Centre for in situ Observational Oceanography

Waterfall Bluff
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Waterfall Bluff Waterfall Bluff is situated between Port St Johns and Port Edward at 31°S, 29°E. Not much research has been done on this area. It appears to be an important feature during the sardine run (Armstrong et al., 1991). From Waterfall Bluff, the sardines need to progress upstream to Aliwal Shoal. The Agulhas Current between Waterfall Bluff and Aliwal Shoal is very close inshore, due to an extremely narrow shelf in this region. Consequently, the current is very strong over this section. In the lee of Waterfall Bluff a resting place is found for the sardines. A hypothesis has been suggested that the sardines wait here, until the current moves slightly offshore, thus lessening along the coast and allowing the sardines to swim upstream to Aliwal Shoal.

Figure 1
Map of Waterfall Bluff region showing the 200m, 500m and 1000m contours.


Unknown at present.


  • Armstrong, M. J., Chapman, P., Dudley, S.F.J., Hampton, I. And Malan, P.E. (1991). Occurrence and population structure of pilchard Sardinops ocellatus, round herring Etrumeus whiteheadi and anchovy Engraulis capensis off the east coast of southern Africa. South African Journal of Marine Science, 11, 227-249.