Sardine Run South Africa
with Walter Bernardis from African Watersports and Nina from NiCe Dive & Trips
When: June 19th - June 25th, 2024 (3 spots available)
Join us for one of the GREATEST MARINE MIGRATIONS IN THE WORLD, the Sardine Run in South Africa.
Every diver in search of a life-changing and unforgettable adventure has likely heard of South Africa's Sardine Run along the Wild Coast. There are other runs in Mexico, the fjords of Norway, and the Philippines, but the Sardine Run in South Africa surpasses them all.
We'll be accompanied by the ultimate shark expert, Walter Bernardis, and Jason from African Watersports.
For more information on the Sardine Run, please read below.
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Record: Sardine Run Online-Information-Event
For those who missed it or those who want to relive the experience, we have fantastic news:
The recording of the event is now available! Dive into the fascinating world of the Sardine Run, experience the excitement, and feel the thrill whenever it suits you.
We want to express our sincere thanks to all participants of our online event, "Sardine Run – South Africa"! 🌊
We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed hosting this event.
What can you expect at the Sardine Run on the Wild Coast?
An unforgettable week above and below the water.
The ocean boils, and the sky is a flurry of activity. Seabirds like gannets plummet from heights of 20 meters into the sea, dolphins corral thousands of sardines into formations known as "Bait-Balls," and sharks seize anything that's not swift enough. Whales also participate in this natural phenomenon, engulfing tons of sardines in a single gulp.
Highly likely sightings include:
- Copper Shark, also known as Bronze Whaler Shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus)
- Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus)
- Blacktip Sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus)
- Dusky Sharks (Carcharhinus obscurus)
Whales and Dolphins:
- Common Dolphin (Delphinus capensis)
- Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus)
- Orcas (Orcinus orca)
- Bryde's Whale (Balaenoptera edini)
- Humpback Whales
- Cape Gannet (Morus capens)
- Storm Petrels and Shearwaters
- Black-Browed Albatross (Diomedea melanophiris)
- African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)
Rare but still possible sightings:
- Great White Shark
- Ragged-tooth Sharks (Sandtiger sharks)
- Fur Seals
This trip is offered in collaboration with Walter Bernardis, the founder of African Watersports in Umkomaas. Walter Bernardis is an absolute shark expert and a luminary in this field. He has been leading expeditions to the Sardine Run with his experienced team for years and often serves as the skipper on one of his Zodiac boats. The experienced guides, such as Jason, and his skippers have an incredible passion for their work, as we witnessed during our stay at African Watersports in February 2023.
Our starting point is St. John's Port, which is about 4 1/2 hours south of Umkomaas by car. From Durban, the drive takes approximately five to six hours.
All five to eight-hour outings are conducted with the large Zodiac (maximum 8 guests per boat) and can be physically demanding at times. We spend between five and eight hours at sea each day. Additionally, we have aerial support. A microlight spotter observes the ocean from a small aircraft and provides us with information via radio on where the action is happening and what course we need to follow to be right in the midst of it. During our outings, snorkeling is more common than diving. There's often no time to prepare for a dive as the Bait Balls disperse quickly. So, it's into the water, back on the Zodiac, and shortly thereafter back in the water – physical activity is guaranteed. If we come across a larger Bait Ball, we'll certainly gear up and dive to witness the spectacle from a depth of about seven meters.
Water temperature in July: between 19 and 22°C
Average daytime air temperature in July: 22°C
Feel free to contact us via email, WhatsApp, or the contact form provided below.
WhatsApp: +436681 817 02 808
Phone: +43 1 367 97 98
Contents of our trip
Sardine Run with Nina
in collaboration with Walter Bernardis - African Watersports
Starting from 3,160 Euros per person
excluding flights - we can, of course, organize these for you upon request
- 5 days of Sardine Run
- Daily outings of 5-8 hours with the Zodiac
- 6 nights at "The Spotted Grunter Lodge"
- (more information can be found below)
- Accommodation in a double room
- Transfer to and from Durban
- Breakfast and dinner
- Lunch on the boat + 1/2 liter of water
- Tour leader from African Watersports
Excluding flights - we'd be happy to book a suitable flight for you.
Our partner, Walter Bernardis, the founder of African Watersports, is a true authority when it comes to diving with sharks.
Walter Bernardis and his team are exceptionally professional, providing their guests with a truly adrenaline-fueled and unforgettable experience.
African Watersports is based directly in Umkomaas, specifically in an upscale neighborhood called Widenham.
Walter and his wife Sandy run several guesthouses, such as Seascapes, as well as the diving center African Watersports.
Everyone who knows me is aware that I always bring action and plenty of fun with me. I'm constantly in search of the unique, the individual, and the unforgettable. It can never be exciting enough, and a "can't be done" is not in my vocabulary. My open and positive attitude allows me to make the most out of everything and turn the impossible into reality.
Information about the Sardine Run on the South African East Coast
Sardine Run South Africa
The Sardine Run commences in the waters of the Agulhas Bank and extends along the eastern coast of South Africa, northwards to the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, constituting a pivotal event for the ecosystem. The convergence of two ocean currents at the beginning of South Africa's winter sets the stage for the captivating Sardine Run. The warmer Agulhas Current collides with the cold Benguela Current, transporting nutrient-rich waters from the Antarctic. As a result, a cold-water strip forms along the eastern edge, extending as far as Durban. The Sardines are irresistibly drawn to these nutrient-rich waters teeming with plankton, following them for over 1,000 kilometers northward.
The Sardines move in vast shoals, at times spanning kilometers and reaching depths of up to seven meters. The Sardine Run is considered one of the largest marine migrations globally, attracting an array of marine predators such as sharks, whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds. For these creatures, Sardines are an exceptionally important food source. Each year, the water comes alive during this particular time, with thousands of marine inhabitants congregating. The Sardines form massive shoals to protect themselves from the sea's predators. Due to their echolocation abilities, dolphins are often the first to arrive at the buffet. They are among the ocean's most intelligent inhabitants.
Dolphins, for instance, are incredibly intelligent. They hunt in teams, separating so-called "baitballs," which are small shoals of Sardines, from the mass, subsequently feasting on them.
The Sardine Run, also known as the Sardine Migration, along South Africa's east coast is a spectacular natural phenomenon occurring annually from May to July.
The Sardine Run not only attracts thousands of other marine creatures but also tourists who flock to the coast to witness the incredible spectacle and participate in leisure activities such as diving and snorkeling.
Despite the significance of the Sardine Run, there are concerns regarding its sustainability. Overfishing, environmental pollution, and climate change are all factors that can negatively impact the Sardine migration along the South African east coast. To protect the Sardine Run, strict regulations are in place to control the scale of fishing during the migration. This includes restrictions on the size of nets that can be used and the number of boats allowed in specific areas.
In summary, the Sardine Run along the South African east coast is a remarkable natural phenomenon. The Sardines' migration attracts a diverse range of predators and contributes to the preservation of a healthy marine environment while also serving as a significant source of income for local communities. However, it is vital to ensure the sustainability of the Sardine Run by taking measures to protect the migration and the marine ecosystem. With proper management and protective measures, the Sardine Run will continue to be a fascinating and valuable part of South Africa's east coast in the future.
Entry Requirements for South Africa:
Please refer to the entry requirements on your country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Walter Bernardis, the founder of African Watersports, was one of the first to recognize the potential of Aliwal Shoal and establish himself in this captivating diving area. Walter Bernardis and his team have an absolute passion for adrenaline-fueled dives with various shark species and the crocodiles in Botswana.
Our Accommodation: The Spotted Grunter Lodge
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The Spotted Grunter Resort is nestled between two mountains. Behind the resort is the Thesiger Mountain, and on the other side of the river lies Sullivan Mountain. These two mountains form the gates at the river's mouth, which flows into the Indian Ocean.
The Spotted Grunter Resort is located in Port St. Johns, the jewel of the Wild Coast. The town of Port St. Johns is situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. This coastal city, facing the Indian Ocean, was the only one in the formally independent, dissolved homeland of Transkei in 1994.
More information about the accommodation:
All log cabins are equipped with a microwave, dishes, a gas stove, air conditioning, and a refrigerator. Toiletries and bath towels are provided, and the rooms also include fans and heaters. Coffee, tea, sugar, and milk are made available to guests in their accommodations. The entire property is monitored by a security service.
The Anglers Arms Bar is a bar with a wide selection of snacks and drinks. It features a pool table, a dartboard, and a television. Occasionally, there is live music, which adds to the entertainment.
The restaurant at the Spotted Grunter offers guests a diverse range of dishes that can be enjoyed on the terrace or indoors. The view from the terrace overlooks the picturesque Umzimvubu River.
There are numerous barbecue areas around the Spotted Grunter Resort. Charcoal and firewood can be purchased at the resort's shop.
The River Deck provides a beautiful setting to enjoy a cocktail with a view of the Umzimvubu River.
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- Sardine Run 2024
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