Sardine Run

ABOUT THE SARDINE RUN
(HISTORY, PHENOMENON, WILDLIFE)

The Sardine Run is an annual phenomenon dubbed the Greatest Shoal on Earth by the BBC. Large shoals of these little silver fish, more commonly known as the Natal Sardine, move eastwards, up the Wild Coast on the East Coast of South Africa. These fish take advantage of the cooler water on the Continental Shelf that occurs seasonally as a narrow band between the coast and the warm southward flowing Agulhas Current. The favourable cooler conditions are only temporary and many predators in the form of dolphins, sharks, game fish, whales, birds and sometimes even seals, attack the shoal from all sides and gorge themselves on this abundant supply of food.

This attack from all angles forces the sardines to form a bait ball just below the surface in an attempt to protect themselves from these predators, offering the ideal way to view this remarkable occurrence up close. Whether you are a seasoned scuba diver, snorkeler or adrenaline junkie viewing from the boat, Port st Johns is ideally situated to offer you the best chance of viewing this spectacular annual event.

SARDINE RUN EXPEDITION OPTIONS

We are locally based in Port st Johns. You stay with us at The Spotted Grunter Resort,
therefore we can tailor your Sardine Run trip over dates that will suit you

3 OCEAN DAYS

R22 811 PPS
R23 911 SGL
R11 244 ND

4 OCEAN DAYS

R28 800 PPS
R29 900 SGL
R12 900 ND

6 OCEAN DAYS

R29 900 PPS
R35 400 SGL
R16 900 ND

8 OCEAN DAYS

R48 900 PPS
R53 400 SGL
R19 700 ND

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR) • PPS = PER PERSON SHARING SGL = PER PERSON (SINGLE)
NON DIVE = A non-diving partner / person who would like to experience all the excitement from the boat.

We are locally based in Port St Johns. You stay with us at Spotted Grunter Resort, therefore we can tailor your Sardine Run trip to suit you

GALLERY

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FAQ

At the Spotted Grunter we have four different types of accommodation available.  These are self-catering, bed only, bed & breakfast, dinner bed & breakfast.  All Sardine Run Expeditions are buffet dinner bed & breakfast, with lunch provided on the boat.

Our self-catering log cabins are fully equipped and we provide bath towels and toiletries.  Some rooms have their own braai areas as well.

There is secure onsite parking provided as well as the property being monitored by security cameras.

The Anglers Arm is a fully licenced watering hole, with a comprehensive variety of beverages and snacks available.  The bar also includes a pool table, dart board, and a large screen TV so you don’t miss your favourite sports games when joining us!  On occasion, the bar hosts live music and entertainment including a local traditional dancing show once a week.

Our Restaurant serves a diverse selection of dishes, which can be enjoyed inside or on the deck overlooking the rest of the resort and the picturesque Umzimvubu River. We get very good compliments for our food – it’s real home cooked food!  We try to cater for everyone – please be sure to advise us should you have special meal requirements and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Our bait & tackle shop is fully stocked to provide you with everything you need for a fishing trip at the Spotted Grunter!  Wood, charcoal, firelighters, braai packs, ice and a selection of snacks and cold drinks for your braai are also available.

River Deck – enjoy a cocktail overlooking the mighty Umzimvubu River with magnificent mountain views as well!

Braai Areas – numerous braai areas are available around the property

Riverside Fire Pit – Enjoy a braai or drinks around our fire pit on the river bank

Private Slipway – we have an approved private slipway for easy launching of boats directly into the Umzimvubu River

Yoga Classes – Cindy is a qualified Yoga Instructor and is available to give classes to guests on request

Other Facilities:  Wheelchair Enabled, Fenced Swimming Pool, Pet Friendly, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi, Drying Room – Area to wash and hang wetsuits and dive gear provided

Languages – English, Afrikaans

Grading – AA Highly Recommended

INCLUDED EXCLUDED
DINNER, BED & BREAKFAST FLIGHTS & TAXES
PACKED LUNCH & REFRESHMENTS ON SEA DAYS PASSPORTS & VISAS
CYLINDER & AIR REFILL PERSONAL INSURANCE (Travel/dive/medical)
WEIGHT BELT & WEIGHTS TRANSFERS *(CBA)
SKIPPER, DIVE MASTER, GUIDE, FUEL, MARINE PERMITS ADDITIONAL FOOD & DRINKS
LUNCH ON NON-SEA DAYS
PERSONAL ITEMS
EQUIPMENT HIRE (BCD, REG, WETSUIT, FINS, MASK)
GRATUITIES
ADDITIONAL SIGHTSEEING & ACTIVITIES

At this time of the year there are many other phenomena occurring along this stretch of coastline, one of which is the annual Humpback and Southern Right Whale Migration.  These whales pass PSJ and feed on the shoal as they move North up the coast.  Their antics in the water are fascinating and at any time you can witness a display of various behaviours such as Breaching, Flipper Slapping, “Lobtailing” (lifting its tail fluke up and slapping the surface of the water in a loud slap) or “Spy Hopping” (When a whale “treads water” and lifts its head and part of the chest vertically out the water so that their eyes are just above the waterline)

There are many other species of whale that can also be seen along this stretch of wild coastline, such as  Brydes, Beaked, Minkes, Sperm and even Killer Whales!

Simon Rogerson is the editor of DIVE magazine, the best-selling dive mag in the UK. In June 2019 he spotted Killer Whales off the coast of PSJ whilst tracking the annual migratory patterns of whales and other marine wildlife on the Sardine Run.  An encounter like no other!

https://www.diveworldwide.com/divelog/diving-the-sardine-run-fancy-your-chances

June & July : The Sardine Run takes place during winter in South Africa.

Day time temperature:        10-25C

Night time temperature:      6-12C

Water temperature:             18-21C

Early mornings and evenings are cold so you will need trousers, long sleeve tops, windbreaker, fleece tops or jackets. During the day the weather is warm so you will need shorts, t-shirts, light jerseys, shoes or sneakers & socks, sandals or slops. Swimming costume, sarong etc

FOR THE BOAT: N.B. SPACE IS LIMITED

In a small waterproof bag:  SUNBLOCK, LIPBALM, WATER, CAP/HAT, BEANIE, WARM WATERPROOF JACKET, DRY GLOVES, MOTION SICKNESS PILLS

Some people do feel a bit seasick if they surface earlier than the main group and have to spend time waiting on the boat.  The weather is generally calm but we can have some winter storms which can make the sea rough.

NOTE: BEFORE BOOKING FLIGHTS, PLEASE CONFIRM AVAILABILITY FOR THE DATES YOU REQUIRE

We are able to tailor-make the packages to suit clients needs, so we are flexible with dates.  Once we receive your enquiry, we will confirm availability by email and send you all the booking information. A 50% deposit payable to The Spotted Grunter Resort upon booking. This deposit is payable per person and is non-refundable as well as non-transferable. The outstanding balance is to be settled on or before arrival.

Final payment is required on or before the start date of your Sardine Run Adventure. We accept credit card payments & bank transfers.  Any additional expenses are to be settled prior to guests’ departure.

All prices exclude equipment hire

Exchange Rates – latest exchange rates www.xe.com

WE RECOMMEND THAT Y0U BRING ALL YOUR OWN DIVE GEAR (WE PROVIDE A CYLINDER AND WEIGHT BELT WITH WEIGHTS)

In order to participate as a diver on a Sardine Run Adventure Package you need to be a qualified diver with a minimum Open Water One dive qualification.

Port St Johns is located on the The Wild Coast of South Africa.  As its name suggests, this strip of coastline is an untamed wilderness and this includes the sea.  The conditions at sea are generally calm however winter storms can cause high winds, big swell and strong currents.  The depth of the dives varies from around 8-meters to 20-meters depending on the dives. Most of our dives are drift dives and we do sometimes have strong currents.

 

Day time temperature:        10-25C

Night time temperature:      6-12C

Water temperature:             18-21C

Visibility: 2-20m

 

WETSUITS

A 5-mm to 7-mm wetsuit is what most divers have preferred during the Sardine Run.  If you are prone to feeling the cold you could add a shortie to go over your wetsuit.  Gloves and a hoodie are a good idea if you have them.

 

GEAR HIRE:

Should you need to hire equipment please inform us well in advance in order for us to make arrangements for you.

06h30   Breakfast

06h45   Meet at boat- get into wetsuits, equipment check, load boat, dive brief etc

07h00   Launch

07h00 – 15h00 – spend the day at sea.  Lunch & refreshments provided on the boat

15h00    Unpack boat, clean equipment, relax till dinner

 

We are up early each day to have breakfast at 6.30 am and thereafter be ready to launch with all our kit. We will head out to see to look for activity and interact with bait balls and marine life such as whales, dolphins, sharks, game fish, birds and obviously sardines,.

 

The way we interact will be determined by what we encounter and how comfortable the marine life is with divers. We can scuba dive on stationary bait balls, snorkel on moving bait balls or interact from the boat in poor visibility or windy conditions. The time we spend out at sea depends on the action and conditions.

Make sure you bring protection from the sun as well as warm clothing.

 

In the afternoon we return to the resort where you can relax, socialise or enjoy some of the other activities offered at the resort or in PSJ.

NOTE: OUR SARDINE RUN PACKAGES DO NOT INCLUDE TRANSFERS – HOWEVER TRANSFERS CAN BE ARRANGED ON REQUEST!

Due to the fact that our clients get to book their Sardine Run WildCoast Adventure over dates of their choice it makes it difficult for us to schedule set transfers like a tour operator who offers block bookings over set dates and who can schedule to transfer 10-20 clients all arriving at the same time.  However we can arrange transfers should you wish.

 

AIRPORTS

There are 3 airports you can fly into to reach Port St John’s, namely King Shaka International Airport in Durban, Umtata Airport or East London Airport.  Once we have confirmed your dates and booking, we will be able to advise you regarding flight’s and transfers.

 

https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Flights-g312562-Mthatha_Eastern_Cape-Cheap_Discount_Airfares.html