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Dive Photo Guide


DPG Expeditions: Sardine Run, July 2009, 2010, & 2011
By Jason Heller, January 14, 2009 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
We are running very limited size Sardine Run trips for the next three years (and we've locked in 2009 pricing through 2011). Each trip is limited to only 6 people, and many of the spots were sold prior to publicly posting these trips. We are running one 7 day trip in 2009 and for 2010 and 2011 we are finalizing either two back-to-back 7 day trips or an 11 day trip during the same timeframe. Contact us if you are interested in joining us on these unique underwater photography & video trips.
For a complete listing of DPG Expeditions, please visit our new Expeditions Section (we will updae the section as new trips are finalized).
Sardine Run - Underwater Photo by Gerard SouryThe Sardine Run
Visible by satellite, the Sardine Run is a unique feat of nature and should be on every underwater photographer or videographer's lists. The largest sardine shoals on earth migrate up the east coast of South Africa in mind blowing numbers between May and July. The sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy among schools of
dolphins, sharks, whales, game fish and birds.
In terms of biomass, researchers Sardine Run - Underwater Photo by Gerard Souryestimate the sardine run could rival East Africa's great wildebeast migration. The shoals can be more than 7 km long, 1.5 km wide and 30 meters deep and are clearly visible from spotter planes or from the surface. We will be using a spotter plane to ensure that we get put into the heart of the action.
We will be diving with African Water Sports, one of the pioneers in diving Aliwal Shoal. We will be staying at Sardine Run - Underwater Photo by Gerard SouryMbotyi Lodge, situated at the mouth of the Mbotyi River, a great lauching point for all the action.
The Sardine Run is unpredictable. 2003 & 2006 were apparently the third and fourth years in 26 years where the sardines failed to "run" at all, while 2005 & 2007 were reported by many as great runs. Researchers think that the sardines fail to run when the water is above 21°C. We are scheduling our trip during the first half of July where the water temperature has the best chance of bringing a good run.

Price: 7 days $2,155 *based on current exchange rates to the South African Rand. Final balance will be billed at exchange rates of final payment. (R19,980)

For a complete listing of DPG Expeditions, please visit our new Expeditions Section.

Sardine Run - South AfricaPrice includes:

  • Full day on boat 07h00 to 14h00 (weather permitting)
  • 2 meals per day and snacks on the boat
  • Accommodation (double occupancy)
  • A dedicated microlight pilot to put the group on the action with a VHF radio.
  • Air fills, cylinder and weight belt

Price does NOT include:

  • Transfer from Durban to Mboyti
  • We can arrange a round trip transfer, costs approx $161 (R1500)

Additional Information:

  • Meeting Point
    Durban Airport for those being transported or Mboyti River Lodge for the self drives.
  • Duration of Stay
    6 nights / 5 days at sea (departure on day 7)
  • Group Size
    6 to 8 people
  • Time at sea
    7 to 8 hours (weather dependent)
  • Pace
    Relaxed to strenuous depending on the action at hand.

 Images Courtesy Gerard Soury



Fantasea FG7X II
Ikelite Housing for Nikon D500
I-DiveSite Venom 35s
SeaLife DC2000
Ellen Bedrosian
Jan 15, 2009 12:00 PM
Ellen Bedrosian wrote:
Wow. I've always wanted to do this ever since I first saw Drew's photos a few years ago. But I hear getting back up in the pangas is even harder than doing it in Galapagos. Something about having to keep your gear on and no one helps you? Is that true?
Jackie Stone
Jan 17, 2009 1:03 PM
Jackie Stone wrote:
I think I'm going to sign up for one of these trips too. I've always wanted to do it!
Jason Heller
Jan 17, 2009 1:51 PM
Jason Heller wrote:
@Reefdancer - there are a couple of ways to get back in the boat. Many boats have retractable ladders, although I guess maybe some don't. Update: we only have 2 spaces left for 2009
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