On the shores of the Indian Ocean, KwaZulu-Natal’s rich and diverse marine life is well documented and it’s also the location for some of the most incredible marine migrations on earth. From the travels of the majestic Southern Right Whales to the famous Sardine Run, The Oyster Box on Durban’s coast is an ideal place from which to witness some of the most astonishing events in nature.
One of the most spectacular marine migrations in the natural world, the Sardine Run takes place throughout May, June and July. The event occurs when sardines leave their spawning grounds, which are located at Africa’s southernmost tip and, because of a cool northerly current, head up the east coast of South Africa.
Naturally, vast shoals of fish embarking upon such an epic journey attract plenty of other marine creatures, from common and bottlenose dolphins to several varieties of shark, seals and an abundance marine birds. Charter a boat to witness the action up close, or observe the spectacle from high above in a microlight, accompanied by a qualified pilot. Those preferring to stay on dry land won’t miss out. The event can also be viewed from the shore, with the best viewpoints found along the region’s picturesque Hibiscus Coast south of Durban.
May to September is best time to see whales off the shores of KwaZulu-Natal, when southern right whales and humpback whales can be spotted as they migrate from Antarctic waters to the coast of Mozambique, which is their breeding ground. The best way to see these majestic creatures up close is on a boat tour where visitors can witness common whale behaviours such as blowing and breaching. The glimpse of a whale flipping out of the water before crashing down into the waves again is truly memorable.
Ragged tooth sharks
One of the world’s finest locations for shark diving, KwaZulu-Natal’s Aliwal Shoal even has a dive site named after one of its seasonal residents: Raggies Cave. This area of reef is an ideal place from which to witness the marine migration of the ragged tooth sharks, which takes place through the South African winter. Sharks are attracted to the warm, shallow waters of KwaZulu-Natal’s coast in search of a mate, and the best way to catch a glimpse of the species is on a dive. Generally good-natured and unbothered by humans, the sharks make safe diving companions. Choose an expert-led dive for the opportunity to marvel at these incredible creatures up close.
Located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Red Carnation Hotels’ The Oyster Box in Umhlanga showcases the natural beauty of KwaZulu-Natal.