09 June 2004

Annual Sardine Run spectacular a must

Every year one of the most amazing spectacles in the animal kingdom takes place off the KwaZulu Natal coastline. For some unknown reason, and driven by a powerful, primeval force, millions upon millions of sardines begin to congregate off the Wild Coast around Port St. Johns...

Attracted to this gigantic smorgasbord, are thousands of dolphins, sharks, and game fish. Orcas and whales are also occasionally encountered. In the air above thousands of gannets and seabirds dive bomb the shoals of fish driven to the surface by the feeding frenzy taking place below. The sea surface literally boils with dolphins and seabirds attacking this endless river of small fish. This huge, seething mass of fish and wildlife, stretching kilometres in places, moves up the coastline towards Durban when it just as inexplicably disappears, to repeat the following year.

This unbelievable phenomenon has recently been extensively featured on both National Geographic and Discovery Channel TV. Like the game fish, world-renowned wildlife photographers, and TV crews from all over the world are drawn to our coast to document this unbelievable occurrence.

It is not possible to predict exactly if, when and where the sardines will arrive at our coast. Historically the best window time to expect the sardines is from mid June to the first week of July, but it may be earlier or later, and normally they are first dived from Port St Johns and then at any of the launchable sites as they move north along the coast.

Last year they did not reach the coast at all, but passed 25 km offshore at a depth of between 50 and 100 meters deep - a total disaster from a divers point of view! This means that there are absolutely NO guarantees that you will see the sardines unless you come here for a month or two and wait.

KwaMnandi Dive Lodge in Umkomaas is offering a package to experience this spectacular event. Spend the days waiting (and hoping) for the sardines by diving the various sites (reef, wrecks and sharks) of Aliwal Shoal, Protea Banks and Rocky Bay. If and when the sardines arrive, they migrate up the coast and we will then dive them from any of the launching sites along their way. This way you are ensured of an adventurous diving holiday whether the sardines come or not.

For more information, e-mail
info@kwamnandi.co.za or visit http://www.kwamnandi.co.za/sardinerun.html
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Annual Sardine Run spectacular a must