looking for large flocks of seabirds hovering over the water and also use an ultra light aircraft for spotting to ensure the best chance of finding the shoals. We’re out on the water typically from about 7:30am until 2:00pm and the action is dictated by whatever we find. Often, it’s a series of shorter dives, in the water for 10 minutes or less, as the shoals swim past with hordes of predators in tow. Then back out, catch up and back in for another amazing spectacle. In the afternoons, there are walks, scenic drives, ultra light flights or just chill out. Evenings, we gather around the lodge with a glass of South African wine and enjoy the African nights.

This diving adventure can be combined with a number of African land safaris. If you’re going this far, you’d be crazy to miss a safari.

Details You Want to Know about diving the sardine run.

We have not been here yet. If you are interested in being part of our scouting trip, email us and we will put you on the list to receive information and updates on the trip.

INCLUDED: Included: 7 nights accommodations, all meals, 6 days of diving, airport transfers from Durban, use of underwater digital camera and video, services of expedition leaders including any specialty courses taught, slide shows, land activities
NOT INCLUDED: Air transportation, travel insurance, dive insurance, alcoholic beverages, items of a personal nature, departure tax where applicable, excess baggage fees, SCUBA or snorkel equipment, dive staff gratuities.
ARRIVAL AIRPORT: Durban, South Africa (DUR)

Contact us for more information.