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Sardine run 

1/4 TO 13/4/2020

the ultimate



Join us to the biggest spectacle of the underwater world. See and swim with dolphins, seals, sharks and whales while they gorge themselves on massive shoals of Sardines. See cape gannets dive bombing on the shoals and have a chance to see the elusive orcas! It is the biggest migration of animals in the Southern Hemisphere.


South Africa host home to one of the most spectacular bucket list items in the world - the Sardine run. When millions of Sardines travel up the coast to spawn, thousands of predators follow. We will see thousands of dolphins, various whales like humpback or brydes as well as seals, and of course sharks.

It is not easy to find a bait ball, we will be at sea the entire day looking for signs of the cape gannets, who dive down on good sardine action. Whenever we can we roll in on the sardine feast and snorkel amongst the spectacle. If we are lucky enough to encounter a bait ball that does not move, we will get our gear on and scuba it.


This is something for snorkelers and divers who are ready to invest to see the most extreme of nature. The water is cold and the ride is rough. The rewards can be phenomenal.​


This trip is hosted by Aaron Gekoski award-winning environmental photojournalist, film-maker and TV presenter, specialising in human-animal interactions. "Bertie" has spent years documenting wildlife above and below the water. He lived for several years in South Africa and Mozambique and knows the area well.

Check out his amazing work.


After two seasons in Port Saint Johns we are going to try something different. We will be joining the run earlier and further South, around Port Elizabeth with a host of advantages. Here are the reasons.

Its Summer

​The Sardine Run starts here already in March as the animals arrive on this coast first. Being closer to summer the days are longer, the water is calmer and most importantly - warmer!

Local Experts

​Rainer Schimpf and his team have an amazing track record for getting close to wildlife (esp Whales and Orcas). We will benefit form their expertise tremendously as Rainer will be leading our trips most days.

Scuba Diving

​Sardine Run itself is mostly snorkeling. Here in Port Elizabeth with have dive sites with resident Raggged Tooth Sharks, giving us guaranteed Sharks experience. We will scuba dive at least two days.

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More Whales

Brydes whales live here all-year around so the chances are much higher to get close to feeding Brydes Whales. Aside from the humpbacks of course.

More Sharks

​Because we can dive on this itinerary, we will see lots of local sharks. But, as a special for Insider Divers we will also look for Blue and Mako Sharks far offshore.

Big 5 Safari

​Here we are in close proximity to some of the best Safari grounds of South Africas Coast. One two days we will explore the parks such as the world famous Addo Park. You will see all Big 5 up close - and more!

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Meet the super stars

Check out the amazing animal interactions that have come out of Expert Tours over last few years.

Gannets & Dolphins

The main actors in the Sardine Run are the dolphins and the cape gannets. The Sardines come in super-pods of up 5000 animals and chase and coral the sardines. The gannets dive-bomb on the created Sardine Balls and can be spotted from afar. Throughout the day we will be looking for signs of gannets amassing - that is where the action will be.


One big advantage of doing the run here in Port Elisabeth is the all-year presence of Brydes Whales. Also, the humpbacks arrive earlier here than further north up the coast.

If you saw the news - our guide Rainer Schimpf (CEO of Expert Tours) ended up in the mouth a Brydes Whale this year!!

Check it out


Owner of our operator Rainer Schimpf featured on Discovery Channel proving for the first time that Orcas hunt Dolphins


One advantage is that we can dive throughout the week. In the classic Sardine Run sites around Port Saint Johns diving is not possible, so you might spend a week only snorkeling. Here in PE we will be able to do several days of diving with up to 20 spieces of shark. Most notably the huge, teeth-filled but friendly Sandtiger, known in South Africa as Ragged Tooth Shark or "Raggies"


We will be staying in a South African house, that has twin rooms for the entire group. The location is very good and its right at the dive shop. It is maybe not a 5-star Hotel but it will serve us well as our expedition base.

If you would like to upgrade accommodation to a hotel please let us know. 

Villa Cameleon

- Nice & clean family style villa that sleeps entire group

- Twin rooms with private bath room with hot water 

- Pool

- Dive Center

- Close to restaurants and shops, in Walmer district Port Elisabeth

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Arrival in Port Elisabeth on the 1st April, departure on the 13th. Those dates are exactly over Easter so you can take advantage of the public holidays around this time.

PE is a flight away from Capetown and Johannesburg but you can also do the scenic route from Capetown which is best over several days. 

If you are interested in an extension for example Capetown Great Whites or Krueger National Park, please let us know.


As they say "South Africa is not for Sissies" - you should know why you are coming here. At times it might be rough at sea and we will spend 8-9hours out in the open ocean. Lots of time we will be idling, scouting the horizon for action. When we find it the captain will gun the engines and a bumpy ride followed by a rough water entry follows. 

Why are we telling you this - you should be prepared for the experience. The yield is amazing, but you have to invest.

In terms of scuba experience you should have at least 50 dives and feel comfortable in the water. It is recommended to have your own gear, but of course you can rent it in the dive shop too.

If you get seasick easily, this trip is also not for you.

Otherwise - this will be the trip of a lifetime!


As all our trips this trip is operated by Southern Cross Travel Limited, Hong Kong

All snorkeling and diving will be conducted under permit and with respect to the Ocean and Coastal Laws of South Africa. The operator reserves the right to adjust the schedule and activities to comply with these laws.

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