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Sardine Run

With a stroke of luck, you could get to watch the Sardine Run when cage diving in Cape Town. In South Africa, millions of sardines gather on the Agulhas Bank at the beginning of winter.

It is extremely difficult to predict the exact time though, and the tracking of shoals is even harder. Professional divers spend hours at sea with often little or no success. It is for this reason we do not offer special diving trips in the Cape Town area for the sardine run. The diving area of Durban is much better suited to this due to more favourable underwater conditions. With us however, you have the opportunity to go cage diving and perhaps experience the shoals underwater, or even book a long dive trip to Coffee Bay.

Our diving offer - Sardine Run dive trip - Coffee Bay - Scuba diving
Our dive safaris at a glance:
- 5 nights in the Ocean View Hotel with half board
- 4 day dive safaris including tanks
- On-board catering: water, fruit juices, biscuits, chocolate and sandwiches
- Total price: from ZAR 25,900 - extension day: from ZAR 5,800
Particulars and conditions:
- Divers must hold an AOWD diving license and be able to prove a minimum of 25 dives
- You will need to see to your own flights and transport to Coffee Bay
- Travel time to Coffee Bay is approximately 14 hours by car - about 1259 km from Cape Town

Sardine Run - Cape Town shark diving in South Africa

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The cold Benguela current brings nutritious plankton from Antarctica which is the main reason for the large gathering of the sardines. This narrow current forces the warm Agulhas current northwards.

The giant shoal follows the plankton all the way up to Durban. The coastal city of Durban lies approximately 1300 km from Cape Town.

Should one wish to witness these sardines in the Cape Town area, Hout Bay is the place to be. Large shoals of sardines become disoriented and lose their way in this bay. They can be seen from the beaches as well as in the harbour area. A trip to the nearby seal island ‘Duiker Island’ is well worth the effort, as one can observe seals hunting for fish directly from the boat. 

Another form of marine observation which can be undertaken is shark diving in Gansbaai. We offer daily shark trips to see the Great White shark up close and personal.

With a lot of luck you will be able to witness sardine shoals of up to 400m2 in size which form on the Agulhas bank. Cape Agulhas is the southernmost tip of South Africa and lies 223 km from Cape Town where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet.

The fish shoal has a length of 20 km, is approximately 3 km wide and reaches a depth of 50 meters. This means a feeding frenzy for the great white sharks and especially their young.
 
Not only Great Whites, however, are waiting for the clouds of sardines, but other marine and land animals as well. In anticipation of abundant food, various species of whale (grey whales, minke whales, orcas, and humpback whales) are present.

Other predators such as sailfish or marlin, many seals and birds of prey also take part in the feast. The Cape Gannet is one of the largest birds of prey. During this time, more than one hundred thousand Cape Gannets are in the Overberg region.

A real sight worth seeing is when dolphins join in on the action. They attack the shoals of fish in groups and attempt to drive thousands of sardines off from the main shoal. More than 20 000 dolphins live along this coastline.

Should you be interested in shark cage diving, please do not hesitate to contact us. With a little bit of luck on your side you will also be able to do whale watching during South Africa’s winter months. 

Your Cape Town Shark Tours Team
 

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