The South African Sardine Run: A Marine Photography & Diving Special
A Customizable Trip to South Africa
Each year, vast shoals of sardines leave their home in South Africa’s temperate seas and travel northwards. They are followed by a caravan of predators, seabirds, sharks, game fish and marine mammals with little else but sardines on their mind.
8 days / 7 nights
About this Safari
Chalo Africa is thrilled to collaborate with shark expert and renowned wildlife photographer, Chris Fallows, to bring you a ringside seat to the Sardine Run. His camera expertise and knowledge of apex predators will add a whole other dimension to your dives…
The Sardine Run in South Africa is one of the world’s top wildlife spectacles and is on par with events like the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration. Each year during May, June and July, vast shoals of sardines leave their normal cold-water home in South Africa’s temperate seas and travel northwards into the sub-tropical seas of South Africa’s Wild Coast. Following the shoals is a caravan of predators, seabirds, sharks, game fish and marine mammals with little else but sardines on their mind.
Tens of thousands of common dolphins charge after the shoals, separating them into densely packed bait balls. Easy pickings not only for them but also for schools of hundreds of bronze whaler, dusky and blacktip sharks, which attack the bait ball from below. The aerial assault on the sardines begins when tens of thousands of cape gannets begin their spectacular plunge diving display. (Please note: Bait balls are rare and we cannot expect to dive on these every day.)
Day By Day Itinerary
- Arrive 8 June
- Boating days: Six boating days
- 06h30 – 07h30 Breakfast
- 07h30 – 07h45 Guests collected from hotels, transferred down to launch site.
- 07h30 – 08h30 Guests kit up, boat launch (river or beach, tide dependant).
- 14h00 – 15h00 Boats return home
- 18h00 – Evenings at leisure.
- Depart 15 June
Location: Subject to animal activity.
Seasonality End May, June and July
Dive Depth: Surface – 20 metres in water column 50 – +100 metres
- Surface drift dive
- Snorkelling / scuba/ Nitrox/ re-breathers
- Boat based viewing opportunities available for non-divers
Typical Visibility: Old Transkei Coast and East London 6 – 30m / 20 – 100 ft Average 12 meters / 50 ft
Water Temperature: June – July 15 – 22C 5mm wetsuit or dry suit advised
Travel: Non-direct international flights into East London
Accommodation: Accommodation is subject to animal activity during the Sardine Run in South Africa. Accommodation is set to be in East London in a four-star guest house, but final confirmation on accommodation will only be set the week before client arrival.
A 20-30cm silver fish, with a bluish colour on top. Distinguishable by the row of 10-15 black spots on the flanks. These fish form vast shoals off the Agulhas Banks.Predator Caravan (inter alia):Sharks:
- Copper sharks, Carcharhinus brachyurus
- Spotted ragged tooth shark, Carcharias Taurus
- Black tip sharks, Carcharhinus limbatus
- Dusky sharks, Carcharhinus obscurus
- Common Dolphin, Delphinus capensis
- Indian Ocean Bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops aduncus
- Killer whale, Orcinus orca
- Bryde’s whale, Balaenoptera edini
- Cape fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus
- Cape Gannet, Morus capensis
- Petrels and Shearwaters,
- Blackbrowed Albatross, Diomedea melanophris
- African penguin, Shpenicus demersus
South Africa Sardine Run Map
East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Best Time to Visit
This trip begins and ends in East London, South Africa