Hartley’s Safaris UK
+44 (0) 1673 861 600
Hartley’s South Africa
+27 (0) 11 467 4704
THE GREATEST SHOAL ON EARTH!
The Sardine Run Expedition is a unique wildlife encounter, following the annual Sardine migration along South Africa’s beautifully rugged coastline.Typically, the annual migration of the Sardines from their beginnings in the Southern Cape to being sighted off shore on South Africa’s Wild Coast starts in June each year. As the shoals of Sardines move north wards up the coast the size of the Sardines shoals tend to grow, ultimately forming the ‘greatest shoal on earth’ . This amazing journey attracts a multitude of predators that track and follow the Sardines migration, exploiting this localized and abundant food source. It is hard to describe the excitement of the Dolphins, numerous bird species, Whales, Cape Fur Seals and Sharks as they ‘hunt’ the Sardines. You can actually hear the excited squeals of the thousands of Common and Bottlenose Dolphins as they travel in large breaching waves to pursue their prey, long before you see them. Attracted by the Sardines, game fish such as Shad and Garrick pursue the Sardine Shoals and provide another food source for the Dolphins. Contributing to the noise and surface action are the birds, Cape Gannets, Albatross (yellow nose and black browed), Terns and Petrels, diving into the shoals of Sardines from a great height.Humpback Southern Right and Brydes Whales can also be seen in pursuit of this moving feast. Below the surface the action continues with the Sharks feasting on the Sardines and other marine life. The Cape Fur seals actually sleep with one eye open, ready to react should they see a large shark in their vicinity.The Dolphins and Sharks look for opportunities to herd the Sardines into balls, this is the Sardines natural reaction to feeling threatened as they perceive there to be safety in numbers. These ‘bait balls’ vary in size and frequency, with the action on some of the larger ones lasting hours.After several weeks of migrating northwards, the sardines swim out to sea and are carried along the inner edge of the Agulhas current back to the southern Cape to spawn. It must be mentioned at this point that the Sardine Run is a natural phenomenon; therefore the exact timing cannot be predicted. Typically the best times to see the ‘run’ is June to July.Dates: May to July 2017Cost: From ZAR 4 600, 00 per diver per day sharing and ZAR 5 000.00 single, per day.Included: 6/7/10 night’s en-suite accommodation; Dinner, Breakfast and packed Lunch; 5 to 9 days Sardine Run; weather permitting; cylinder weights and Marine permit; experienced skippers and dive masterExcluded: International flights into Johannesburg South Africa and internal flights/transfers on to departure point; bar, items of a personal nature, gratuities; Insurances; any required SA visas.
Example of Itinerary for 5 day / 6 night’s expedition
Day 1 Arrive at either King Shaka International Airport – Durban with a 6.5 hour road transfer to Bulls Inn, Mpame, or East London Airport with a 5 hour road transfer to Bulls Inn, Mpame, or Umtata Airport a 1.5 hour road transfer to Bulls Inn, Mpame, (own arrangements) Overnight stay at Bulls Inn, Mpame, on a full board basis
Day 2 to 6 After a light breakfast we launch the boat and spend the day at sea looking for the sardine run “action”, weather permitting. Typically we will be at sea from around 8am till 3pm daily depending on the sea conditions and the activity seen. With a surf launch, long boat rides and the amount of time spent at sea we suggest that the clients ensure their fitness to participate ( an average level of fitness is sufficient). Packed lunches and hot and cold drinks will be served on board. When the sardines are spotted, depending on whether they are fast moving or not, we will decide to either snorkel or scuba dive.
A full dinner will be served in the evenings with the menu changing daily. Overnight at Bulls Inn, Mpame on a full board basis.
Day 7 After breakfast you will transfer back to Umtata Airport, or East London Airport or King Shaka International Airport Durban to continue your South African adventure.
It seems crazy to come all this way to Africa and not to do a wildlife safari at any one of our top Game lodges located throughout the country, so please click here to contact one of our consultants to assist you with a comprehensive itinerary