The Sardine Run - KwaZulu Natal Coast
Every year in June & July enormous shoals of sardines appear along the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, followed by a squadron of sea birds, sharks, dolphins and fish all eager to feed on the abundance of food suddenly available to them. The Sardine Run occurs when millions of sardines spawn in the cold Antarctic waters. During the winter months (European summertime), cold currents of water move northwards up the coast, bringing the sardines to feeding grounds in areas where they don’t normally come.
The massive sardine shoals are chased on by the hunter species into the shallow waters along KwaZulu Natals South Coast, and sometimes they are washed up onto the beach.
Sardine shoals can be spotted from from the beach as thousands of seabirds circle overhead, diving in to catch there lunch! Occasionally you wuill even see great white shark diving out of the water to catch some of the millions of sardines, and brooders whales surfacing to take massive gulps of the silvery fish.
Locals in the KZN coastal areas know this time of year – when they are gripped with ‘sardine fever’. Local fishermen are eager also to catch as many of the sardines as they can in the short time that they are so close to the shoreline; some of the catch are frozen to use as bait for fishing late in the year and many are sold to restaurants and locals alike for a tasty fish dish. A Sardine Hotline available to keep people informed of the movement of the massive sardine shoals.
The “sardine run” was taken for granted for many years, and it is only recently that South Africans have realized that it is a unique natural phenomenon that occurs nowhere else on our planet, the event is now being marketed as a major South African Tourist attraction.