Tourism KwaZulu-Natal MEDIA STAT by fjzhxb

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									Tourism KwaZulu-Natal MEDIA STATEMENT
WILD OCEAN - WHERE AFRICA MEETS THE OCEAN

This year, the Sardine Festival 2009, which begins in June and runs until the middle of July, was launched on 25th February 2009 with the premier of Wild Ocean, an action-packed, inspirational IMAX® documentary exploring the interplay between man and our endangered ocean ecosystem. The film which was launched internationally highlights one of nature’s greatest migration spectacles – the Sardine Run - and plunges viewers into an ocean feeding frenzy.

Three years ago, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN), the Ugu District Municipality and the Natal Sharks Board launched a sardine festival to encourage visitors to enjoy all the attractions of the country’s best winter beach holiday destination while waiting for the first sardine sightings.

This legendary event can now be experienced courtesy of IMAX through the talent of world-renowned filmmakers, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. The narration is provided by the Tony Award-winning actor and playwright, John Kani. Witness the launch of Wild Ocean and the opportunity to dive into one of the world’s truly magnificent migrations only at IMAX, Menyln Park, Pretoria.

The Sardine Run is a unique event, and an expedition to explore the annual sardine migration along the eastern coast of South Africa is well worth the effort. The ‘run’ or migration of sardines begins in the cool waters south of the African Continent, where the tiny fish form into large swirling shoals of sardines in their silvery thousands. The sardines then head north east in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, massing into what we call the Greatest Shoal on Earth. 1

Speaking at the launch, TKZN’s Chief Executive Officer Ndabo Khoza said the Sardine Festival, well timed with the winter school holidays, was a perfect catalyst for unlocking the value offered by a multi-faceted destination such as the South Coast”.

Thousands of tourists wait for the chance to catch the sardines coming ashore. However, the movie, Wild Ocean, focuses on the legions of predators that congregate ‘en masse’ for this magnificent spectacle.

The waters literally boil with sharks, dolphins, Cape gannets, cormorants and seals. Orcas, sharks and penguins have also been known to follow the

shoals. Each species participates as predator and prey in the delicate food web of this South African oceanic ecosystem. The Sardine Run also coincides with the annual migration of Humpback Whales along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, when the whales move into warmer waters to mate and calve.

"Ugu South Coast Tourism’s Michael Bertram said “What more can be said about the sardine run. This spectacle has been filmed, photographed and relentlessly researched, yet we know so little. We can put a man on the Moon, and probes on Mars, yet we still do not know why the sardines migrate". The Sardine Run, for a scuba diver, is probably the greatest dive show on earth, with the ‘bait ball’ the ultimate highlight. For underwater photographers the opportunities are endless. To be right in the middle of this incredible scene with predator and prey fighting for their very existence is the ultimate dive.

Wild Ocean will be shown in 100 countries in the next 18 months and this proves to be a great marketing for platform for KwaZulu-Natal as this movie was shot in this KZN.

Issued by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Contact – Nqobile Majozi (031) 366 7514 Pinky Radebe (031) 3667551 2

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