top of page
shark sardines.jpg
south africa sardine run.png

Sardine Run June 29 - July 7, 2025

Page Title

The KwaZulu-Natal sardine run of Southern Africa occurs from May through July when billions of sardines – or more specifically the Southern African pilchard Sardinops sagax – spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa.

 

Whales and dolphins patrol the South African coast in search of sardines. The density of animals during the migration period is very high, and dolphins even gather in groups of up to a thousand individuals. You can see humpback whales, bryde's whales, minke whales, and other species.

circle ball.jpg

Dive OR Snorkel Sardine Runs!

The “Best Adventure-Diving opportunity in the World”.   If you’re ready for the diving expedition of a lifetime – The Sardine Run. It’s not just about the sardines – it’s about everything BIG and Small in the ocean that follows them – including you!

 

Because we follow the sardines, they move quickly, and most of the action is 20-30 feet deep on these dives, you may choose to simply snorkel or breath-hold in order to have more  "face time" with the action rather than don your gear.  This also means that snorkelers who don't or can't dive can participate and enjoy these days every bit as much as scuba divers! 

DAY 1

We will transfer in comfort from the Tiger Shark dive hotel to our home for the next 8 days, in Mbotyi in the Eastern Cape.

DAYS 2-8

An early morning breakfast sets you up for a day at sea chasing the world-famous Sardine Run experience.   Our boats launch at fist light to catch the early action – and return to the beach between mid-day and sunset – depending on the action, weather – and how everyone aboard feels.

 

For the not die-hards, a full service lunch served at the lodge until 3pm – followed by the spectacular land program – which takes in the sights, sounds, culture and splendour of one fo the most visually spectacular parts of South Africa.

Horseback riding, hiking, and taking in the local culture are all highlights of our guided land program.  

Everyone wants to see Waterfall Bluff, the iconic waterfall that drops down into the Indian Ocean. It requires a bit of effort to do this but the rewards are immense. This remains one of the most exciting walks for the seasoned hiker. If you do a return trip from the lodge, the distance is 28km

From Mbotyi you walk close to the coast along grassy banks and beach for some 3.5 km before reaching a long sandy beach at Drewe’s Camp. In the middle of this stretch is the mouth of the Mkhosi River. Beyond this estuary are two more undisturbed, clear streams. One has a beautiful waterfall that cascades into a pool. The route now leaves the beach and hikers ascend up the back of Sugarloaf Hill to a plateau. Your guide will point out the Eggossa fault to you. You will skirt the first deep valley. The only habitation is two huts utilized by herdsman who periodically guide their cattle onto these traditional grazing grounds. A highlight along this route is to see one of the endemic Mkambati palms, which are indigenous to this area.

 

Walking along the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean where whales and dolphins abound, you will come across Cathedral Rock, a well- known landmark. Note the rock cairns left by brave or foolish rock climbers. After crossing the Mlambomkulu River, with its pristine pools, the trails leads you down to the coast and Waterfall Bluff. The cliffs form a huge overhanging cave, called Grotto Cave and supplies excellent shade for your tasty packed lunch. The return route is slightly inland. Remember to have a swim at the pools.

DAY 9

Breakfast followed by an 8:00am  departure for Durban Airport.

lodge.jpg

Accomodations

A warm welcome awaits at this family run lodge and holiday resort on the stunning Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Pondoland’s best kept secret is situated at the mouth of the tidal Mbotyi River nestled between the rolling hills, lush tropical forest and the warm Indian Ocean.

This unique Wild Coast hotel is the perfect place for a peaceful, tranquil holiday or for the more adventurous traveler wanting to experience the many amazing natural treasures like waterfalls, forests and of course, the sardine run this coast has to offer.

Mbotyi is in the heart of Pondoland where one can experience true Pondo culture as well as the warmth and friendliness of these lovely people. Walk along the hills and valleys of the village with a local guide/interpreter, meet the people and the local characters, or visit a Sangoma or a lively shebeen.

 

Approaching Mbotyi, you will drive through a section of the magnificent Magwa Tea Plantation. This is known to be one of the world largest tea plantations. The evergreen tea bushes, hugging the rolling hills and surrounded by borders of massive Eucalyptus trees are a sight to behold.

Rooms will have either two twins or one queen.

Mbotyi is a wilderness area, there are no shopping malls, no restaurants, banks or any facilities you would expect to find in a village.

There is the lodge, a school, clinic, campsite and a couple of Spaza shops. Also very nice people.

 

The small convenience shop at the lodge tries to stock basics but you may wish to bring your own.

 

If you are a hiker/ horse-rider /birder, very good sunblock, insect repellent suitable for small ticks.

 

Hairdryers available at reception, please remember to ask for one if needed.

Mosquito plugs are also available at reception. Note this is NOT a malaria area.

Vegetarian options are available with each course, and water is safe to drink.  However, if you wish to drink bottled water, it is available for sale.

ultralight.jpg

Sardines from the Sky!

One of the unique features of our escape is the operator's use of Ultralight aircraft to spot the sardines and direct the boats to the action.  

A perk, is that each participant will get a flight on the Ultralight (weather permitting).

waterfall.jpg
sardine from air.jpeg
bottom of page