update (05 July 2012): 04 July 2012 - Durban: numerous shoals of sardines made an appearance from just behind the surf zone to about 500m offshore.
update (04 July 2012): Reports were received on Saturday 30 June 2012 from various reliable sources that small pockets of sardines had been spotted at Red Sands on the Eastern Cape Coast just to the south of the Wild Coast Sun Casino. On the morning of 2 July 2012, reports were received of small shoals of sardines at various locations on the lower south coast. [more]
update (28 June 2012): There is not much news on the Sardines, besides that the water temperature has dropped a bit, which is good. [more]
update (25 June 2012): "The water temperature has dropped to 20 degrees [KZN South Coast]. We might see some sardines soon." (via twitter)
update (25 June 2012): There is still no sign of the main shoal of Sardines in KwaZulu Natal, despite reports of pilot shoals been spotted in Port Edward, Port Shepstone and Pumula. [src.]
update (22 June 2012): Observations of sardine associated predators were very disappointing and the only significant activity was found between Mboyti and Port St Johns about 6-8kms offshore. [src.]
update (21 June 2012): In the absence of sardines, shark safety gear has been restored at Margate’s main beach, St Michaels and Hibberdene [check the webcams on TravelComments.com]. Only limited sardine-related predator activity can currently be spotted between Mbotyi and Port St Johns. Common and bottlenose dolphins were sighted, but over a large area. According to KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board head of operations, Mike Anderson-Reade, it is possible that the shoals had moved back southwards, offshore, or are swimming near the seabed.
update (15 June 2012): According to today's beach status report by the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board, shark nets at various beaches along the coast were removed due to the anticipation of sardine run. Sardine flights are underway, so from this afternoon current sardine run updates will be available from the sardine hotline (083-9139495).
update (12 June 2012): According to the current "Beach Status Report" (12 June 2012) by the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board, bathing has been banned from Hibberdene right through to Port Edward Due to sardine activity.
update (11 June 2012): KwaZulu Natal's coastline will be hit by another coldfront this week and, according to various fishing forums, this will bring the sardines in closer.
update (05 June 2012): According to the current "Beach Status Report" (05 June 2012) by the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board, nets at various beaches along KwaZulu Natal's coast have been in removed in anticipation of sardine activity!
According to various news reports and postings in forums, the "greatest shoal on earth", the annual Sardine Run, is expected to start any day from now. The annual Sardine Run occurs in South African waters every end of May/June & July when millions of individual sardines spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the coast of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal into Mozambique. The shoals are often more than 7 km long, 1.5 km wide and 30 m deep and are clearly visible from spotter planes or from the surface. Following the shoals is a caravan of predators, seabirds, sharks, game fish and marine mammals with little else but a feeding frenzy on their mind.
If you want to experience a natural phenomena that can probably only be compared to East Africa's great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, make sure that you visit the KwaZulu-Natal coast during the upcoming weeks. Kudos Getaway Magazine & Animal Ocean for the video! We'll keep you posted!