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Wining & Diving, South Africa
Sardine Run, Great Whites & Great Wine

Departing: 19/06/2016 for 7 days.
Price per person: £2,379
Includes: flights, transfers, board, accommodation, diving,
Excludes: Visas if applicable,
Escorted by: Nick & Caroline Robertson Brown


19 June

Depart UK Arrive Dubai(next day)

20 June

Depart Dubai 10.25 Arrive Durban 17.10

You will be transferred [+/- 50mins] to Umkommas, where you will meet the team. In the evening you enjoy dinner at the lodge.

21 June

In the morning your adventure begins when you are transferred [about 4-hours] to your accommodation, situated on the river bank of the Umzimvubu River at Port St. Johns. The upmarket log-cabins at Cremorne Estate overlook the river and have en-suite facilities. This is your base for 6 nts B & B to see the 'Greatest Shoal on Earth'. In the evening you enjoy a BBQ [known locally as a braai] where you will get to know the group and your guide.

22-27 June

We receive updates about the Sardine Run movements every morning. Armed with this information we launch the RIB close to the action and the chase begins! We spend the days out at sea, enthralled by the action above and below the water, getting up close and personal with many of the oceans creatures. Again, because of the speed at which the shoals travel and the dynamic nature of the following predators, we often spend most of our time in the water free diving resorting to scuba when conditions are optimal. Throughout the day the water erupts with bait balls created by the passing predators and we get the chance to see it all. In the afternoon we return to shore to relax or enjoy the local activities.

27 June

Depart Durban 18.40 Arrive Dubai 05.20 (next day)

28 June

Depart Dubai Arrive UK

The Sardine Run

The Sardine Run takes place along South Africa's Wild Coast. Each morning updates are received about the Sardine Run action and movements before deciding where to dive. The days are ruled by nature, with most of the day at sea, following the action as the dolphins work together to separate the sardines into bait balls. The birds, dolphins, sharks, whales all enjoying a huge feast. The noise of the diving gannets, the speed of the dolphin, the sharks and the whales coming to join in on the feast is amazing.

You experience the action from the boat and in the water by entering the water as many times as possible during the day, sometimes just on snorkel and other times on scuba, depending on how fast the action is moving and how comfortable the animals are as sometimes the bubbles from scuba diving chases the action away. Whilst all this is going on, the humpback whale migration passes the same area, we are treated to awesome breaches as hundreds of Humpback Whales travel north.

The action is amazing and you are often surrounded by hundreds of dolphin, sharks, diving birds, whales and of course millions of sardines!

Sevengill Sharks, Fur Seals & Vineyards

27 June

An early rise before being transferred north to Durban for your flight to Cape Town.Met and transferred to The Vineyard Hotel & Spa located in the Newlands area of Cape Town. Spend the rest of the evening at leisure. Cape Town is historically, culturally and visually, the most diverse, breathtakingly scenic and vibrant city you will have had the pleasure of visiting. Known fondly as the Mother City, Cape Town has everything for the curious traveller who enjoys the good life in all its colours and guises. From exquisite wine farms in magnificent green settings, to a long and captivating history and architecture, there will be little doubt in your mind why it is voted one of the worlds finest cities to visit.

28 June

Refined Western Cape Tour

The Refined Western Cape Experience departs Cape Town at 08h30 stopping first for a wine tasting at Allesverloren, the oldest wine estate in the Swartland area and renowned for its distinctive red wines. Dating back to the 17th Century, Allesverlorens rich history and picturesque setting will have you enthralled. Next stop, the town of Riebeek Kasteel! One of the oldest towns in South Africa, set in the fertile vista of The Riebeek Valley, we spend 2 hours exploring and shopping. Often referred to as the best kept secret of the western cape, the tranquil village is covered in the softest hues of pink and white during spring when the peach orchards are in bloom and is also home to the oldest hotel in South Africa, The Royal Hotel. Some of South Africass most famous painters, attracted by the picturesque surroundings of the valley, are resident in Riebeek Kasteel today adding an artistic flair to the atmosphere of this quaint village.

We enjoy lunch at Mama Cucina, a popular local Italian restaurant, before leaving for the multiple award-winning Kloovenburg estate, also in The Riebeek Valley, for wine and olive oil tasting. We bid farewell to Riebeek Kasteel travelling via Malmesbury, commonly known as the heart of the swartland and arrive back in Cape Town at approximately 17h45. .

29 June

Sevengills & Fur Seals Dive

A unique dive in the magical kelp forests of the Cape Peninsula in search of Broadnose Sevengill Sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus; Cow sharks). False Bay is one of the only places in the world that you can consistently dive with over 10 and up to 70 of these ancient looking sharks. Sevengill Sharks are formidable predators of Cape Fur Seals, other species of shark and fish. They can reach lengths of 3m and weight up to 700 pounds. What adds to the unique experience is that because of their natural curiosity and confidence we do not use any form of chum or bait to interact with them.

Then for a second dive we will introduce you to the best dive buddies you will ever have, the Cape Fur Seal. Dive with up to 40 of these energetic characters at a time. The fur Seals are masters of the underwater world and they will amaze you with their acrobatics. Question is who is playing with who on this dive?

30 June

Winelands Tour en route to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

A superb day dedicated to celebrating the glorious grape, the exceptional Winelands region, and the heavenly scenery! The area is rich with history, and we can not help but feel it as we move through the region to experience a wine cellar tour and tasting, where you will learn all about the process of winemaking, from grape to goblet. We visit the exquisite little town of Franschhoek, pass by the impressive Huguenot Monument, and in a town with a reputation for gourmet fare, where else could we choose to enjoy lunch. Wind our way to the heady heights of the Helshoogte Mountain Pass to meet the charming university town of Stellenbosch on the other side. Stroll through this little town, absorbing the quaintness, and sneaking into the odd shop or two! Enjoy a wine tasting at two different wine estates where you will be able to purchase your favourite wine to take back home! Once the tour has ended off in Franschhoek we head off to the diverse and phenomenally beautiful Grootbos Private Nature Reserve where you will arrive at approximately 6:00pm .

Frogfish Photography

The Frogfish Photography course syllabus has been designed to cover all aspects of underwater photography and to improve your skills no matter what level you are now and whether you use a compact, mirrorless or DSLR camera setup. There will be both theory and practical sessions so that you can put your skills to the test. We include lots of photographs to demonstrate ideas and techniques discussed in the course. The course has been designed so that you can sign up to individual units that interest you or you can sign up for the whole course.

Caroline and Nick Robertson Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. They both have degrees in biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick has a Associateship from RPS in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after our seas and oceans.

Frogfish Photography, based in Manchester, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to compliment the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques.

Great White & Southern Right Whales

01 July

Shark Cage Diving

Nothing can prepare you for the thrill and wonder of a close encounter with the most awesome predator of the ocean, the Great White Shark. Meeting this majestic beast eye-to-eye will leave you on a high for days and change your perception of sharks forever. Join Grootbos, in partnership with Marine Dynamics, on an outing to the world famous Dyer Island and legendary Shark Alley. Discover the underwater world of the Great White Shark on-board a luxury boat in the company of experts and a dedicated marine biologist! Watch these elegant hunters from an elevated viewing deck or climb into the cage to get up close and personal.

You don not have to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy this eco adventure. Shark Cage Diving is an activity for young and old. No diving experience is required and all equipment is provided on-board including a clean, dry wetsuit. The specially designed cage is safe and secure, and floats with part of the cage out of the water. Divers are never more than a metre below the surface. When the sharks are around the boat, the divers get into the cage and the sharks are lured to within centimetres. The on-board experts are there to assist you and provide relevant information that goes a long way in dispelling the myths about these magnificent animals .

02 July

Organic Wine Tour

Today after a delicious delightful breakfast we depart at 10:00am from Grootbos Private Nature Reserve onward to Hemel en Aarde Valley for an exceptional wine tasting experience. You arrive at approximately 11:00am where you will be tasting 6 different wines in the homestead cellar. At 13:00pm you will be depart and head off to the Creation Wines Estate, arriving at approximately 01:30pm. You begin your experience with a Wine & Food pairing as you discover the subtle secrets of flavour and texture and how the inherent qualities of wine and food can combine to create the ultimate taste sensation. To demonstrate the huge impact that food and wine has on each other, a delicious array of canapes, each specially prepared by Creations talented chefs to match a specific wine, are on offer. From here you head off to the Sumaridge Wine Estate and arrive at approximately 4:00pm for a short vineyard tour and a special barrel tasting in the wine cellar. We depart from the Sumaridge Wine Estate at 6:00pm and head back to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve just in time for dinner.

03 July

After a buffet breakfast with full English breakfast menu we take a trip to Walker Bay to hopefully catch a glimpse of the Southern Right Whales. We are accompanied by expert guides including botanists and nature conservationists with an all round knowledge of the flora and marine life of the region before transferring to Cape Town airport.

Depart Cape Town Arrive UK + 1

Price per person based on two sharing 1860

inc B & B Vinyard Hotel, Full Board Grootbus Nature Reserve, guided walks and drives within the reserve, horse riding. Transfers to and from the airport. 1 days Cage Diving at Dyer Island inc equipment

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