Divers in romance (part 13) Exploring South Africa潛水員的浪漫(十三)探索南非

Many people have a general impression about South Africa, which is poor, has a high crime rate and had the laws of apartheid that were lifted after 1990, so did I before I travelled there. 


As I mentioned in chapter 9, which said that we watched a documentary about South Africa, we planned a trip to watch sardine run, great white sharks and seals.

After Camilla had done a research about sardine run, she figured out that there are two options. She has become an expert to arrange a diving trip, so I always praise and commend her.

She consolidated 2 options that are table d'hôte and à la carte, which mean set menu and individual dishes.

For set menu, some operators make use of a sea side resort, Mbotyi River Lodge, as a base to organise a 9 days trip, which includes scuba diving, microlight plane and land safari. The package usually has seven days to travel by inflatable boat in the morning and has other on-land activities in the afternoon. 

For individual option, someone who just wants to have one or two days to see sardine run may make a booking from local shops, there are some dive shops located at Port St. Johns. They may book whenever they want. Having watched the sardine run in the morning, they might have other favourite activities in South Africa.

This is a map that shows the location of Mbotyi River Lodge and Port St. Johns.
Mbotyi River Lodge and Port St. John
We flew by South Africa airline in early July. After we have registered our record on their web site, we received an invitation to bid an upgrade. We chose the lowest price for this bid. They accepted our bidding 3 days before departure. I am very appreciative this marketing strategy because their extra cost is the service of their lounges. I now understood why Cathay Pacific's business has gone down. 

We flew to Johannesburg where Hong Kong has direct flight. Then we flighted to Durban. As South Africa airline is a local based airline, they have the most convenient counters for their passengers, which is just next to the exit of the custom.

We booked from one of the trip operators, SEAL that means expeditions sea air land, and another operator mainly targets the Russians. They picked us up from the airport to the lodge. The journey was around 7 hours, so the sky has been dark when we arrived at the lodge. We picked up a room next to swimming pool. 
Mbotyi River Lodge
We were giving a briefing next morning. They require us to have a valid diving insurance that is not only a travelling insurance. The most common agent that provides such insurance plan is DAN, Diving Alert Network, which I mentioned in Chapter 7.
The below video shows what we have expected to see.


After the briefing, we rode on the inflatable boat, which shows in the next picture. We needed to push it out of the beach all together.
inflatable boat
After we have jumped on the boat, the caption drove it as a surf-boat to ride on the swells, which shows on the below picture.

inflatable boat
The caption then patrolled along the coast, observed the weather, gathering of birds, sea conditions, and received the information from the pilot of microlight plane who patrols along the eastern coast  between the north of Mbotyi River and port St. Johns. 

microlight plane
Having found sardine swimming under water, the cape gannets dive into water to catch them as showing in the below video.


This is a video for our trip.





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