The annual great Sardine Run is a natural phenomenon which 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 layed 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.
In the olden days it was said that as soon as the Aloes bloom on the South Coast, the Sardines will start running. Funny enough, nobody gave the Sardine Run much notice. The ocean is buzzing with life, yet only the locals used to get drawn into this unbelievable spectacle of Mother Nature. There are hundreds, sometimes thousands of Common Dolphins along the coast hunting the sardines and there are whales everywhere. Cape Gannets (Toelpel auf deutsch) cruise in flocks of several hundreds above the sardines and dive from 20m into the water to catch as many of the silver fish as they can. At the end of a good day, the Gannets are so full that they just sit on the water unable to take off.
From underneath the sharks and dolphins round up a large number of sardines and form what is known as a bait ball. Once the bait ball is formed, the sharks and dolphins swim through and through and through that ball until not one sardine is left. As divers, we first approach the situation carefully and watch from the boat what is going on. Then we slide into the water just on ABC and when a bait ball is formed or a large shoal of sardines approaches, we don equipment and watch the incredible scene from a depth of approximately 5-7m. Then it's back on the boat and off to the next group of sardines. This can go on for hours or even the whole day with a short lunch break in between.
When the Sardine Run starts, it starts just north of Port Elizabeth and moves up the coast pretty quickly. Many operators book up all accommodation along the Wild Coast and sell packages to experience the Sardine Run. As nobody can foresee the exact time of the run, the risk lies with the diving public. They have to book their package which is very expensive due to the remoteness of the area. If there are no sardine activities during the booked time, there is no refund. If and when the Sardine Run happens, it will definitely come past Margate and Shelly Beach and usually go as far as Hibberdene with a few pockets reaching Durban. We've decided that we don't want to join the crowd but stay right where we know the area best.
Our customers do not have to take any risk at all. Our prices stay the same all year round and if there are no sardines, we keep on diving Protea Banks as usual. If however, the sardines run, we do exactly the same as everybody else and are in the midst of the activity. Only then do our Sardine Run rates apply and our customers still have the choice on a day to day basis if they want to participate in the Sardine Run or rather dive the Sandtigers on the Caves of Protea North.
Surf Spray is situated in Marina Beach on the Natal South Coast (South Africa). It is hidden in tropical gardens, with stunning sea views, it's own secluded beach and is only 400 meters from the Blue Flag, Marina Beach. You can choose to stay in any of our three cottages.
Chilling at Beach House
Modern, spacious, light-&-airy, this popular beach house with its high ceilings, white rafters and ceiling fans, is reminiscent of a ‘Colonial Plantation House’. It is situated ‘right on the edge of the sea’, in magnificent natural coastal forest grounds. It has a spacious open-plan living area and trendy fitted kitchen. Three bedrooms with two bathrooms (Main en-suite). A large veranda with eight-seater table and large braai area.
Well-know Natal politician and editor, Peter Davis and his charming wife, Sonja, would love to have you stay at their cottage. Stretch out on the inviting day-bed/couch on the wide & comfortably furnished verandah and stare at the waves breaking on the rocks mere meters away.
Charming and quaint, this delightful cottage has an attractive open-plan living area and kitchen. It is comfortably and attractively furnished and sleeps four. The bedroom boasts a king-sized bed and doors opening onto a patio-with-a-sea view, while a deep ‘sleeping alcove’ with adult-sized bunk beds, leads off the living room. The covered verandah, which features a six-seater dining table and built-in braai, has a beautiful view of the sea and the magnificent natural coastal-forest grounds.
It is owned by Callie and Monique Strydom, South Africa's most "famous" hostages! This appealing cottage reminds one of a small Mediterranean Villa combined with elements of an English country cottage, the ambience being one of “carefree, happy days at the sea” & “Dis darem lekker by die see!”
Cottage David is owned by one of South Africa’s top fashion designers and a famous singer. Their combined artistic talent is reflected in the design and décor of this aesthetically pleasing chalet. It comprises an open-plan living-area-and-kitchen and two bedrooms, the main of which has wide French doors opening onto a semi-courtyard leading into the beautiful natural coastal-forest grounds and a view of the sea. Lie in bed and watch the ships sailing past! The entire cottage is fitted with trendy coir-floor matting which, apart from being attractive, also ‘massages’ one’s feet as one walks across it! Original artworks adorn the walls and an attractive six-seater dining table is positioned on the verandah-with-a-view. Escape to this creative setting!