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The Great Sardine Migration

Listed under Wildlife in Kwazulu, South Africa.

Photo of The Great Sardine Migration
Photo by flickr user anniebanannie2006
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Though not as large in size as the wildebeests whose journey across the Serengeti has become known as 'The Great Migration', the annual passage of billions of sardines up South Africa’s east coast is almost as spectacular.

As well as the shimmering shoals of sardines, which look like exotic, fluidly moving sea monsters, a crowd of hungry onlookers gather. Several varieties of ocean birds, around 23,000 dolphins and thousands of sharks and other fishy predators come from miles around to follow the shoal, so viewers can see the whole circle of life enacted in front of them. This is also a huge occasion for fishing, and nets are used to herd the sardines towards the shore where they are caught or else beach themselves. Visitors are encouraged to bring a bucket in case they can enjoy a free meal as well as a unique spectacle. You can also arrange to snorkel amongst the shoal.

The sardines leave their home near the Aghulas Banks due to cold water currents that effect the area during June and July, then head north toward Mozambique.

Written by  Jodie Kimbah.

Other expert and press reviews

“Sardines and sharks, South Africa”

By Charlotte Boan and Tim Ecott for The Guardian First published Saturday 13 December 2008 May and June see one of the world's greatest marine spectacles: the northern migration of hundreds of millions of sardines off the KwaZulu-Natal coastline of So… Read more...

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