Overview

Can you just not get enough diving? Do you want to spend all of your holiday with your head under the water? You want it all, the sharks, the dolphins and the incredible Sardine Run? Well look no further. This tour combines our amazing Sardine Run tour with the Shark Adventure of a lifetime. The epic Sardine Run takes place between June – July each year along the “Wild Coast” of South Africa. This spectacle is the largest marine migration on the planet and an uncontested bucket list item for any diver. Bait balls swirl through the water attracting predators from miles away. Sharks, whales, dolphins, marlin and others attack from below, Cape Gannets and Gulls attack from above…and in the middle…is you. As if that wasn’t enough, join the marine world’s APEX predators in their natural environment on the reefs of Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. No other species are as powerful and graceful as sharks, as they glide past you in the water. These amazing animals are inquisitive, not aggressive towards divers and spending time with them under water will be a cherished memory.

Pre & Post Tour Accommodation

Nomad can book accommodation before and after your tour.

Pre Tour Accommodation - Durban

From R940
  Airport Transfer Available Garden Court South Beach Hotel

Situated in the warm subtropical city of Durban, on the lush coastline of KwaZulu-Natal, Garden Court South Beach is the ideal home away from home for our travellers. The hotel lies within easy reach of Durban’s popular South Beach, and provides an ideal springboard from which to explore Durban and … Read More

Itinerary

Our tours come with an "Optional Activity Package".  You will need to purchase this package if you would like to partake in what we consider to be "essential activities" on our tours.  The Activity Package has been written into the itinerary of the tour so please keep this in mind as if you don't book the package, the activities won't be included.  We suggest that you prebook and prepay for your Activity Package to ensure availability.

Download Detailed Itinerary (pdf)

  Accommodated
Day 01

Durban to Margate

Please note that during the next few days (while we are visiting Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal), the order of activities could change without prior notice and a degree of flexibility is needed.  This is to allow for maximum dive opportunities and experiences based on conditions and weather. Please also note that should conditions prevent diving we will substitute an alternative activity. 

 Leaving the city of Durban behind us we make our way south along the dolphin coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal. About 2 hours north of Durban is the launch site for both Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks, home to some of the best Apex Predator shark diving. We arrive at the Dive House and settle in for our stay. This afternoon we will check all dive equipment, ensure the correct gear is allocated and have a dive briefing for the following days.

Day 02

Protea Banks Diving

Over the next three days we will have 5 dives on the Protea Banks Reef where we hope to see some of the worlds largest marine predators. During these three days you will also be offered a baited shark dive. Diving both North and South Pinnacles we will have the chance to collect Sand Tiger Shark teeth and explore caves, swim-throughs and tunnels. An optional Tiger and Bull Shark baited dive at Protea Banks will be offered during our stay. This dive takes place in open water, hanging in the blue whilst possible Tiger, Bull, Hammerhead and Oceanic Black-Tip sharks come in to investigate the scent trail around us. A full safety briefing and training session is included and this is a breathtaking experience.

Activity Package
Protea Banks baited dive
Day 03

Protea Banks Diving

Today we will enjoy 1 Dive on the Protea Banks Reef, allowing for us to have the afternoon at Leisure and be fully rested for our 2 x Dives tomorrow.

Day 04

Protea Banks Diving

Today we will have our last 2 dives on the Protea Banks Reef, with this being our last chance to possibly see some of the world’s largest marine predators.

Day 05

Aliwal Shoal

The following two days we spend diving the equally famous Aliwal Shoal. Renowned for Raggie Tooth Sharks congregating in their hundreds, dolphins and the baited shark dive. Each morning we will travel the hour from our Dive House in Margate to the launch site for Aliwal Shoal. Over the two days we will do 3 recreational dives on the Aliwal Shoal, including the famous “Raggie Cave”. The optional baited shark dive is well worth it, with Oceanic Black-Tip Sharks gathering in large numbers and possibly Tiger Sharks investigating the bait.

Activity Package
Aliwal Shoal Baited Dive
Day 06

Aliwal Shoal

Today will be our last diving day and also our last night in South Africa. Please make sure to make the most of your 1 Diving activity today as this will be the last chance to spot the Raggie Tooth Sharks.

Day 07

Durban

Durban has long been the favourite holiday destination for South Africans, the golden mile with its warm seas and safe swimming beaches attracts visitors throughout the year. This afternoon we have time to spend on the beaches of the golden mile.

Day 08

East London to Coffee Bay

Please note that during the next few days we will be subject to weather and ocean conditions and may not be able to launch each day. To account for this risk we have created this lengthy stay in Coffee Bay in order to ensure you have the best possible chance. Please also note that Nomad cannot guarantee Sardine Run action at any time and are only able to book tours in the best possible window to the best of our ability.

This morning we will be transferred to King Shaka International airport, boarding our flight to East London.  Upon arrival in East London, we will meet our crew.   Leaving the city of East London behind, we travel north along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape to the small town of Coffee Bay, our launch site for the famous Sardine Run. After settling into your hotel you will have the chance to explore this stunning area and visit the iconic “Hole In The Wall”. This evening you will have a full briefing on the operating of the Sardine Run adventure over the next few days.

Day 09

Sardine Run

The annual Great Sardine Run is a natural phenomenon that usually occurs during the months of June and July, when massive schools of sardines migrate from the colder waters around the Cape to the warmer waters of Kwa-Zulu Natal to give birth to their offspring. Once they’ve laid their eggs, they return to the Cape, closely followed by thousands of dolphins, birds, fish of prey, whales and sharks. The ocean awakes and the thrill is simply indescribable.

After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to Mapusi, the most spectacular, idyllic river mouth from where we launch our boat. On the banks of this river, divers get ready for the launch. The 4 x 4 drives the boat down into the river. Divers and the crew have to push the boat further until there is enough water under the keel and all rocks are cleared. Once it is safe, the skipper gets on the boat and starts the motors. When he has enough water under the keel, he calls all guests on. With speed the boat drives over the sandbank and into the waiting basin. Once all waves have passed, the skipper chooses the safest moment to launch out to sea.

In the meantime our plane has taken off and done a good fly over in search of animal activity. The skipper and the pilot are in constant radio contact whereby the boat gets directed to the best action on hand. Sardine Run Action consists not only of silver fish but more so of activities such as whales, dolphins, sharks and gannets. Wherever there is something happening the boat will go.

 

The highly experienced and skillful crew will approach anything interesting with great care and only when it is safe will the divers be allowed to enter the water. More often than not this will be done on mask and snorkel. There is a constant off-the-boat and on-the-boat which requires stamina and certain fitness. Obviously it is always the client’s choice if he wants to remain on the boat or jump into the water.

To make a long day out at sea as pleasant as possible we offer sandwiches, fresh fruit, chocolates, cookies, fruit juice and water on the boat.

Each day we will launch (weather permitting) and spend a full day out at sea to give you the best chance of action. We return by early to late afternoon each day when you will get a chance to rest, relax, hike the area and charge those all important cameras. Each evening we have a sumptuous buffet and bar for tales of the day just past.

Day 10

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 11

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 12

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 13

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 14

Coffee Bay to East London

Today we will retrace our steps from Coffee Bay back to the town of East London, where your tour comes to an end upon arrival at the East London airport.  Please ensure you book your flights for as late as possible in the afternoon.

Activity Package

Listed below are activities and highlights that form part of an "Optional Activity Package".  You will need to purchase this package if you would like to partake in what we consider to be "essential activities" on our tours.  The Activity Package has been written into the itinerary of the tour so please keep this in mind as if you don't book the package, the activities won't be included.  We suggest that you prebook and prepay for your Activity Package to ensure availability.

  • Protea Banks baited dive
  • Aliwal Shoal Baited Dive

Dates

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