Diving the Sardine Run
Sardine Run South Africa has been offering Sardine Run packages for the past 17 years. Our Sardine Run 2021 packages are aimed at divers and snorkelers looking for pure adventure. Getting up close and personal with sharks, game fish, seals, penguins, sardines, mola-mola and, on occasion, orca and many species of marine-birds and marine mammals.
What to expect
When you arrive in South Africa, we are your hosts, tour guides and dive guides for the duration of your trip. Our Sardine Run 2021 packages includes so much. This means we take care of Airport Transfers, Transfers to and from Port St Johns, boat lunches, dinners, marine permits, cylinder hire, weight hire, Accommodation and Scuba Diving all you have to do, is get here!
You can look forward to exciting launches, up to 8 hours a day at sea searching for the annual sardine run migration, whales breaching really close, mega-pods of common dolphins, brydes whales, occasional sightings of orca and mola-mola. Port Saint Johns is nested in the heart of the wild coast therefore the landscape from sea is spectacular. You’ll pass sites such as “blow-hole” and “waterfall bluff” amazing offerings by nature.
Some days you’ll find the sardines are running but marine predators are not feeding. On these days we have a secret reef to dive that is inhabited by hundreds of Ragged Tooth Sharks (Spotted Sand Tigers / Grey Nurse Sharks).
Water temperature is around 18 – 21 degrees celcius so a 7mm wetsuit will suffice. Therefor dry suits are not entirely suitable. This is because of the fact that a lot of the action is experienced on snorkel. As a result dry suits cause drag and you will miss out on the underwater feeding frenzy and bait balls.
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Definately bring your camera so that you can be your own Natgeo star! Moreover Sardine Run 2021 will be Nature’s gift to you.
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During our Sardine Run packages, you will indeed get to experience diving on the Sardine Run in addition to snorkeling. Port St Johns offers an array of marine life. This includes dolphins, whales, game fish, sharks, and birds. The package includes diving at one of the top -10 dive sites in the world, Aliwal Shoal, South Africa too.
DIVING PORT ST JOHNS
Why do Sardine Run?
The Sardine Run is simply amazing. You are often surrounded by hundreds of dolphins, sharks, diving birds, whales, game fish, seals and millions of sardines. The noise of the diving gannets, the speed of the dolphins and the sharks and whales. They are all coming in to take part in this awesome event. all enjoying a huge feast is amazing!
How many dives do we do?
We, enter the water as many times as possible during the day. Sometimes just on snorkel and other times scuba diving. This depends on how fast the action is moving and how comfortable the animals are. Sometimes the bubbles from scuba diving chase the animals away.
What else can we see?
During the Sardine Run, the annual Humpback Whale migration passes Port St Johns. Offering some amazing up-close sightings of them. In the water, close to the boats and when the whales are breaching.
How does it work?
Based at Cremorne Estate, each morning we receive updates about the Sardine movements. This is before deciding about the Sardine Run diving for the day. We launch from the Umzimvubu River in Port St. Johns. Operating north and south depending on where the action is. We are holders of MPA scuba diving permits which allows us access to SCUBA DIVE during the Sardine Run. We are also proud members of the Sardine Run Association
DIVING ALIWAL SHOAL
Where it begins
On the first activity day of your all-inclusive Sardine Run package, you will dive on Aliwal Shoal which gives you a chance to check your dive gear, get your weights sorted and also to dive with the sharks found on Aliwal Shoal in South Africa.
Aliwal Shoal Diving
During June & July, the main shark species found on Aliwal Shoal include Ragged Tooth Sharks, Oceanic Blacktip Sharks, Dusky Sharks & more. Aliwal Shoal is rated as one of the top-10 dive sites in the world. And this is where we operate our shark diving packages year-round. Before each dive, we give a briefing to help you to understand the behavior of sharks. Thus ensuring you have a safe and fun diving experience. This involves observing the sharks, learning how to identify them and find out how sharks interpret your behavior in return. Aliwal Shoal is also home to a huge variety of other marine life. Mostly including whales, dolphins, turtles, rays, eels, game fish and reef fish. Between dives, we often see Humpback Whales & Dolphins from the boat.
After the diving, we will return to Blue Ocean Dive Resort, where we will enjoy a quick “brunch” before we transfer to Port St Johns.
Typical Day at Aliwal Shoal
We meet at 7 am for a quick coffee, toast, and fruit. This is NOT the breakfast that’s included instead, to keep the wolf at bay while diving.
Once breakfast is finished, we move into the kit up area and get ready for the days diving.
Our dive team is there to help you. With your gear, load the boat and to brief you on launching and the days diving at Aliwal Shoal.
Jump on the vehicles and we are off to the launch site. This is where you will experience an exciting surf launch on our 8m RIB.
The diving is planned around the best sites for the conditions each day. Get up close with the different types of sharks in addition to the rest of the marine life.
Our dive depth varies from around 15 to 35 meters depending on the dive sites.
While our main focus is to get your gear sorted for diving the Sardine Run. You will also be scuba diving with some of the sharks found on Aliwal Shoal. Also seeing a huge variety of other marine life including whales, dolphins, rays, turtles, eels and much more.
We do two dives on Aliwal Shoal before heading back to the dive center at Blue Ocean Dive Resort.
We take you back to the dive center. Here there are hot showers and rinse tanks. Gear is rinsed and made ready for the transfer to Port St Johns.
After “brunch”, we make our way to Port St Johns for the Sardine Run portion of your adventure. The drive takes about 5-hours and is through some really rural areas. These have some great sights for you to take in on the way.
When we arrive our team will be there to get you checked into the accommodation, Cremorne Estate in Port St Johns.
Typical Diving Day at Port St Johns
We meet at 7 am for breakfast and receive updates about the sardine run action and the day’s conditions so we can decide where the best diving will be.
Once breakfast is finished, we kit up for the day’s action. The dive team is there to help you with all your diving needs, to brief you on your days diving and the action you are likely to see.
We launch from the Umzimvubu River in Port St. Johns and operate north and south depending on where the sardine run action is.
We spend most of the day at sea, launching at about 8 am and generally we are back by about 3 pm.
The day is ruled by the Sardine Run action, we follow the dolphins as they work together to create the bait balls and then the action begins, the dolphins, birds, sharks, and Brydes whales all enjoying a huge feast.
The noise of the diving gannets is amazing as they surround the boat, diving for the sardines.
We enter the water many times during the day, sometimes just on a snorkel and other times diving the sardine run baitballs, it really depends on how fast the action is moving.
The action is amazing and you are often surrounded by hundreds of dolphins, sharks, diving birds, whales and more.
We also have many opportunities to watch the Humpback Whales on their annual migration.
In the late afternoon, we return to the accommodation at Cremorne Estate, where you can choose to relax, download photos & video footage or you can opt to go sightseeing in the afternoon.
We are always available to take you on local excursions to show you more of the area.
Our dives are for advanced divers and the depth varies from around 15 to 35 meters depending on the dive sites.
In the evening we enjoy dinner at the restaurant. Have a drink with your new dive buddies and discuss the day’s Sardine Run and diving events.
After all this you retire to your bedroom with en-suite facilities to enjoy a relaxing night’s sleep, ready for the next day’s diving.
Check on availability and bookings for your preferred Sardine Run package date.
For inspiration and additional motivation make sure you view the spectacular images in our gallery.
5mm wetsuits are ideal with gloves and hoodie. A 7-mm wetsuit or a shortie to put over your wetsuit is a good idea. Along with your gloves and hoodie.
Finally, when diving the sardine run, the adrenalin is pumping so you don’t really feel the cold.
All our cylinders are 12-liter steel cylinders. These are available as A-clamp [international] or DIN to suit all divers’ gear.
Dive gear is available for rent. This is at R 400 per day for full gear or R 150 per item per day. In conclusion, once we have your booking, you can just let us know what dive gear you will need.
Mornings are fairly cold on Sardine Run but the general daytime temperatures are calm and warm.
We do from sometime experience winter storms which can make it fairly cold and wet with rain.
Generally warm and dry – Sea conditions are generally calm.
Winter : June & July
Daytime Temperature : 12 – 23°C
Water Temperature : 18 – 22°C