With the aloes already blooming, the Sardine Season is about to reveal its secrets to those who cast their bets wisely.
Traditionally, Sardine Season with its many festive events, reaches its pinnacle when little silvery fish make their way to the shores of the KZN South Coast. Secret methods and sources, scientific and otherwise, are used to predict their eagerly awaited arrival. If you’re lucky, you become part of the exhilarating frenzy that may surprise you whilst doing whale watching through your binoculars or fishing with your children from the rocks or spotting adrenaline-fuelled fishermen going out on their skiboats to bring back their catch. Side by side visitors and locals weigh up the signs to see which skiboats to follow to which beach (there are only 39 to choose from) or decide to follow insiders on social media and other platforms in the hope they too can get in on the action.
The ones who know the best, though, are the pelagic predators, who cannot wait to tuck in. With them, news spreads faster than Twitter, so follow the usual suspects: Cape Gannets, sharks, dolphins, game fish such as mackerel and tuna and whales.
Give your kids an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime by following the sardines as they swim up the coast and stopping at the beaches where the sardines have come in by themselves or where they have been pulled in by fishing nets. Either way, young and old alike can put recycled plastic to good use and haul out their own treasures from the shallow waters or pick up sardines that have spilled through the fishing nets. For those with quieter pursuits, bucketloads of sardines are sold on the beaches and it’s just as rewarding when walking away with so much silver.
Of course, the Sardine Run, is a natural phenomenon, and as with nature’s other mysteries, can be unpredictable, however, the general rule is that they can make an appearance any time during the warm winter season, from May to August. With winter school holidays smack bang in the middle of this period, it makes sense to go all in and book a family holiday at the KZN South Coast. While waiting, make sure the whole family is having fun by visiting some very exciting events put on especially for the Sardine Season.
Here are just some of the best Sardine Season events to enjoy:
- The South Coast Lions Show – 29 June – 1 July, Port Shepstone Country Club
- The Annual Sardine Run 3-Day Golf Tournament – 14 – 16 June, Scottburgh Golf Club, Selborne Park Golf Estate, Umkomaas Golf Club
- Melville Sanctuary of Love Acoustic Music & Folk Festival – 16 June, Melville Sanctuary of Love
- TO Strand Golf Tour – 24 – 30 June, TO Strand, Port Edward
- SupaDrift – 29 – 30 June, Dezzi South Coast Raceway
- Maidens Ceremony – 30 June, KwaNyuswa
- Ugu Jazz & Arts Festival – 30 June, Ugu Sport & Leisure Centre, Gamalakhe
- Margate Mardi Gras – 27 June; 4, 11 July
- Mercury Ski Boat Festival – 4 – 7 July, Shelly Beach Ski Boat Club
- Umtamvuna Sardine Festival – 6 – 8 July, Mattison Square, Port Edward
- 1stAnnual Umdoni Classic – 6 – 8 July, Umdoni Park Golf Club
- Dezzi Invitational Challenge – 7-8 July, Dezzi South Coast Raceway
- Scottburgh Classic Car Show – 8 July, Scottburgh High Scho
- Gamefish Junior Nationals – 16 – 20 July, Shelly Beach Ski Boat Club
- KZN Drag Racing – 21 July, Dezzi South Coast Raceway
- Ramsgate Book & Art Festival – 2 – 5 August, Ramsgate