South Africa's Sardine Run
Land-based and Liveaboard Options
Tour Details, Schedules and Pricing
Land-based and Liveaboard Options - This page details the land-based option for experiencing the Sardine Run. Follow this link to consider the Sardine Run Liveaboard.
SEAL Expedition Details - The Sardine Run is an adventure scuba diving and sea safari expedition which takes place off the Eastern Cape coast of South Africa, in the June & July. Sardine Run location is predominantly out of Port St Johns, though we work a huge territory of water both north and south of there - dependant on the action. Each expedition is led by a dedicated full-time SEAL Team guide with a mandate to create the best possible experience for all SEAL guests. SEAL has several 32' twin-engine dive boats available - each fitted to accommodate 12 divers. We limit the number to 8 divers, or snorkelers, per boat for everyone's comfort. (Further down this page you will find details of the new Liveaboard option for the Sardine Run).
Land-based Tour Duration - Eight (8) nights lodging with full board, seven (7) days on the water (weather dependent), offering the best possibility of success. This time period will allow for bad weather scenarios and variable degrees of marine activity.
2014 Pricing - $ 4295 USD per person, based on twin share. Single Supplement surcharge of $500 on accommodations.
Expedition Dates for 2014 and 2015
Accommodations - Accommodation is 3-star luxury hotel/lodge with full amenities and excellent service. At our Mbotyi location we utilize the wonderfully situated Mbotyi River Lodge. 30 km south at our Port St Johns location, we use the services of the Outspan Inn situated at the mouth of the mighty Umzimvubu River. Spectacular vistas over this wild and undeveloped part of Africa, wonderful cuisine and warm South African hospitality make for an incredible atmosphere for our SEAL Teams in this beautiful region.
- June 19 - June 27, 2014 (8 spaces remain)
- June 27 - July 05, 2014 (2 spaces remain)
- July 05 - July 13, 2014 (8 spaces remain)
- June 19 - June 27, 2015 (available)
- June 27 - July 05, 2015 (available)
- July 05 - July 13, 2015 (available)
Land-based Expedition Includes
- Guide - Dedicated full-time SEAL guide
- Lodging - Eight (8) nights in a 3-star hotel, with full board
- Meals - Full or packed breakfast as determined by launch time, light lunch and refreshments on boat, 3 course dinner
- Diving or Snorkeling - Seven (7) days on the water or alternate activity as determined by conditions
- Air Support - Dedicated SEAL Microlight spotter aircraft to call us onto the action
- Guest Flight - Each guest will get to fly in the SEAL microlight and see the Wild Coast from the air (weather permitting)
- Equipment - Airfills, cylinders, weightbelts
- * Transfers forward from Durban, South Africa - see detail below
- * Alternate Activities - All Alternate Activities - see list below
*Alternate Activities - The following activities are substituted when and if we are unable to launch. Most of these activities are done as a matter of course over and above the diving, even when we launch everyday.
- Any required lodging nights before or after the tour duration
- Dive Equipment - BCD, regulator, mask, fins, snorkel
- Alcohol - For guest account
- Porterage - Excess baggage penalties and transportation
- Gratuities - At guest discretion
Weather & Conditions - June/ July are winter months on the Wild Coast and wet weather is possible (though not always the case)
- Microlight Flight - Each guest will get to fly in the SEAL microlight and see the Wild Coast from the air
- Magnificent Trails - Some of the most beautiful countryside in South Africa also hosts some of the highest waterfalls where fresh water tumbles 300 ft into the sea
- Cultural Experience - Visit with the local traditional healer and see an authentic rural African village
- Horse Riding - Ride the trails along Waterfall Bluff, 300 ft above the sea
Dive Conditions - Conditions will vary from glass-like seas to flying through giant rollers in pumping winds - very exciting and sometimes strenuous. Safety is always the priority when on the water and the SEAL skipper will navigate accordingly. Visibility varies from 2 - 20m/ 6 ft - 60ft. As a safety precaution, we generally don't enter the water in less than 15ft of visibility.
- Temperatures (Air): 59 - 75 F/ 15 - 24 C
- Temperatures (Water) : 59 - 70 F/ 15 - 21 C
*Transfers & International Flights
All international flights enter and depart South Africa through one of two airports, Cape Town International or Johannesburg International. If clients have elected not to do the SEAL Cycle Safari they will be transferred by SEAL to Durban International Airport in time for their connecting flight to either Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airports.
- Arrival - SEAL will greet guests at Durban International Airport and transfer to our dive location in the Eastern Cape (approximately five hours).
- Departure - SEAL will transfer guests from Eastern Cape back to Durban International Airport on Day 10.
Day 1 - Arrive at Durban International Airport no later than noon (or better yet, arrive the night before and overnight to rest) - met by SEAL Team member and transferred to our dive location in the Eastern Cape
Days 2 - 8
06h45 - Full breakfast (packed breakfast supplied for occasional 06h30 launches)
07h00 - Microlight launches and begins recon
08h00 - SEAL Teams launch
11h00 - Light lunch and refreshments available onboard throughout the day
14h30 - Approximate time back in harbour - dependent on action and weather conditions
16h00 - Afternoon optional activity - horse riding, sundown cocktails, trail-hikes
19h00 - 3 course dinner, next day activity planning and good times - SEAL style
Day 9 - Transfer back to Durban International Airport (arriving 2:00 p.m. earliest) for short internal flight to Johannesburg.
Minimum Equipment Required - Wetsuit, mask, fins, snorkel, BCD, regulator. We strongly recommend divers bring their own gear rather than hiring on location. Having gear that you are familiar and comfortable with is important for this type of adventure diving. SEAL staff will be on hand to carry equipment in transit, re-fill tanks etc. Rinse facilities are provided post diving.
- This trip is open to snorkelers.
- SCUBA DIVERS, Advanced Diver Certification only - divers will be required to present their dive cards and/ or log-books to SEAL upon arrival. This activity is for experienced scuba divers only.
- Passport - Required for US citizens traveling to South Africa and Botswana - no visa required though
- Clothing - Wind/ Rain proof active wear, smart casual wear
- Miscellaneous - Sun protection, headwear, eye protection, binoculars, camera
Water Temperature - The Indian Ocean is the warmer of the 2 oceans bordering South Africa. We're diving in the winter season where water temperatures will vary between 59 - 70 F/ 15 - 21 C. A 5mm wetsuit will most often suffice with booties, hoody and gloves recommended. A 7mm semi-dry will be appropriate for divers who get cold easily. In ideal Sardine Run conditions, the water temperature will be in the range 59 - 65 F.
Physical Fitness - The Sardine Run can be physically challenging and a base fitness level is recommended though not essential. The more fit the participant the more enjoyment of the experience. Divers with pre-existing medical conditions must stipulate when signing the expedition waiver documents. A full medical is recommended for divers with pre-existing health conditions.
Insurance - Travel insurance is recommended for all guests and must be organized in their country of origin. SEAL includes full DAN coverage for all guests on the Sardine Run.
- Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all travelers
- Typhoid vaccination is recommended for all travelers
- All travelers should be up-to-date on routine immunizations, including, Tetanus-diptheria, Measles-mumps-rubella, and Varicella.
Power Supply - Voltage in South Africa is 230 - 240 V, 50 Hz. Guests may require a voltage converter depending on their country of origin.
SEAL Safety Promise - The Sardine Run is the most challenging of our suite of SEAL Expeditions. That said, the accident potential is minimal, largely due to our knowledge of the environment and our taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of our guests, both on and off the water. SEAL equipment and communications technologies are state of the art and include:
- Oxygen and first-aid kit onboard
- VHF Radio
- Cellular phone
- Satellite phone (when no cellular coverage)
For more information about SEAL, and the Sardine Run in South Africa:
Or simply phone Island Dreams at 1-800-346-6116, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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