Sardine Run

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Category: Great Sardine Run
  • Sardine Run Whales closing in
  • Sardine Run
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  • Sardine Run_Southern Right Whale
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This unique phenomenon has been captured through the lens of many international documentary makers; one of the most famous being the Oscar nominated Jaques Perain, for his work on the Walt Disney production “Oceans”. Often referred to as the Greatest Shoal on Earth, the annual sardine migration along South Africa’s rugged east coast begins off the cool waters south of the African continent where they form into hundreds of large swirling shoals. The sardines then run north east into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and mass into The Greatest Shoal on Earth.

What makes this a complete wildlife extravaganza is not only the gigantic waves of silver sardines but the number of predators that congregate en masse just off the east coast of South Africa in anticipation of the year’s greatest feast. The waters of this coastline teem with red eyes, mackerels, sharks, dolphins, Cape gannets, cormorants, seals and on occasion, orcas, which have followed the sardines thousands of kilometres from the southern ocean.

Enquire Now For Your Sardine Run

Explore The sardine run with Mantis eXtreme

Accommodation Details

Mantis, with their Port Elizabeth based boutique hotel, the No5 Boutique Art Hotel and their luxury lodge, Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve a short distance away from coastal town of Port Alfred are both ideally located to view the migration.

Mantis have thus aligned themselves with a leading Port Elizabeth based marine adventure company known as Expert Tours who amongst portraying other marine activities, specialise in tours to view the migration of the sardines. Owner and operator Rainer Schimpf facilitated with the production of “Oceans” escorting the Disney film crew out into the depths of the Eastern Cape waters for three consecutive years in order for them to capture the true spectacle of the “run”.

About the adventure

The marine adventure can be viewed from the safety of one of Rainer’s boats, as a snorkeler in the waters or as a diver submerged into all the action. Rainer Schimpf will bring in all his experience and knowledge to show Mantis clients the best possible sights.

The Eastern Cape is also home to several wonderful on-land based wildlife experiences, including access to Africa’s well known BIG 5 (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard). With Mantis’s alignment to Expert Tours they’re now able to offer their clients an opportunity to view the BIG 8 (whales, sharks and dolphins).

The sardines arrive in the Eastern Cape waters around Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred much earlier than further up the coast and can be found there in as early as February each year. Their migration northwards along the coast only begins with the arrival of the first winter storms that batter the Eastern Cape in May/June time.

Rainer Schimpf of Expert Tours says of the experience: “Our advantage is that our clients are the very first to experience the beginnings of the migration, the sardine activity begins very early in the year due to geographical differences; our location is conducive to better weather conditions and longer days considering we operate in the summer months. The province also has a great infrastructure and so much to do before and after a day out at sea. Our marine experience coupled with all the wildlife that the Eastern Cape has to offer makes for an even greater nature experience, possibly one of the greatest on earth”

After arriving in Port Elizabeth guests can relax and unwind at No5 Boutique Art Hotel, Mantis’ elegant and luxurious city hotel. No5 Boutique Art Hotel is the perfect platform from which to undergo an induction onto Rainer’s marine program. Guests embark upon their marine adventure from here before heading up coast to Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve to view wildlife and continue onwards for more marine activity.

What To Expect

Unforgettable experiences which can only be made in South Africa and only during this season (February to June): thousands of common dolphins, lots of humpback- and brydes whales, hundreds of penguins and seals, sharks on various locations, on which we enter in the water.

Recommended is minimum 5 mm semi dry suit. Snorkelling is absolutely priority! Diving only during some tours and only upon previous request. Minimum qualification for diving e.g. Advanced Diver We cover up to 100 km distance out at sea daily. Highlight can be baitball of sardines! … or ORCAS feeding on dolphins!

Possible Day

Approx. 07.30 am Boat will be launch at PEDSAC PE harbour, we than drive to where we experienced the activity last and search for Dolphins and Whales engaged in Sardine Run activity.

Approx. 03.00 pm Return.

What to bring

Water protecting jacket and trousers Hat Sunscreen Photo equipment in watersafe bag Seasickness pills if required All tours are weather dependent. Changes can be made at any given time.

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