The Great Migration – The Sardine Run

When the Great Migration is mentioned most people envisage the endless herds of Wildebeest migrating across the Maasai Mara, however, there is an equally impressive migration that takes places off the coast of South Africa. During May to July the Aghula’s current pushes a tight band of cold water close to the shore of the Kwazulu-Natal forcing huge numbers of temperature dependant sardines in to dense shoals. The numbers of the fish are truly spectacular with 15 km long, 3 km wide and 40 m deep shoals recorded. With such a mass presence of prey species it is unsurprising that the giant shoals are followed every leg of their journey by one of the planets greatest concentrations of predators, with Dolphins, Sharks, Seals, Seabirds and Gamefish, all numbering in their thousands. The area is also home to a resident population of Bryde’s Whale and there is a good chance of seeing these impressive cetaceans. With boat trips, snorkelling and diving there are many great options to enjoy Africa’s other Great Migration.

Why we love this trip

  • One of the greatest concentrations of predators on earth.
  • ‘Bait balls’ attract all forms of marine life and it’s common to see an array of species feeding together.
  • Perfect for birdwatchers, snorkelers and divers.
  • Numerous ways to enjoy this great event both above and below the surface.
  • The Sardine Run is still relatively unexplored, especially when compared to the Wildebeest migration.
  • Plenty of opportunities to take aquatic action shots with predators constantly on the move.
  • Ideal trip to add an extension to explore terrestrial South Africa.


Kwazulu-Natal & Eastern Cape, South Africa


7-days between May to July (please note that the sardine run is highly dependable on unpredictable current conditions).

What to look for

Pacific Pilchard, Long-beaked Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Ragged-tooth Shark, Copper Shark, Cape Fur Seal, Bryde’s Whale, Cape Gannet, Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Leerfish and much more.

Please contact us for further details.

Reference: TOC-TSR1, Supplement Codes: AT or CH