All of a “Sardine”, the shoals have reached KZN

2 min read

The 2019 Sardine Run has finally reached the shores of KwaZulu Natal, that is the words of Greg Thomspon, acting head of operations at the KZN Sharks Board.

“There’s been quite a lot of action in the Amanzimtoti area this weekend with confirmed sardine netting between Toti main beach and Pipeline beach,” Thompson said. He also adds that there has been at least 1500 crates filled.

If you’re ready to witness this exciting phenomenon dubbed ‘The Greatest Shoal on Earth’, it looks like these unpredictable little fish have finally made their grand appearance,” says Philip Schalkwyk, General Manager of the Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh, which is part of the Dream Hotels and Resorts family.

“Swimming at some eThekwini beaches has been banned for a few days, with shark safety gear lifted to make way for the run. Nets have also been removed between Ansteys beach on the Bluff, and Umgababa, just 15 minutes’ drive from us here at the Blue Marlin,” he says.

Although nets have been lifted, Schalkwyk also confirms that there are still bathers in the water and enjoying the local beaches as per usual.

As a long-time spectator of the Sardine Run, Schalkwyk explains that the KZN South Coast, has long been best for viewing all the action as well as catching the silvery fish from the shores.

The bulk of South Africa’s sardine stock is found in the cooler Cape waters, but each winter a small proportion moves eastwards up the Wild Coast. These shoals take advantage of a narrow band of cool water that occurs seasonally between the coast and the warm, southward-flowing Agulhas Current.

“The anticipation continues to build each year typically around the start of July when batches of sardines pass up the South Coast and the bird, shark and whale action reaches its pinnacle,” he adds.

“The Blue Marlin Hotel’s garden is an ideal lookout point once the fish make their long-awaited appearance, while the hotel’s on-site dive centre offers a number of diving excursions during this period taking both local and international guests to the heart of the action at Aliwal Shoal.”

Last year, the Sardine Run lasted throughout the holiday season, giving everyone from Port Edward to Scottburgh a chance to enjoy the excitement, and if you would like to experience the 2019 Sardine Run, Schalkwyk offers a few tips:

● Keep up to date with the latest reports by checking the Natal Sharks Board official website and Facebook page.

● If you’re looking to do some diving, be sure to book in advance through a reputable dive centre with experienced PADI instructors. 

● The winter months also mark the arrival of humpback whales. Although unrelated to the run, the whale and dolphin encounters should provide ample distraction while you wait for more sardine shoals to arrive.

● Bathers need to be cautious as shark nets are typically removed from most beaches, and swimming is often prohibited on most beaches during this time.