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Witness the ‘Greatest Shoal on Earth’ as millions of sardines migrate along South Africa’s eastern coastline followed by a plethora of wildlife.

Each year, around June, one of the most amazing spectacles in the animal kingdom takes place off the KwaZulu Natal coastline. Millions of sardines migrate north, following cold winter currents toward the warm Indian Ocean, a gigantic smorgasbord attracting thousands of marine predators – dolphins, sharks, seals and game fish, even occasional orcas and whales. The resultant feeding frenzy drives the shoals to the surface where they fall prey to dive bombing avian predators.

Spend your days at sea following the action with a mix of diving and snorkelling depending on what's in the water.

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart the UK for South Africa

  2. Day 2: Arrive and transfer to Umkomaas

    After arriving at Durban airport you will be transferred to your lodge in Umkomaas, where you will spend your first night. Rest of day at leisure followed by a briefing about shark diving and what to expect.

  3. Day 3: Dive Aliwal Shoal

    This morning enjoy two shark dives at Aliwal Shoal, where you can expect plenty of ragged tooth sharks at this time of year. This is also a chance for you to get comfortable with your kit and local conditions.

    This afternoon, transfer south to Port St Johns. On arrival, check in at the dive lodge which overlooks the Umzimvubu river. Evening at leisure.

  4. Days 4-8 : Sardine Run action!

    The next five days are spent out at sea getting as close to the Sardine Run as possible. There will be a mix of diving and snorkelling, determined by the wildlife and best possible experience given the local conditions.

    After an early breakfast, launch out to sea and spend the day enjoying the action and getting up close and personal with almost every species of marine animal including birds, dolphins, game fish, whales and sharks.  

    In the late afternoon return to shore where it may be possible to take part in a local excursion or you can just relax back at the lodge.

  5. Day 9: Transfer to Durban and depart

    Today you will be transferred to Durban airport for your flight back to the UK.

  6. Day 10: Arrive UK

You should note: The Sardine Run is an unreliable event and there is no guarantee of catching the run. We recommend to travel in late June/early July to maximise the likelihood of seeing the action.

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 10 days from £2,675 pp
  • Single supplement: From £220
  • Departures: Please contact us for departure date details.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Flights from the UK
    • 7 nights accommodation
    • Breakfast daily
    • 2 dives Aliwal Shoal
    • 5 days Sardine Run (dive/snorkel)
    • Tanks and weights
    • Transfers
Featured location:

Aliwal Shoal

A must for divers, Aliwal Shoal is home to over 1,200 species of fish and an abundance of corals, as well as turtles, rays and pelagics. From June through to November ragged tooth sharks congregate to mate, while huge tiger sharks and hammerheads are also seen.

  • Ideal for viewing: ragged tooth shark, tiger shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, humpback whale, oceanic black-tip shark
  • Excellent for: Resort based diving, Singles diving, Group diving, Shark diving
Featured accommodation:

ScubaAddicts Dive Lodge

A dedicated diver’s lodge south of Durban, ScubaAddicts offers fantastic views of the Indian Ocean, and is the perfect base for experienced divers to enjoy world-class shark diving encounters at Aliwal Shoal.