Sardine fever has hit KwaZulu-Natal and huge shoals of the silvery fish were netted off the South Coast yesterday.
Fishermen, some in ski-boats, flocked to Amazimtoti, Warner Beach and Pennington to make their catches. The fish hit the province's shores on Thursday as sea temperatures began to cool off.
To enhance the excitement around this natural phenomenon, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, in conjunction with Ugu District Municipality and Natal Sharks Board have initiated a yearly Sardine Festival. The first will be held from Friday to July 15 on the South Coast.
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal's general manager for marketing, Nomasonto Ndlovu, says the festival promises unforgettable experiences for visitors with a full programme of family entertainment involving marine, beach, cultural and music activities.
Every year thousands of visitors from Gauteng flock to the South Coast to join the Sardine Run and take advantage of the July holiday season, and the region's warm sunny winter days.
During this time of the year shoals of sardines migrate from the Cape up the coast towards Mozambique, with about 23000 dolphins, 100000 Cape Gannets and thousands of game fish in pursuit. Besides attracting tourists, it also attracts the media, film crews and marine professionals from around the globe.