We are excited to have our in-house diving expert Simon Lorenz to lead the renowned Sardine Run (also called “The Greatest Shoal on Earth”) in South Africa. The Sardine Run is an adventure scuba diving and sea safari expedition which takes place off the Eastern Cape coast of South Africa, normally in June & July. This journey is operated by SEAL Expedition which has recently been included in the “Best Adventure Companies on Earth” list by National Geographic Magazine.

SEAL operates out of Mbotyi River Lodge, just north of Port St Johns and south of Waterfall Bluff which is the historical staging ground where the sardines mass before shooting up toward Port Edward and the South Coast. The area SEAL operates in is where Sardine Run diving tourism began and is still considered the No 1 location for this activity.

Scuba & Snorkel

This Sardine Run is for both adventure-minded traveller and for snorkel

  • Scuba option for the scuba divers
  • Snorkel option for absolutely everyone else

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Area of Operation:

Coffee Bay – Port Edward, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Our Sardine Run range of operation spans the area north and south of Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa – dependant on the animal activity.

9 days (8 nights, 7 days on the water and general touring)
For recreational scuba divers, a 7 water-day Sardine Run expedition will offer the best possibility of success. This time period will allow for bad weather scenarios and variable degrees of marine activity.

Expedition Dates:
July 07 – July 15

Boat Size:
8 divers + 2 SEAL staff per boat (unless otherwise stipulated – licensed for 12 pax).
SEAL runs several 8 metre twin-engine dive boats – each fitted to accommodate 12 divers. We typically limit
the number to 8 divers per boat + 2 SEAL staff, for everyone’s comfort.

Mbotyi River Lodge is our aaccommodation partner and base for our Sardine Run scuba diving expeditions. Of the several accommodation options available for Sardine Runners. Mbotyi is by far the most luxurious and the best situated being just south of the infamous Waterfall Bluff (where the sardines mass before running up the coast) and being surrounded by the spectacular Mbotyi hills and the magnificent Magwa Tea Plantation with close proximity to Fraser Falls and Magwa Falls – 2 of the finest African sundowner experiences imaginable!


Weather & Conditions June/ July are winter months on the Wild Coast and wet weather is possible (though not always the case). 

Temperatures (Air) : 59 – 75 F/ 15 – 24 C

Temperatures (Water) : 59 – 70 F/ 15 – 21 C

Conditions will vary from glass-like seas to flying through giant rollers in pumping winds – very exciting and sometimes strenuous. Safety is always the priority when on the water and the SEAL skipper will navigate accordingly.

Visibility – Varies from 2 – 20m/ 6 ft – 60ft. As a safety precaution, we generally don’t enter the water in less than 15ft of visibility.


Expedition Includes :

Guide – Dedicated full-time SEAL guide

Diving – 7 days on the water or alternate activity as determined by conditions

Meals – Full or packed breakfast as determined by launch time, light lunch and refreshments on boat, 3 course dinner

Air Support – Dedicated SEAL Microlight spotter aircraft to call us onto the action

Guest Flight – Each guest will get to fly in the SEAL microlight and see the Wild Coast from the air (weather dependant)

Equipment – Airfills, cylinders, weightbelts

*All Transfers – see detail below

**Alternate Activities – see list below


Expedition Excludes

Dive travel insurance – required (DAN recommended)

Dive Equipment – BCD, regulator, mask, fins, snorkel

Alcohol and Soft-drinks – For guest account

Porterage – Excess baggage penalties and transportation

Gratuities – At guest discretion


Guests are requested to arrive in Durban International Airport (KSIA) by no later than 12h00 on Day 1 of the trip for their SEAL welcome and transfer down to Mbotyi. Guests arriving from long-haul origination points should consider arrival the day before if possible, in order to
give 24 hours to acclimatize to the time zone change etc. In this case transfer pickup will be arranged with the guest at their hotel on Day 1 of their trip. Please enquire for recommended accommodation providers in Durban. Guests are also requested not to schedule departure flights ex Durban (KSIA) earlier than 15h00 on Day 9 of their trip (departure day).

**Alternate Activities
The following activities are substituted when and if we are unable to launch. Most of these activities are done as a matter of course over and above the diving, even when we launch every day.
– Microlight Flight – Each guest will get to fly in the SEAL microlight and see the Wild Coast from the air (weather dependant)
– Sundowners – cocktails overlooking the magnificent Magwa Falls, Fraser Falls and Shark’s Point off Mbotyi
– Magnificent Trails – Some of the most beautiful countryside in South Africa also hosts some of the highest waterfalls where fresh water tumbles 400 ft into the sea
– Cultural Experience – Visit with the local traditional healer and see an authentic rural African village
– Horse Riding – Ride the trails along Waterfall Bluff, 400 ft above the sea
– Horse riding, cultural tours, guided walks and witchdoctor visit for guest own account


Photo Credit : SEAL Expedition (https://www.facebook.com/sealexpeditions/)

Full Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive at Durban International Airport (KSIA) prior to 12h00 – met by SEAL Team member and transferred to our dive location in the Eastern Cape. Orientation.

Accommodation: Mbotyi River Lodge

Day 2-8

06h45 Continental Breakfast (packed breakfast supplied for occasional 06h30 launches)
07h00 Microlight launches and begins recon
07h30 SEAL Teams launch
11h00 Light lunch and refreshments available onboard throughout the day
13h30 Approximate time back on-shore – dependent on action and weather conditions
16h00 Afternoon activity (optional) – microlight flight, horse riding, sundown cocktails, trailhikes, witchdoctor visit, cultural village tour (2 Surprise Activities !!)
19h00 3 course dinner, next day activity planning and good times

Accommodation: Mbotyi River Lodge

Day 9

08h00 Transfer back to Durban International Airport (KSIA)

Accommodation: Mbotyi River Lodge