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Sardine Run Experience the greatest shoal on Earth

About the trip

The Sardine Run in South Africa is one of the world’s most incredible marine events. Annually, from May to July, vast shoals of sardines move from their temperate-water home off South Africa’s southern coast and travel north-east into the sub-tropical waters of South Africa’s Wild Coast. Following the shoals is a unparalleled concentration of marine predators, including sharks, dolphins, whales, gannets and game fish.

When predators meet prey a feeding event of unmatched proportions begins. Thousands of common dolphins charge after the shoals, separating them into densely packed bait balls and driving them to the surface. Watched by the omnipresent Cape gannets, an aerial assault on the sardines then begins when tens of thousands of gannets begin their spectacular plunge diving displays. Below the bait balls are easy pickings not only for dolphins, but also for shivers of bronze-whaler, dusky and blacktip sharks. The final player, is the behemoth Bryde’s whale whose huge mouth can decimate an entire bait ball in a single lunge

Host Partner

On my Sardine Run expeditions, I partner with the world renowned shark exploration and diving company – Blue Wilderness. Whilst I focus on assisting with photography and videography, Blue Wilderness provide logistics, expert skippers and dive guides. View Blue Wilderness website

Includes / Excludes

INCLUDES: 5 x days on Sardine run, 1 x game drive, dive guide, photographic tutor/guide, accommodation, meals, local travel, SCUBA equipment.

EXCLUDES: Photographic equipment, flights, travel insurance

Your guide

Fiona Profile

Fiona Ayerst

Quick Info

DATES: 7-days in May – June

LOCATION: East London, South Africa

COST: $2750pp

Frequently Asked Questions

What you can see on the Sardine Run

The sardine run comprises massive shoals of South Africa’s bait fish, including the sardine, anchovy, massbanker, redeye amongst others. But it is the predators that are drawn to these shoals that really impress. Fellow adventurers will see common dolphins, dusky sharks, blacktip sharks, bryde’s whales, Cape gannets, Cape fur seals and much much more.

Sardine Run Guides

Fiona Ayerst & Ryan Johnson will be guiding the expedition, and our skipper and support crew will be supplied by the ‘Blue Wilderness’ team, the company that pioneered the sardine run adventure here in South Africa.


We will be staying in the wonderful Crawfords Lodge on the outskirts of East London. The lodge is situated on the beach and we will wake up to incredible views of the Sardine Run in action.


As you will be traveling in the winter, local food will consist of plenty of hot healthy organic food supplied by Santa Paloma. On the boat, we will have light lunches and lots of snacks to get us through the long hours at sea.


This tour is for people who have experience on the ocean, or have a good level of fitness. On most days we will spend between 6 and 8 hours on the sea. This can be draining and demanding on your body. Whilst SCUBA diving qualifications are not essential, a giant stable bait ball is best viewed from SCUBA.


Although you do not have to be a photographer to join me….photographers of all levels love doing this trip with me as they receive one-to-one instruction on an informal basis and find that helpful. If you aren’t into underwater images then here is plenty of incredible topside action to capture. For photographers who aren’t experienced in underwater photography, I suggest sticking to filming with a GoPro or similar as the sardine run is not an ideal place to start learning about dSLR  photography.

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Start your adventure

Challenge yourself to take on the greatest marine migration in the world. South Africa’s annual Sardine Run

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