This year I have added to the excitement of the annual Sardine Run by including dives on the Aliwal Shoal & a dive with one of Africa’s apex predators, the Tiger Shark.  This is a fantastic holiday for those who love the sea, sharks and wildlife. Absolutely African Tours & Safaris is the only company that can give you this amazing holiday with staff that are qualified tour guides, have insured/registered vehicles and boats and who are members of SATSA’s Bonded Scheme.


Day 1

You will be met by your host and transfer from Durban International Airport or Durban city to the south coast. Our destination is Scottburgh/Umkomaas where you will find the great diving destination – Aliwal Shoal.  At this time of the year, the Raggedtooth Shark uses the Aliwal Shoal as their breeding ground that makes for fantastic recreational diving.  Tiger Sharks and Black Tip Sharks are also around at this time of the year!!
Check into your guesthouse, sort out your dive gear for tomorrow & relax. 

(B&B basis only)  Dinner is for your own account

Day 2

TAfter breakfast we depart of the dive shop and launch site.  Arrive, arrange your dive gear, kit up, briefing by your Dive Master and then it’s out to sea we go.  You will enjoy two dives on the Aliwal Shoal and surrounding Reefs.  The depths on the Aliwal Shoal range from 6m to 30m.  Drift diving is common here as we do get fairly strong currents at times.  Water temperature should be between 19 – 12 degrees.  You will be able to hire all your dive gear if you don’t want to bring gear with you.  Cylinders and weights are included in your package.
The afternoon is yours to relax.  Overnight Scottburgh/Umkomaas. 
(B&B basis only)

Day 3

Today you will be taken out for a dive with one of Africa’s apex predators, The African Tiger Shark.  This is a great dive that will bring you up-close to these amazing Tiger Sharks, as well as Black Tip Sharks.
This is a specific dive for sharks and is a drift dive.  A baited system, similar to that used in the Cape for Great White Sharks is used. 
Should you not wish to do this dive, which is not for the novice diver, you will be able to do another dive on Aliwal Shoal.
Afternoon at leisure or the option to visit uShaka Marine World.(optional extra)
Overnight Scottburgh/Umkomaas. 
(B&B basis only)

Day 4

After a leisurely breakfast, we depart for the Transkei area of the Eastern Cape.  This 3½-hour drive will take you through the homeland of the former Transkei, enabling you to see the rural areas first hand.  Your destination will be either Port St.John’s or Mbotyi, depending on the activity out at sea and other factors.  Both areas are lovely and have their own charm.  Umzimvubu Retreat in Port St.John’s is situated right near the river mouth with stunning views of the river and sea.  The food at Umzimvubu is excellent and the rooms are comfortable, most with great views. All rooms have TVs and are en suite.  Mbotyi River Lodge is also has a lovely setting – wooden chalets overlooking the estuary or the sea – the main lodge is equipped with bar, games room, lounge and kiddies area.
Please note that is does get VERY cold, especially in the mornings and evening, so please make sure you bring warm clothes and a waterproof jacket.  Before dinner you will be informed of the next few days events and procedures.

Days 5-9

The best part of the next five days will be spent out at sea. After breakfast (approx. 7H30), the mircrolight (if available) takes off in search of tell tail signs of the sardines while we prepare to launch for a day at sea – a beach surf launch, your first taste of things to come.  Our days are spent in search of the sardine migration and the food chain that follows this, the GREATEST SHOAL ON EARTH. The main shoal can get up to 12km long and 1km wide but along the way, smaller “pockets” breakaway for this main shoal creating ciaos in these waters.  Here predator and prey fight for survival and you will, hopefully, witness this amazing annual, natural phenomenon as it snakes up the coast towards Durban. We spend most of the day on the move, keeping up with this moving smorgasbord of marine animals.      
Due to the nature of the run, when we do come across action, the skipper will decide whether you should snorkel dive or scuba dive with this activity.  Most of the diving is short – 10 minutes or so because everything is continuously moving, so don’t expect a dive to the ocean floor, as you would a normal scuba dive – it’s far too deep and most of the activity takes place at about 10m or on the surface. To find the activity we watch for diving sea birds and moving pods of dolphins. These pods are usually in excess of 3000 common dolphins, sometimes more.   Humpback Whales, Southern Right Whales, Minky Whales, Orcas and other have been spotted during the sardine migration, sharks, the odd seal and over 8 species of sea birds.        
These days at sea will be full of adventure & surprise - it’s the nature of the sardine run. Make sure you have your cameras/video cameras, snorkeling gear and binoculars with you at all times!! Snacks and refreshments will be taken out on the boat to keep you going. We will return to shore at approximately 14H30 everyday, depending on the sea conditions and activity. Afternoons will be yours to explore the area & relax. Dinner and briefing for the next day.
DB&B only
NB- This is an event that can be enjoyed by the whole family, so bring your wife & kids and come and experience the SARDINE RUN in 2008.
(Kids under 10 will only be allowed to go out to sea at the skippers’ discretion – this is for safety reasons only)   


Day 10

After breakfast we pack up and head back up the coast into KwaZulu-Natal for the start of your safari.  You will overnight at a 4 star guest lodge on the South Coast.  B&B only.

Day 11

Depart the south coast and travel north into Zululand, the heart of Natal’s safari country.  Stop at St.Lucia for a 1½-hour boat cruise on the St.Lucia Estuary.  This will bring you up-close to hippos, crocodiles, as well as giving you the opportunity to see a variety of water birds and other animals that have made this World Heritage Site their home.  After the cruise continue our journey north to the town of Hluhluwe and Phinda Private Game Reserve.  You will arrive in time for a lat lunch and your first afternoon game drive, in open safari vehicles.  This luxury Lodge, with its great cuisine and excellent game viewing will be your home for the next 2 days. 
All meals, tea/cakes, 2 game drives a day, walks & all local brand drinks are included in your stay.  Dinner will be served at the Lodge, after your evening game drive.

Day 12

Today will start off really early with your morning game drive before breakfast.  On returning to the Lodge you will have the opportunity to take a walk in the African bush, with your professional ranger.  The rest of the day is yours to relax, either in the comfort of your chalet or by the pool.  Lunch and afternoon tea will be served before your afternoon game drive.  Dinner.
(Full board, dawn & dusk game drives, all local brand drinks, laundry)

Day 13

After you last game drive and breakfast, you will depart for Durban International Airport or you can fly directly from Phinda to Johannesburg for you international flight home. (Ask for cost when booking)
Please ensure that your return flight is for the late afternoon/evening

End of Service.


Water temperatures are usually between 19 – 21 degrees Celsius at this time of the year. A 5mm wetsuit should be fine.  Air temperatures drop when the sun goes down, so come prepared for an African winter – air temperatures can go down to 10 degrees at night and day time temperatures can reach 25 degrees.  You will need warm jackets & longs in the evenings & mornings but should be in short at lunchtime.  A good waterproof jacket for the boat is essential. Don’t forget your swimming costumes & swimming towels, as well as warm clothes. Bring sun block just in case.
You will NOT be visiting MALARIA areas, so there is NO need to take any precautions for malaria.


  • 2 Nights at Phinda Private Game Reserve – a luxury safari Lodge. - Phinda Mountain or Forest Lodge.
  • All meals, tea/cakes daily, all local brand drinks including house wines & beers, dawn & dusk game drives, guided walks and laundry while at Phinda.
  • Boat cruise on the St.Lucia Estuary
  • 4 Nights at a guesthouse in the Scottburgh area. B&B
  • 2 Dives on the Aliwal Shoal
  • 1 Tiger Shark Dive
  • 6 Nights accommodation in Port St.John’s or Mbotyi – en suite
  • Breakfast & dinners daily
  • 5 Days at sea snorkelling/photographing whales, dolphins, sharks, sea birds and much more.      
  • Transport from Durban to Phinda Game Reserve, the Wild Coast, return, in air-conditioned vehicles, with registered guide         
  • Hire of tanks & weights        
  • Staff with years of experience in this field.
  • Professional, qualified, experienced skippers & the best boats    


9 - 21 June
16 – 28 June


12 – 18 June – Sardine Run Only
19 – 25June – Sardine Run Only



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