SARDINE RUN&TOFOPACKAGE

ARE YOU A DIVER ENOUGH FOR THIS?

The annual migration of Sardine (Sardinops Sagax) from the Agulhas Bank of the Cape, past the Wild Coast and up to the southern portions of KwaZulu Natal to spawn and then return, takes place during South Africa’s winter months and is a natural phenomenon known as the “Sardine Run”. It is rated to be the marine equivalent of the famous Wildebeest migration that takes place on the Masai Mara and Serengeti plains of central Africa and is just as thrilling and spectacular to witness.

The time forgotten coastal town of Port St John’s, situated on the magical Pondoland Wild Coast has become one of the most popular destinations from which to experience the sardine run in all its glory.

Experiencing the sardine run from the Pondoland coast offers not only a naturally beautiful stretch of rugged coastline, but it is also steeped in cultural traditions allowing the Amapondo people to live by and protect their cultural values….A little piece of true Africa.

Choosing a company to trust your holiday with is a big decision, and while there are certain uncontrollable factors at play, we've done all we can to ensure that your trip is one that you will recall with a smile for years to come. All of our trips are personally guided by Professional and knowledge Guides.

Diversity Scuba unites both land and sea to show you the wonders of this African region.

You can take part in an unforgettable holiday accompanied by extremely professional and knowledgeable guides of the area. From the moment you arrive to the moment you return home, you will always be supported and accompanied by us,  and assisted in seeing the main attractions; where to eat and drink as well as extra package activities. All transfers are arranged by us and are included.

We organize the whole circuit between Port St. John's and Tofo Beach in Mozambique, where you'll have the chance of doing some fantastic world class diving.

You can choose in which direction you would like to do the circuit:  starting first at Port St. John's and finishing at Tofo Beach, or you can do it in the reverse order. We will be here to advise and provide support throughout your entire journey. 

DiversityScuba and Offshore Africa got together to offer you the best sea experience in Africa. The Sardine Run is one of the most popular and espectacular events of the year, where you can enjoy a boat based adventure, whether you are a diver or a non diver. All nature lovers, bird watchers, photography enthusiasts, dolphin and whale enthusiasts, snorkelers and scuba divers will thoroughly enjoy this incredible event of nature, which is known as “The Greatest shoal on earth”.

Offshore Africa is the only operator that is able to offer a “home base knowledge” package for the Sardine Run Ocean safari as they are based in Port St John’s all year round and are ideally located to offer you a superb, fun filled trip, coupled with highly experienced sardine run specialist teams of skippers and dive guides.

The sardine run is one of the hardest products in the dive industry to market and to work with. The main reason being is that every outing is dependent on what nature offers us on that particular day. BUT…it is not just about sardines and baitballs…  It has been and is still rated to be the marine equivalent of the famous Wildebeest migration that takes place on the Masai Mara and Serengeti plains of central Africa and is just as thrilling and spectacular to witness whether above surface or underwater. Just the amount of oceanic predators and birdlife make this an enthralling experience and offers phenomenal photographic opportunities both above and below the water.

A TYPICAL DAY ON THE SARDINE RUN OCEAN SAFARI TRIP

  • Daily outings last for approximately 6 – 8 hours depending on sea conditions and the amount of activity about. With the action being fast and furious in conjunction with variable sea conditions, long boat rides and the whole day out at sea, outings can prove strenuous, therefore it is recommended that clients be relatively fit.

  • Departure time is usually between 07h30 and 08h00 and return time depends on the action on the day.  Offshore Africa's boats are usually the last in each day, giving the clients a full day out at sea, capitalizing on whatever Nature has to offer.

  • Each morning at around 07h30, the boats head out from the Umzimvubu River, Port St John’s and after a typical and highly exciting African surf launch, crew starts looking for all types of action, from whales, dolphins and ocean bird action to the little silver sardine type action. The skippers are in touch with a “eye in the sky” gyrocopter pilot for an update on sightings. Sardine activity is usually sighted from large flocks of cape gannet sightings or by the more trusted large pods of common dolphin activity.  The communication with the pilot and other networks is vast, as well as a communication with Natal Sharks Board members that conduct regular flights further afield. The local knowledge of “hiding” places also comes into play here and all avenues are explored to find action for you.

  • Once action is located, the experienced crew will determine whether this action is fast moving, necessitating snorkel viewing, or more static, whereby we can go straight onto scuba equipment for those wishing to use scuba gear.  First hand action can be experienced by snorkelers, divers and boat based passengers, which ensures an exciting day out for everyone where no one is left out of all the excitement that nature brings with it.

 

EVERY YEAR THE RUN OS DIFFERENT, WITH GOOD YEARS AND BAD YEARS

Something that few people realize or read about regarding the Sardine run is the fact that aside from sardine (Sardinops Sagax), there are at least another 5 or 6 species of baitfish doing their own mini or not so mini migrations at the same time. (Anchovies, sugar mackerel, redeye herring, East coast herring, Sauri & a few more). Each of these species attracts predators in all shapes and sizes and is preyed upon at every given opportunity.

Some of the above species have a tendency to “ball” as a defensive strategy, as sardine does, while others just scatter and create chaos.

A few things are guaranteed on every outing:

– huge pods of dolphin sometimes numbering in their thousands;

– numerous species of sharks (if visibility allows) are seen individually or in large packs on most “jump-ins”;

– a huge variety of oceanic birdlife including the well-known Cape Gannet, which arrives in their thousands, 5 species of Albatross, Petrels, Cormorants, Terns;

– and of course, through it all, we have the annual Humpback whale migration offering loads of breaching and surface displays due to the topography of our coastline.

The attraction of it all is the fact that one just never knows what one will come across or experience on any given day.

ABOUT THE BOATS

  • We use 7.2m & 8m Feral RIB’s powered by 2 x 85hp Yamaha outboards.

  • Each vessel is licensed to carry 12 passengers including skipper and guide; however, for the sardine run ocean experience trips only, we limit our carrying capacity to a maximum of 8 people to maximize space and comfort.

  • Our boats are certified by SAMSA and carry all required safety equipment including oxygen, trauma kits and communication devices.

WHAT TO BRING ON THE BOAT EACH DAY

  • Sun protection i.e. hat, sunglasses& sun block

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Waterproof bag for anything you wish to bring onto the boat (space is limited so please choose something relatively small. If you are in a group, sharing a larger bag would be advisable)

  • Camera, video equipment, binoculars (in a waterproof bag)

 

Important to note:

  • Due to our typical African surf launch & beaching of boat techniques, along with the possibility of uncomfortable and choppy sea conditions at times, we do not advise that those with limited mobility or frailty take part in boat activities of this nature.

  • The sardine run ocean experience is safe to enjoy, as a passenger, by most, however there is certain effort required by everyone on board.

  • As a snorkeller or diver, action can be incredibly fast paced and at times, chaotic as predator chases prey, meaning that a certain level of fitness is required to thoroughly enjoy each and every encounter and in water activity must be undertaken by those reasonably comfortable in the water.

 

WEATHER AND SEA CONDITIONS

  • The best weather and sea conditions on the Wild coast happen to be during the winter periods   A little rain and overcast conditions can be expected on some days, though normally good weather prevails.

  • Sea conditions can range from glassy smooth to white capped seas…exciting and sometimes strenuous.

  • Our team ensures your safety first at all times and all decisions are based on this.

  • AIR temperature ranges between 14 – 25 ºC (58 – 76 ºF) and it is often colder at night.

  • WATER temperature ranges between 15 – 22º*C (59 – 71 ºF)

  • VISIBILITY ranges between 2 – 30m and as a safety precaution, in water activities are only conducted with conditions offering us visibility of 5m plus.

 

NOTES FOR SCUBA DIVERS

  • Divers will be asked to produce their certification cards as well as logbooks on arrival at Port St Johns and prior to any ocean activities taking place.

  • Check Out Dives will be done on the first day and prior to any sightings taking place.  This is for your own safety and comfort, to enable you to tweak equipment, familiarize yourself with local conditions ahead of all the action, and where there is little or no time to tweak gear.

  • Divers are encouraged to bring their own Wetsuit, mask and snorkel, fins, BCD and regulators, however we do have a range of equipment for rental @ R 65.00 per item, per day OR R 325.00 for a full day equipment rental.  Equipment rental MUST BE pre-booked.

  • Cylinders + weight belts to be supplied on arrival.  We make use of 10 & 12ltr steel cylinders.  We have an easy conversion from DIN to A-clamp with our cylinders.

 

Our rental gear consists of:
  • Fins – Mares Avante Tre – closed heel fins, maximum fin size is 11-12 (46-47) and the smallest being 3½ – 4½ (36-37)

  • Masks – black silicone

  • Wetsuits – our wetsuits are 5mm thickness full suits with a rear zip

  • BCD & Regulator – Aqualung Wave / Calypso DIN

  •  

  • With water temperatures ranging between 14 – 22 degrees C, wetsuit thickness of 5 – 7 mm with hood, booties and gloves are recommended for this time of year.

  • Trip staff will be on hand to carry equipment, fill cylinders etc.

  • It is advisable to bring your own SMB (surface marker buoy) to keep inside your BCD pocket, if you are bringing your own equipment.

  • Rinsing facilities will be available on site. 

 

Recommended Itinerary:

Transport options to Port St. Johns

AIRPORT TRANSFERS FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

  • Margate airport now offers a small domestic airline “CEMAIR”.  Margate is approximately 4 hours drive to Port St John’s.  Car rental facilities are available from this small airport.

  • East London airport, as a domestic connection, is approximately 4 hours drive to Port St John’s. There is a car rental facility at the airport.

  • Umtata airport, as a domestic connection via SA Air link (UTT code) is approximately a 1.5 hour drive from Port St John’s and is highly recommended due to the proximity and short travel time to Port St John’s.  There is one flight in and one flight out per day and the air craft is a smaller one. Flights are operated by S.A.Airlink. (refer to optional add on’s below).  There are also car rental facilities at the airport.

  • King Shaka international airport in Durban (K.S.I.A.) is approximately 6 hours drive from Port St John’s. Car rental facilities are available at the airport.

  • Charter flights can be arranged directly to the small Port St Johns air strip if you would prefer to fly rather than be driven or self drive.

  • Please bear in mind that all international flights arrive and depart through three airports in South Africa viz –  Cape Town International airport, King Shaka international in Durban and O R Tambo International airport in Johannesburg.  From there a domestic flight to Durban, Umtata, Margate or East London is required

PESTANA KRUGER LODGE 

Safari Resort & National Park
 

Pestana Kruger is a 4 star hotel, situated in South Africa just 70m from the Southern entrance to Kruger National Park and only 150m from Malelane Gate, one of the most important access point to the park. It is surrounded by marvelous gardens and offers a fantastic view of the Crocodile River, where hippos and several wildlife species can be seen. 

The hotel has many special facilities that includes two outdoor pools and one indoor pool, a restaurant and two bars and one SPA that offers a range of body treatments and a Turkish bath. 

The rooms have views over the river and gardens, decorated with African motifs. They all have balconies and internet Wi-Fi.

Tofo Mar Hotel 

Praia do Tofo, Moçambique

( Silver and Deluxe Accommodation )

Built in 1969 this is the oldest and only hotel in Tofo! It has been extensively re-furbished and re-opened in late 2013. This is a friendly, bright and airy, small boutique hotel, offering 13 rooms, and a conference centre that can accommodate 70 people. Located right on the beachfront, with the restaurant on the large deck overlooking the Indian Ocean. There is a fully licensed bar and restaurant and also a fantastic sushi bar. All the rooms are en-suite with air conditioning. The deluxe double and suites are bigger than the standard rooms. They have DSTV, a bath as well as a shower and private verandas with ocean view. The hotel is quite lively on Friday evenings, attracting non-guests as they host the best live music in town. 

For more information, tour prices, please contact us :

Adress Diversity Activity Centre:

PO Box 194, Inhambane Post Office

 

Phone Number:

+258 84 9682169

 

web site:

www.diversityscuba.com/activity-centre

 

Email:

activities@diversityscuba.com

 

 

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Praia do Tofo - Mozambique

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