Sardine Run 2022

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8 nights
Trip Dates : 27/06/2021-08/07/2021
Durben, SA
Group Size : 7
Tour Details

Welcome to the greatest show on earth!!!

The Annual Sardine run in South Africa is considered as the largest migration event in the world, one which can be seen from space!

We have partnered with south Africas most experienced operator to bring you an epic expedition which will combine the best the area has to offer.

From 2 days of shark Freediving (Scuba also possible), freedive sessions and breathing workshops to 7 full days of high octane Sardine run, this is a trip of a lifetime. Oh, and did we mention an Microlight flight above the action??

Departure & Return Location

Port St Johns – South Africa (Google Map)

Trip Dates


Price Includes

  • Transfers from Durben
  • 7 Nights Hotel Accomodation and all meals9 nights accommodation with the optional Tiger Shark safari
  • 2 day freediving safari - EXTRA but recommended
  • 7 days of Sardine run action
  • Workshops - Breathing, photography, freediving...
  • Cultural Experience - Visit with the local traditional healer and see an authentic rural African village
  • Microlight Flight

Price Excludes

  • Airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Drinks
  • Tips

To Bring

  • Warm Clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Wool Cap
  • Wind Blocker
What to Expect

Have you ever swam with a Humpback? if so, this was probably in clear, warm water, where mothers nurse their young. But as you may know, whales do not feed in Tonga… instead, they feed down south. 

The Sardine Run provides a unique opportunity to witness whales and other species as they feed of the sardines as they move around the South African coast. 

We have prepared a jam-packed plan and do not want to give it all away (want to surprise you)… but trust us – it is going to be incredible.

You can expect to experience the following:

  • Dolphins of various kinds
  • Whales of many kinds
  • Sharks
  • Manta Rays
  • Sail fish and Marlin
  • Sea Birds
  • Small traditional villages

Important notice

Although our trip officially begins on the 29th of June, we are offering the option of adding 2 extra days of a freediving Tiger shark safari.

This is an amazing way to get to know the conditions, practice some freediving and swim with big sharks!!!

Please see below the full itinerary 

Shark diving safari
2 day diving safari to get used to the environment and swim with various sharks.

Aliwal Shoal will range from 18 – 36m. The shoal is spread over several kilometres – but is considered to be an incredible adventure-dive opportunity, because of its diversity of marine life – sharks specifically.
In SA we call sand tigers, Ragged-Tooth sharks – and they are generally quite plentiful on the shoal, in the caves etc. There are also huge grouper to see – in fact a plethora of sub-tropical reef marine life. Its a very unique location.

The baited dives happen between surface and 15 metres, depending on conditions. We usually get many black-tips, as in the photos – and they tend to make the experience for most of our guests – but the format was originally intended for Tiger sharks, and we still get many visits, though not every time. In the general ocean vicinity we have regular sightings of all of the big guys (bull sharks, tigers, hammerheads), and even the occasional white shark and less frequent, orca.


Mbotyi River Lodge is our accommodation partner and base for our Sardine Run scuba diving expeditions. The lodge is 3 star luxury, with full amenities and excellent service.

Of the several accommodation options available for Sardine Runners. Mbotyi is by far the most luxurious and the best situated being just south of the infamous Waterfall Bluff (where the sardines mass before running up the coast) and being surrounded by the spectacular Mbotyi hills and the magnificent Magwa Tea Plantation with close proximity to Fraser Falls and Magwa Falls – 2 of the finest African sundowner experiences imaginable ☺!

Weather Conditions

Weather & Conditions
June/ July are winter months on the Wild Coast and wet weather is possible (though not always the case).
• Temperatures (Air) : 59 – 75 F/ 15 – 24 C
• Temperatures (Water) : 59 – 70 F/ 15 – 21 C
Conditions will vary from glass-like seas to flying through giant rollers in pumping winds – very exciting and sometimes strenuous. Safety is always the priority when on the water and the SEAL skipper will navigate accordingly.
Visibility – Varies from 2 – 20m/ 6 ft – 60ft.


Day 1OPTIONAL - Pickup in Durben, drive to freedive Safari location

If you choose to join us for the Tiger shark dive safari, we will pick you up at the airport and drive to our first spot.
After a few briefing, orientation and dinner we go to sleep and prepare for the next two days of diving

Days 2-3OPTIONAL - Freediving Tiger shark Safari

The next two days will include Tiger shark dives and a lot of freediving. For those who wish to Scuba, it is possible.
At the end of the second day of diving we will drive to our final destination

Day 2Sardine Run pickup day

If you choose to skip the Freedive safari, you will be picked up on the Arrive at Durban International Airport (KSIA) prior to 12h00 by SEAL Team member and transferred to our dive location in the Eastern Cape. Orientation.

Days 3-9Sardine Run!!!

06h45 Continental Breakfast (packed breakfast supplied for occasional 06h30 launches)
07h00 Microlight launches and begins recon
07h30 SEAL Teams launch
11h00 Light lunch and refreshments available onboard throughout the day
13h30 Approximate time back on-shore – dependent on action and weather conditions
16h00 Afternoon activity (optional) – microlight flight, horse riding, sundown cocktails, trail- hikes, witchdoctor visit, cultural village tour & more.
19h00 3 course dinner, next day activity planning and good times.

Day 10Transfer back to Durban International Airport (KSIA)

After Breakfast we will drive back to Durben and drop you off at the airport


Due to the nature of the expedition, the sea conditions and the variation in the migration of the sardines, we are not guaranteed to see all the species mentioned here.

Sardine run talk

SEAL Expeditions trip introduction

Below, you can view a long talk (1 hour 20 minutes) delivered by Seal Expeditions owner. Our trip will include a few additional surprises 😉

Ignore the first few minutes in Hebrew – the talk itself is in english…

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