Escorted Sardine Run and shark safari

The Wild Coast - KwaZulu Natal South Coast
10 Days / 9 Nights
0 Persons
Date of Issue: 08 April 2017
19 June 2017 - 28 June 2017

 

Led by Christopher Bartlett, who is probably the best dive expert on South Africa. He knows almost everything and is not scared of finding out what he does not know. A qualified dive master and safari guide, Christopher is our first choice to lead South African Trips.

 

Overview

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 northwards up the coast the size of the sardine shoals tends 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 (Copper, Dusky, Blacktip, Whitetip, Bronze Whalers and Bull 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.

The shoals of sardines are spotted by the telltale signs of dolphins splashing at the surface or by flocks of birds diving into the water. From Mpame we are also able to use the elevated hills to look for miles to see the activity. The boat is positioned slightly in front of the action so that by the time divers enter the water the marine activity has drifted to their position. Experience recommends that the majority of time in the water is spent on snorkel as this gives the speed and flexibility to enter and exit the water easily and therefore not miss out on the fast moving action. If activity of sufficient size is encountered SCUBA is used.

As the vast majority of the in water activity can be conducted with ease on snorkel this makes the Sardine Run an accessible and exciting marine expedition for non-divers and divers alike. As long as participants are comfortable snorkeling they will not miss out on the action. This makes it a great adventure for the whole family.

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

On the Sardine Run, after a light breakfast we launch the boat and spend the day at sea looking for the Sardine Run “action”. Typically you 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 recommend that 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.

 

Accommodation

Destination

Arr.

Dep.

Nights

Basis

Bull's Inn

The Wild Coast

19 Jun

25 Jun

6

FB

Agulhas House

KwaZulu Natal South Coast

25 Jun

28 Jun

3

HB

 

Key
HB: Half Board
FB: Dinner, bed, breakfast and lunch

 

Price

$2750.00

$50.00 transfer fee

Included

•             9 nights en-suite accommodation
•  Dinner / Breakfast and packed lunch on Sardine Run
•  Breakfast and Dinner in Umkomaas
•             5 days Sardine Run
•             Four shark dives
•             Cylinder, weights and Marine permit
•             Breakfast daily and packed lunch on the boat
•             Experienced skippers and divemaster
• Photography Coaching
 •            Transfers

Excluded

•             Airfares and Taxes
•             Tips and drinks
•             Personal insurance

Day 1:           Bull's Inn, The Wild Coast      (Mon, 19 June)

 

The Wild Coast                                                                                                                                                   

The Wild Coast extends for over 200 kilometres along one of South Africa’s most pristine, wild and beautiful sections of shoreline, taking in remote beaches, undulating emerald hills and isolated coves along the way. Those who love peace, quiet and the Great Outdoors would be hard pressed to find a better holiday destination than this scenic wilderness, while it also provides plenty of activities to keep the active and adventurous amused, including fishing, diving, swimming and hiking.

 

Day Itinerary

Upon arrival in Umthatha you will be transferred to Bulls Inn, Mpame, on the stunning Wild Coast of the Transkei.

Overnight: Bull's Inn            

Based on a home from home atmosphere, which makes for a unique expereance and a far cry from your day to day city life. This seperates it from the rest.  Accompanied by remote and tranqual rural setting where live stock and an ancient people live.

 

 

 

Activities

Upon arrival in Umthatha you will be transferred to Bulls Inn, Mpame, on the stunning Wild Coast of the Transkei.

 

Included

Full Board

 

Day 2:           Bull's Inn, The Wild Coast      (Tue, 20 June)

 

Day Itinerary

After a light breakfast we launch the boat and spend the day at sea looking for the Sardine Run “action”. Typically you 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 recommend that 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.

Activities

Sardine Run

 

Included

Full Board

 

Day 3:           Bull's Inn, The Wild Coast      (Wed, 21 June)

 

Activities

Sardine Run

 

Sardine Run

Every winter, hundreds of large swirling shoals of sardines migrate from the cool Cape waters north east to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. One of the greatest migrations on earth, the Sardine Run attracts sharks, dolphins, seals, cormorants, Cape Gannets and sometimes even penguins, albatross and Orcas. Also occurring at this time is the annual migration of Humpback Whales. This natural event takes over the ocean, resulting in a breathtaking scene. This event can be viewed on the stage itself on board a boat, from above on a plane, or at the shore, where simply sticking a hand into the ocean could lead to the slippery sensation of fish scales brushing against human skin.

 

Included

Full Board

 

Day 4:           Bull's Inn, The Wild Coast      (Thu, 22 June)

 

Activities

Sardine Run

 

Sardine Run

Every winter, hundreds of large swirling shoals of sardines migrate from the cool Cape waters north east to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. One of the greatest migrations on earth, the Sardine Run attracts sharks, dolphins, seals, cormorants, Cape Gannets and sometimes even penguins, albatross and Orcas. Also occurring at this time is the annual migration of Humpback Whales. This natural event takes over the ocean, resulting in a breathtaking scene. This event can be viewed on the stage itself on board a boat, from above on a plane, or at the shore, where simply sticking a hand into the ocean could lead to the slippery sensation of fish scales brushing against human skin.

 

Included

Full Board

 

Day 5:           Bull's Inn, The Wild Coast      (Fri, 23 June)

 

Activities

Sardine Run

 

Sardine Run

Every winter, hundreds of large swirling shoals of sardines migrate from the cool Cape waters north east to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. One of the greatest migrations on earth, the Sardine Run attracts sharks, dolphins, seals, cormorants, Cape Gannets and sometimes even penguins, albatross and Orcas. Also occurring at this time is the annual migration of Humpback Whales. This natural event takes over the ocean, resulting in a breathtaking scene. This event can be viewed on the stage itself on board a boat, from above on a plane, or at the shore, where simply sticking a hand into the ocean could lead to the slippery sensation of fish scales brushing against human skin.

 

Included

Full Board

 

Day 6:           Bull's Inn, The Wild Coast      (Sat, 24 June)

 

Activities

Sardine Run

 

Sardine Run

Every winter, hundreds of large swirling shoals of sardines migrate from the cool Cape waters north east to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. One of the greatest migrations on earth, the Sardine Run attracts sharks, dolphins, seals, cormorants, Cape Gannets and sometimes even penguins, albatross and Orcas. Also occurring at this time is the annual migration of Humpback Whales. This natural event takes over the ocean, resulting in a breathtaking scene. This event can be viewed on the stage itself on board a boat, from above on a plane, or at the shore, where simply sticking a hand into the ocean could lead to the slippery sensation of fish scales brushing against human skin.

 

Included

Full Board

 

Day 7:           Agulhas House, KwaZulu Natal South Coast             (Sun, 25 June)

 

KwaZulu Natal South Coast

The KwaZulu Natal South Coast is all about beaches and golf.  The well developed resorts cater to every need from diving to dining, and 5-star quality golf courses often form the basis of holidays to the area.

 

Day Itinerary

During the transfer from Bull's Inn to Agulhas House we will stop for lunch at Oribi Gorge and Lake Eland Game Reserve,

Overnight: Agulhas House               

The warm Agulhas current flows down the South Coast from Mozambique. Agulhas House nestled in the centre of the Village of Umkomaas, home to world famous reef system of the Aliwal Shoal, provides the diver and water sports enthusiast an equally warm welcome, catering for all your accommodation and diving needs under one roof.

 

 

 

 

 

Included

Half Board

 

Day 8:           Agulhas House, KwaZulu Natal South Coast             (Mon, 26 June)

 

Day Itinerary

It's Raggie season, so there is an excellent chance of getting close to ragged-tooth sharks, aka Sand-tiger sharks or grey nurse sharks. The Shoal is also world-renowned for other big fish - groupers, a variety of rays. Turtles are often seen, as well as the usual reef inhabitants of the Indian Ocean.

Activities

Two shark dives on Aliwal Shoal

 

Aliwal Shoal

Natural processes, such as the fossilization of sand dunes, created Aliwal Shoal thousands of years ago. Lying between three and five kilometres off the Umkomaas shoreline, Aliwal Shoal, with its warm water and diversity of tropical fish, is rated as one of the top ten dive sites in the world and is the best dive site in South Africa after Sodwana. The site is renowned for its sharks, especially the ragged tooths that like to lurk in the caves along the shoal but fortunately they tend to populate here during their gestation period, during which time they are not aggressive.

 

Included

Half Board

 

Day 9:           Agulhas House, KwaZulu Natal South Coast             (Tue, 27 June)

 

Activities

2 shark or wreck dives

 

Included

Half Board

 

Day 10:        Departure (Wed, 28 June)

 

 

 

Transport

 

Transfers

Date

Pick Up

Drop Off

Time

Vehicle

19 Jun

Mthatha Airport [UTT]

Bull's Inn

 

Transfer

25 Jun

Bull's Inn

Agulhas House

 

Transfer

28 Jun

Agulhas House

King Shaka International Airport [DUR]

 

Transfer