Timm Blue Ocean Safaris presents the South African Sardine Run 2022


The Sardine Run is also known as “The greatest shoal on Earth” and in terms of biomass it is estimated that the Sardine Run could rival East Africa’s great wildebeest migration that takes place on the Masai Mara and Serengeti plains of Africa. It’s the largest marine migration on the planet and it is still not fully understood.

It is an Ocean Based Safari and the experience of a lifetime for snorkelers, divers and photographers alike.  It is a natural phenomenon and anything can happen on any given day. It is a totally wild and unpredictable real African event. If you are serious to experience the Sardine Run the best way is from a boat.
Aside from sardines there are 5 or 6 species of baitfish migrating at the same time. (Anchovies, sugar mackerel, redeye herring, East coast herring, Sauri & a few more) These attract predators in all shapes and sizes and this creates an incredible natural mayhem and action at a very fast moving pace. Some of the species have a tendency to “ball” as a defensive strategy, as sardines do, while others just scatter and create chaos.

You may see huge pods of dolphin and numerous species of sharks. At the same time we have the annual Humpback whale migration. They can be spotted daily moving north in small family groups or pairs. A huge variety of oceanic birdlife arrive in their thousands. This include the well-known Cape Gannet, Albatross, Petrels, Cormorants and Terns and all dive bomb the bait balls and schools of fish on the surface. 
Sardine Run 2021 Video
The annual Sardine run takes place on the Wild Coast or Pondoland coast of South Africa. The Wild coast has a breathtaking and dramatic coastline of cliffs, waterfalls and secluded beaches. Port St Johns is situated on the eastern seaboard of South Africa about 400km south of Durban. Port St Johns is renowned for its unparalleled natural beauty and a relaxed lifestyle. It perches alongside the massive Umzimvubu River which has carved its way through the ancient rocks leaving two 300 meter ramparts towering on either side.

On a typical day at sea these schools of fish are constantly on the move. Indicating that the predators are feeding on bait such as Sauri and halfbeak, which have a tendency to move fast, scatter and just generally create chaos. The only way to take advantage of this is to jump in, and watch the action pass by, jump back onto the boat and do it all over again.

There is often no time to don scuba and we then take advantage of it by jumping in on snorkel. This can go on for days and can be very tiring. But rest assured that each time you jump in, it can be your opportunity to see or photograph something phenomenal.

A stationary bait ball can last anything from a few minutes up to a few hours. These “balls” can appear at any time and this is what everyone looks and hopes for. This occurs when the common dolphin start feeding on baitfish such as Redeye herring, anchovy, and sugar mackerel which have a tendency to ball as a strategic defence.

The dolphins “herd” the ball and bring it to the surface using their speed and ability to blow bubbles whilst other predators such as sharks and sea birds attack from above and below.  This static bait ball allows you enough time to don scuba equipment and dive in with a front row seat to the most incredible marine action on Earth.

It is difficult to describe the excitement of the Common and Bottlenose dolphins that hunt the sardines. Cape Gannets, Albatross and other sea birds dive into the shoals from great heights. Humpback, Southern Right and Brydes Whales can also be seen in pursuit of this moving feast. Below the surface, the action continues with Copper, Dusky, Blacktip, Whitetip, Bronze Whaler and Zambezi sharks. 

The is a natural phenomenon that normally happens from the second week of June to the middle of July. Join us and experience the Sardine run with an open mind. It is one of the most amazing marine experiences in the world and all go away with special and lasting memories.  

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Sardine Run 2022 Dates - South Africa

Sardine run safaris start: 29 Jun 2022 ends: 19 Jul 2022