Outdoors + Nature

Natural Wonders

by Nicola McCormack

South Africa: The Sardine Run

The sardine seems like a pretty unassuming little fish—but in June and July, when these tiny swimmers get together off the coast of South Africa to migrate to the Indian Ocean's warmer waters, their swirling shoals are an amazing sight to behold. But it's not all prevacation frolicking; the sardines have to run a gauntlet of predators (including dolphins, gannets, sharks, whales, and seals) that herd them into a silvery mass known as a bait ball before tucking in. Experienced divers can get right into the action—that's if you're really sure you want to get up close to a shark at dinnertime—while the inexperienced (some might say sensible) can witness the feeding frenzy as they snorkel above. Whether you still have an appetite for seafood afterward is another matter.

Where to stay: Along the Garden Route, five miles from Plettenberg Bay, the Tsala Treetop Lodge has 16 villas perched on stilts, with floor-to-ceiling windows and views over the tree canopies.

Next: An out-of-this-world light show in California >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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