About Us
DWS Newsletter
Online Bookings
Contact Us
Click here for info on the 2015 Sardine Run Trip


Diving With Sharks

Sardine Run 2015

Trip Overview
20th June - 25th July 2015

Offshore Afica Port St Johns


We offer a “home base knowledge” package for the Sardine Run from 20th June - 25th July 2015.

Should the action continue we will extend our dates beyond 26th July 2015.

With our base here all year round, we are ideally located to offer you a superb, fun filled trip, coupled with a highly experienced sardine run specialist team of skipper and dive guide.

We offer a boat based adventure for everyone, whether a diver or non diver. All nature lovers, bird watchers, photography enthusiasts, dolphin and whale enthusiasts, snorkellers and scuba divers will thoroughly enjoy this incredible event of nature, which has been likened to the land based “Wildebeest migration of the Serengeti” and the marine equivalent of this has since been called “The Greatest shoal on earth”.

Please take a look at our sardine run trip info and join us for an experience of a lifetime in the most beautiful and scenic place of Port St John’s, Wild Coast, Transkei, the gateway to the sardine run.

2015 Trip Information

5 Days / 6 Nights Package Details

Trip Dates

20 June – 26 June

Book now!
  21 June – 27 June Book now!
  22 June – 28 June Book now!
  23 June – 29 June Book now!
  24 June – 30 June Book now!

25 June – 1 July

Book now!
  26 June – 2 July Book now!
  27 June – 3 July Book now!
  28 June – 4 July Book now!
  29 June – 5 July Book now!

30 June – 6 July

Book now!
  1 July – 7 July Book now!
  2 July– 8 July Book now!
  3 July – 9 July Book now!
  4 July – 10 July Book now!

5 July – 11 July

Book now!
  6 July – 12 July Book now!
  7 July– 13 July Book now!
  8 July – 14 July Book now!
  9 July – 15 July Book now!

10 July – 16 July

Book now!
  11 July – 17 July Book now!
  12 July– 18 July Book now!
  13 July – 19 July Book now!
  14 July – 20 July Book now!

15 July – 21 July

Book now!
  16 July – 22 July Book now!
  17 July– 23 July Book now!
  18 July – 24 July Book now!
  19 July – 25 July Book now!
Additional package dates for your convenience
Trip Dates

20 June – 26 June

Book now!
  27 June – 3 July Book now!
  4 July – 10 July Book now!
  11 July – 17 July Book now!
  18 July – 24 July Book now!

Trip Duration 5 Days – 6 Nights
Trip Cost Zar 20 350.00 Single supplement rate.
  Zar 18 500.00 Per person sharing.

Please note:

We are happy to organize any tailor made package for you, whether you are simply unable to fit into our set trip dates or if you wish to extend your sardine run experience with a longer stay.

Our package rate includes accommodation based on a medium / 2 -3 star, bed & breakfast type accommodation facility.

We are also in a position to offer you a daily boat rate in the event that you are seeking more flexibility, or if you would prefer to organize your own accommodation. Kindly contact us for further information.

What is INCLUDED ...

  • 5 full days of boat based viewing / diving / snorkelling the sardine run
  • 6 night’s accommodation on a bed & breakfast rate, normally at Port St John’s River Lodge www.portstjohnsriverlodge.co.za
  • On board boat refreshments – our boat refreshments have been voted to be the best and most comprehensive by all crew and clients and our food is home-made
  • Cylinder & air fills
  • Weight belt & weights
  • Diver permits
  • Highly qualified team of skipper & in water guide / boat guide

What is EXCLUDED ...

  • Transfers to and from Port St John’s.  (We can arrange this on your behalf if required.  Kindly contact us for details, costs and  a variety of pick-up destination options)
  • Lunch (if required)
  • Dinner
  • Equipment rental of BCD, Regulator, wetsuit, fins, mask & snorkel.  We have a full range available should you require equipment.  Kindly notify us up front to secure your equipment needs.
  • Additional land based activities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Beverages
  • Gratuities
  • Taxes / flights
  • Passport / visas
  • Personal insurance
Sardine Run
Sardine Run
Sardine Run
Sardine Run

Detailed information index

0 Booking information click to read ...
1 Accommodation options click to read ...
2 Sardine run information click to read ...
3 What you could see on the sardine run click to read ...
4 Minimum dive qualification click to read ...
5 A typical day on the sardine run click to read ...
6 About the boats click to read ...
7 About the crew click to read ...
8 What to bring on the boat each day click to read ...
9 Important to note click to read ...
10 Weather and sea conditions click to read ...
11 Note for Scuba Divers click to read ...
12 Airport transfers for international flights click to read ...
13 Insurance click to read ...


0 Booking information | view index |

A booking is not confirmed or accepted unless a 20% non refundable deposit has been paid. Please note that accommodation in the area is limited and as the sardine run is peak season for the area, early booking confirmation will confirm your space. Full payment must be received 6 weeks prior to arrival.


1 Accommodation Options | view index |

As we have a permanent base at Port St John’s, we make use of a variety of accommodation establishments in town, which will cater to most needs.

Our package rate is based on a medium / 2 -3 star, bed & breakfast type accommodation facility.

Please feel free, however, to ask us for suggestions / recommendations if you wish to organize your own accommodation on selecting the daily boat rate.

If you are booking a sardine run package, we will make suggestions re accommodation

Please note that accommodation fills up rapidly during the sardine run period and accommodation choice will be severely limited for late bookings. Kindly check our list of options below.

• Claude’s Rest – (www.claudesrest.co.za)
• Cremorne Estate – (www.cremorne.co.za)
• Ferry Point Resort – (www.ferrypointresort.co.za)
• Gecko’s Place – (www.geckosplace.co.za) – self catering
• Intaba River Lodge – (www.intabanriverlodge.co.za)
• Keysers Cottage – (www.agateterrace.co.za) – self catering
• King Fisher cottages – (www.kingfishercottages.co.za) – self catering
• Outspan Inn – (www.outspaninn.co.za)
• Port St John’s River lodge – (www.portstjohnsriverlodge.co.za)
• Sea Castle guest house – (www.scguesthouse.co.za) – self catering
• Sunlof – (www.sunlof.co.za)

• The Spotted Grunter – (www.spottedgrunter.co.za)
• The Jetty River Lodge (www.thejetty.co.za) – self catering
• The Lodge – (www.wildcoaster.co.za)
• The Pont – (www.thepont.co.za) – self catering
• Umngazi River Bungalows – (www.umngazi.co.za)
• Umzimvubu Retreat – (www.umzimvuburetreat.co.za)
• Jungle Monkey Backpackers-( www.junglemonkey.co.za)
• Amapondo Backpackers-(www.amapondo.co.za)
• Madhatters Backpackers-( www.madhattersbackpackers.com)

If you are selecting your own accommodation and require a more budget orientated option, kindly contact us for further suggestions and recommendations as there are various back packer establishments in town.


2 Sardine run information | view index |

The Sardine run is an ocean related experience. Bearing in mind that the ocean realm is susceptible to weather conditions on a day to day basis and that we are dealing with nature, for those wishing to scuba dive or snorkel with the action, we highly recommend a 6 night package stay

This allows for bad weather scenarios and variable degrees of marine activity.


3 What you could see on the sardine run | view index |

Sardines : A 10 – 20 cm up to 30cm silver fish, bluish colour on top. Distinguishable by the row of 10 – 15 black spots on the flanks. These fish form vast shoals off the Agulhas Banks.

Predator (inter alia)

Sharks :
  • Copper sharks - carcharhinus brachyurus
  • Spotted ragged tooth shark – Carcharias Taurus
  • Black tip sharks – Carcharhinus limbatus
  • Dusky sharks – Carcharhinus obscurus
  • Tiger sharks – Galeocerdo cuvier
Cetaceans :
  • Common dolphins
  • Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins
  • Killer whale
  • Bryde’s whale
  • Occasional pygmy killer whale
Pinnipeds :
  • Cape fur seals
Birds :
  • Cape Gannet
  • Petrels & Shearwaters
  • Blackbrowed Albatross
  • African penguin


4 Minimum dive qualifications | view index |

Recreational scuba divers are to have a recommended minimum certification level of advanced diver and be able to sustain the level of fitness required on the sardine run. An Open Water diver qualification linked to sufficient experience in the ocean realm will be accepted upon discussion with us. It must be understood that the sardine run is a high risk and fast action event, resulting in this trip being rated as “strenuous” and it is often done in limited visibility diving. It is aimed at the adventure seeker.

Sharks are often encountered under water and intense and fast moving action is the order of the day when sardines meet their predators.

5 A typical day on the sardine run | view index |

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 is action dependant.

Each morning, the boat will head out from the Umzimvubu River, Port St John’s, and after a typical and highly exciting African surf launch, crew will start looking for all types of action, from whales, dolphins and ocean bird action to the little silver sardine type action. Sardine activity is usually sighted from large flocks of cape gannet sightings or by the more trusted large pods of common dolphin activity. Our communication network with others is vast and we are also in communication with Natal Sharks Board members that conduct regular aerial flights. Our knowledge of “hiding” places also comes into play here and all avenues are explored to find action for you.

Once the sardines are located, our experienced crew will determine whether the bait ball 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 will be experienced by snorkellers, 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 her.


6 About the boats | view index |

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 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.


7 About the crew | view index |

Highly experienced sardine run skippers and dive guides are on board all of our vessels to ensure your safety and make your trip as informative as possible whilst on the sardine run.


8 What to bring on the boat each day | view index |
  • Sun protection i.e. hat, sunglasses& sun block
  • Waterproof jacket - each boat is equipped with PVC marine type jackets with hoods
  • 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)

9 Important to note | view index |

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 is safe to enjoy, as a passenger, by most, however there is certain effort required by everyone on board.

As a snorkeller or diver, the 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.


10 Weather and sea conditions | view index |

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.

11 Notes for scuba divers | view index |

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 should bring their own Wetsuit, mask and snorkel, fins, BCD and regulators. A full range of equipment is available for rental, however this must be booked in advance and upon booking.

Cylinders + weight belts to be supplied on arrival.

A full range of equipment is available for rental; however this must be booked in advance and upon booking. 

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.

12 Airport transfers for international flights | view index |

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 or East London is required.

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.

For ease of planning, King Shaka international airport in Durban (K.S.I.A.) is approximately 6 hours drive from Port St John’s.

Umtata airport, as a domestic connection via SA Air link (UTT code) is approximately a 1 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.

East London airport, as a domestic connection, is approximately 4 hours drive to Port St John’s.

13 Airport transfers for international flights | view index |

Travel insurance is highly recommended for all guests and should be organized in their country of origin.