The Greatest Shoal on Earth

News / 22 June 2022

Spotlight on the South Coast: The greatest shoal on Earth

If you're longing to dip your toes in the ocean during your next holiday, make sure it's on a beach along the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

It's one of the few places you can don your slops and flop down in the sun during the height of winter. However, the main highlight here (sometime from June) is the imminent start of the Sardine Run.

Although these tasty little fish have been ducking and diving for many years, there's always a chance you'll witness their arrival, which coincides with the glorious sight of aloes in full bloom.

Catch those sards!

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 coast, following a narrow band of cool water. Dubbed 'The Greatest Shoal on Earth', these little fish make for a marvelous braai snack (should you be able to catch them!).

There she blows!

The winter months also herald the arrival of humpback whales migrating down the coastline from Mozambique. Although unrelated to the Run, whale, porpoise, and dolphin encounters should provide more than enough entertainment while you wait for the sardine action to kick off.

The Blue Marlin Hotel

Since the shark nets are removed from most beaches during the Run, the pool at the iconic Blue Marlin Hotel is a safer option for water babies. Based at Scottburgh beach (just an hour's drive from Durbs), there's no better place to hang up the car keys, don your sunnies, and dabble in a few cocktails.

Family fun in the sun

During the school holidays, the entertainment schedule along the South Coast is always jam-packed, with something on the go at most main beaches for the little ones to enjoy. Great news for moms and dads looking to catch a break this winter! Don't forget the bucket and spade...

South Coast Sightseeing

One thing the South Coast has no shortage of, is quirky craft studios and padstals Love bananas? Pay a visit to Mac Banana in Port Edward, where you can tuck into delicious homemade banana bread and milkshakes. Love crocs? Head to the Crocworld Conservation Centre in Scottburgh.

Interested in experiencing the 2022 Sardine Run? Here are a few tips for visitors making their way to the South Coast:

  • Book your accommodation in advance as more sardine sighting reports flock in. Many fishing enthusiasts from across the country flock to the KwaZulu Natal coastline around this time.
  • If you want to experience some scuba diving, be sure to book this in advance too through a reputable dive centre with experienced PADI instructors.
  • The Run is a natural phenomenon relying on a complex interrelation of currents, water temperature, and weather, making it hard to predict. As a general rule of thumb, the action moves from up from the coast from roughly June onwards.
  • Bathers must be cautious as shark nets are typically removed from most beaches, and swimming is prohibited. Enter at your own risk!


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