Uncover ocean adventure on the KZN South Coast as the Sardine Run action continues

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The sunny winter weather continues to attract visitors to the KZN South Coast, but it’s not just the Blue Flag Beaches, nature reserves, and hinterland adventures that are getting attention – the world’s greatest biomass migration is still putting on a fantastic ocean display! The Sardine Run, which is an annual winter phenomenon, got underway in June, and there are only a few weeks left to check out this globally renowned event.

“This year has been another great one for the Sardine Run on the KZN South Coast with tourists afforded close-up viewings of the migrating shoals and hungry marine life in hot pursuit!” commented Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “There are so many ways to experience the Sardine Run, whether it’s from the sandy shoreline of our Blue Flag Beaches, from whale watching decks, from boats, microlights, or in the water, our tourism establishments are on hand to make this a memorable excursion.”

The pilot shoal made its appearance on the KZN South Coast early in June this year, with Sardine Run activity attracting eager anglers, divers, and spectators throughout the winter weeks. Wayne Harrison, Acting Head of Operations at KZN Sharks Board, said seine netters had been busy the past few days.

“Netting took place on Wednesday [26 July] at Kelso Station where 30 baskets were netted at R400 each,” said Harrison. “Netting took place in Scottburgh yesterday [27 July] with 30 baskets netted at Mamba Alley on Thursday morning, two more nets taken at Pumula, and another one at Hibberdene. So far, we’ve had 12 nettings in July, totalling 52 successful nettings this season, with just over 700 baskets taken.”

One of the seine netters, Demetre Stamatis, said the localised flooding earlier in the season had impacted the netting somewhat, but the same thing happened in 2022 and there was suddenly a ‘flash of run’ thereafter. While it’s impossible to predict the sardine activity, he said hopefully: “Today could be a different outcome!”.

How to experience the Sardine Run

Visitors are welcome to look out for the Sardine Run action from any of the 58 beaches found on the KZN South Coast, home to the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in the province! This time of year is also great for spotting migrating humpback whales, with any of this ocean activity seen from the many whale-viewing sites in the area.

There are several tourism operators ready to take visitors on a close-up experience of the Sardine Run. Charter boats will head out to the action where visitors can take in the spectacle from the boat, or even enjoy some snorkelling among the sardines, dolphins, and game fish.

Scuba divers and free divers can head to two of the best dive sites in the world, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks – both Marine Protected Areas. Protea Banks is ideal for shark sightings while Aliwal Shoal is ideal for all levels of diving experience with a series of caves, crevasses, and ridges home to a huge variety of marine life.

There’s also the option of an aerial view of the KZN South Coast with a flip in a microlight, helicopter, or light aircraft. World of Wings in Umkomaas offers microlight flips for views of Aliwal Shoal, Scottburgh and the lower South Coast; while the Margate-based Uvongo Airtrack Aviation offers scenic helicopter and aeroplane flights for a great view of the coastline.

Don’t miss out on the Sardine Run action

Keep updated on all the Sardine Run action by visiting the website.