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2018 SOUTH AFRICA CUSTOM TRIP
Join THIS amazing TRIP TO SEE SEVERAL SPECIES OF SHARKS, THE FAMOUS SARDINE RUN AND A LAND-BASED OPEN VEHICLE AFRICAN SAFARI. THERE'S ALSO AN OPTIONAL ADD-ON TO CAGE DIVE WITH GREAT WHITES!
Start by spending two days diving Aliwal Shoal, home to Oceanic Blacktip Sharks, Ragged Tooth Sharks, Dusky Sharks, occasional Tiger Sharks, Whales, Dolphins, Turtles, Rays, Eels, Game Fish, and more. Then you'll spend 5 full days witnessing the epic sardine run where you'll be surrounded by dolphins, sharks, diving birds, whales, game fish, seals, and of course millions of sardines that make this one of nature's most awesome events. You'll likely witness passing humpbacks as well. Then spend 3 days on an open vehicle safari in a wildlife preserve to see the "Big 5" - Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhino, and Buffalo. Finally, you'll finish off the last day of the trip with a morning hippo and crocodile cruise before heading home. There is also an option to add on 2 days of cage diving with great white sharks - see details below.
DATES & PRICES
July 5 - 18, 2018
$3,650: 14 day/13 night Aliwal + Sardine Run + Safari
Rates are per person, based on double occupancy. Because of extrememly limited accommodations, there is no single occupancy option. However, we will pair you up with another person to room-share with if you're traveling solo.
Day 1: Arrive Durban International Airport - Transfer to Umkomaas - Overnight in Umkomaas
- Day 2: 2 x Aliwal Shoal Shark Dives - Overnight in Umkomaas
- Day 3: 2 x Aliwal Shoal Shark Dives - Overnight in Umkomaas
- Day 4: Transfer to Port St. Johns - Overnight in Port St. Johns
- Day 5: Full Day Sardine Run Action - Overnight in Port St. Johns
- Day 6: Full Day Sardine Run Action - Overnight in Port St. Johns
- Day 7: Full Day Sardine Run Action - Overnight in Port St. Johns
- Day 8: Full Day Sardine Run Action - Overnight in Port St. Johns
- Day 9: Full Day Sardine Run Action - Overnight in Port St. Johns
- Day 10: Transfer to St. Lucia - Overnight St. Lucia
- Day 11: Full Day Guided Open Vehicle Safari - Overnight St. Lucia
- Day 12: Full Day Guided Open Vehicle Safari - Overnight St. Lucia
- Day 13: Full Day Guided Open Vehicle Safari - Overnight St. Lucia
- Day 14: Morning Hippo and Crocodile River Cruise - Transfer to Durban International Airport
DETAILED TRIP ITINERARY
Day 1 (July 5): Fly to Durban International Airport (code: DUR) between 12:00pm and 6:30pm. Upon arrival at Durban, transfer to Scuba Addicts Dive Lodge in Umkomaas (about 50 miles south of Durban International Airport and about 30 mile south of Durban). You can spend the day relaxing on the beach or around the pool. In the late afternoon/early evening you'll have a briefing on the shark diving at the Aliwal Shoal. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the lodge or at one of the local restaurants (transfer provided).
Day 2 (July 6): Breakfast at 7:00am followed by 2 shark dives at Aliwal Shoal. During winter, the reefs are home to hundreds of Ragged Tooth Sharks as well as a number of other shark species including Oceanic Blacktip Sharks, Dusky Sharks, Copper Sharks [Bronze Whalers] and on occasion Tiger Sharks. After the diving you'll return to the lodge and spend the night in Umkomaas.
Day 3 (July 7): Same as day #2.
Day 4 (July 8): Transfer south to Port St. Johns (about 4 hours.) Check in to your accommodation at Cremorne Estates, situated on the bank of the Umzimvubu River in Port St. Johns. The restaurant and bar are a great place for enjoying a meal and drinks.
Day 5 (July 9): Breakfast at 7:00am. After breakast, you'll launch from the Umzimvubu River in Port St. Johns and operate north and south depending on where the sardine run action is.
You'll spend most of the day at sea, launching at about 8:00am and returning about 3:00pm. The day is ruled by the Sardine Run action. You'll follow the dolphins as they work together to create the bait balls and then the action begins - the dolphins, birds, sharks, and whales enjoy a huge feast. The noise of the diving gannets is amazing as they surround the boat, diving for the sardines.
You'll enter the water many times during the day, sometimes just on snorkel and other times on scuba; it just depends on how fast the action is moving. The action is amazing and you are often surrounded by hundreds of dolphins, sharks, diving birds, whales and more. You also have many opportunities to watch the humpback whales on their annual migration.
In the late afternoon you'll return to the lodge where you can relax, download photos, or go sightseeing in the local area. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the lodge.
Day 6 (July 10): Same as Day #5
Day 7 (July 11): Same as Day #5
Day 8 (July 12): Same as Day #5
Day 9 (July 13): Same as Day #5
Day 10 (July 14): Transfer to St. Lucia Wetlands Reserve (roughly 6 - 7 hours) and check in to your accommodation at Forest Lodge and Villas. Set in the heart of Zululand, this is a world heritage site and home to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest game reserve in Africa, established in 1895. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the lodge or one of the local restaurants.
Day 11 (July 15): Enjoy an early rise (approx 5:00am pickup time) for a fully guided open-vehicle safari in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. The reserve is home to Africa's "Big 5" - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and the black and white rhino. You'll have breakfast and lunch within the reserve. Viewing areas overlook pans and waterholes, enabling you to observe Africa's wildlife at close range. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the lodge or one of the local restaurants.
Day 12 (July 16): Same as Day #11
Day 13 (July 17): Same as Day #11
Day 14 (July 18): Have a relaxed breakfast at the lodge before enjoying some of the beautiful views during a river cruise on the St. Lucia estuary, home to many Hippos, Crocodiles, and many species of birds. After the River Cruise, you will be transferred to Durban International Airport for your flights.
INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
Included in the 14 day/13 night package:
- - 13 nights accommodations in quality lodges with ensuite facilities, based on double occupancy
- - All ground transfers between airports, lodges, and dive/safari activities
- - Daily breakfast
- - Lunch on the open vehicle safari days
- - 2 days of shark diving at the Aliwal Shoal
- - 5 days of Sardine Run diving and snorkeling
- - 3 days of an open vehicle safari
- - Morning Hippo and Croc river cruise
- - Tanks, air fills, weights, and weight belt (nitrox is not needed due to the shallow depth)
- - Dive permits
Excluded from the 14 day/13 night package:
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified in inclusions
- Drinks/alcoholic beverages
- Personal dive and/or travel insurance
OPTIONAL GREAT WHITE SHARK ADD ON
Shark dive add on dates:
Add on a few days before or after your trip to cage dive with great white sharks!
If you decide to go before the trip, you'll fly into Cape Town Airport on July 2, cage dive with great whites on July 3 and July 4, and fly to Durban airport on July 5. If you decide to go after the trip, you'll fly from Durban to Cape Town on July 18, cage dive with great whites on July 19 and 20, and fly out of Cape Town on July 21.
Shark dive add on prices:
Great white shark add-on with double occupancy accommodations is $915 per person.
Great white shark add on with single occupancy accommodations is $1,075.
The great white shark add on is the only part of the trip where single occuancy is possible.
Shark dive add on inclusions:
- 3 nights accommodations at The Roundhouse
- 2 days of cage diving with great whites in Gansbaai
- Breakfast at lodge
- Lunch on the shark dive days
- Cape Town airport transfers
CONTACT INFORMATION / HOW TO BOOK
GANSBAAI ACCOMMODATION: (If doing the great white add on.) The accommodation in Gansbaai is an upmarket lodge facing the ocean. It includes a restaurant, rooftop jacuzzi, pool table, ping pong table, free wifi, and is a short 2-5 minute walk to many shops and restaurants.
UMKOMAAS ACCOMMODATION: The accommodation in Umkomaas is a small beachfront dive lodge overlooking the Aliwal Shoal, with ocean views from every room. There's a restaurant, swimming pool, sandy beach, BBQ area, kitchen facilities, and free wifi.
PORT ST. JOHNS ACCOMMODATION: The accommodations in Port St. Johns overlook the river, have awesome views of Mount Thesiger, and private balconies. The property features a restaurant, bar area, swimming pool, BBQ area, and wifi access.
ST. LUCIA ACCOMMODATION: The accommodation in St. Lucia is an upmarket lodge and one of the newest in St. Lucia. It features subtropical gardens, swimming pool, a breakfast room, and free wifi.
GREAT WHITE SHARK DIVING
ALIWAL SHOAL SHARK DIVING
LAND-BASED OPEN VEHICLE SAFARI
Watch this video to see what you may encounter during the Sardine Run. Once the video starts, click on the gear wheel in the bottom right of the video and select "720p HD" for best viewing results.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What are the passport and visa requirements?
The Sardine Run takes place during winter so warm clothing, jackets, and sweatshirts are advisable. A warm waterproof jacket is also a good idea.
Q: Do I need my own dive gear?
A: Rental gear is available for an additional cost should you need it.
Q: Can I pay a single supplement if I want my own room?
A: Unfortunatley accommodations are very limited so there is no single supplement available, with the exception of the optional great white shark add-on. However, we can pair you up with another solo traveler to room share with.
Q: What happens if we miss dives because of weather?
A: If diving is cancelled due to weather or sea conditions, local excursions will be arranged to take in some of the highlights of the area. We highly recommend trip insurance so that you've covered for any unforeseen circumstances!
Q: How many dives will we do?
A: The Sardine Run is different from a typical dive trip. It's a snorkeling, free diving, and scuba adventure, not a scuba diving holiday where you can count the number of dives in a day. When on the Sardine Run, you'll go out on the boat for about 6 to 7 hours each day. The main focus is to find the bait ball action and see it the best way possible. Sometimes the action is moving fast and there isn't time to kit up in scuba gear, so you'll snorkel and/or free dive. When the bait balls are more stationary and look like they will stay around a while, then you can kit up in scuba gear.
Q: How many people do the boats hold?
A: The sardine run boats take a max of 8 guests.
Q: Are the tanks DIN or yoke?
A: Tanks are 12L steel cylinders which are both yoke or DIN compatible.
Q: What's the average depth of the dives?
A: The depth varies from 25 - 60 feet depending on the dives. Most are drift dives and there are sometimes strong currents. Some dives at Aliwal Shoal are as deep as 90 feet.
Q: What are the average air and water temperatures in June/July?
A: Day time temperature: 50°F - 77°F
Night time temperature: 45°F - 54°F
Water temperature: 64°F - 72°F (The great whites will be about 64 - 66 degrees, Aliwal will be about 71 - 73 degres, and the sardine run will be about 69 - 72 degrees.)
Q: What wetsuit thickness will I need?
A: That depends on how cold you get in low 60s to low 70s water. People wear anything from 5mm to 7mm with a shortie over top and a hood. You can bring a drysuit, but keep in mind that sometimes you must kit up very quickly.
Q: Do I need an electrical adapter?
A: The South African electricity supply is 220/230V AC 50 Hz. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins. Bring an adapter with you, or they can be purchased locally in the airport for about $9 USD.
Q: Do I need any special vaccines?
A: Generally no, but you can check the CDC website for recommended vaccines for travel to South Africa here, and/or check with your physician.
Q: Will I get seasick?
A: If you tend to get seasick, we recommend you take dramamine, Bonine, or another seasickness medication.
Q: How much spending money do I need?
A: The only spending money you need will be for lunches on days when it's not included, dinner, drinks, souvenirs, tips, etc. Most places accept credit cards and there are cash machines available in most places.