"Shark Sanctuary"

South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal


In Zulu, Vungu refers to the sound of a waterfall or wind in a gorge, which describes the strong nature of the deep sea currents that gush through the Vungu, Margate and Mzimvubu Canyons in the area.

This 1200 km2 proposed MPA is home to aggregations of seven species of shark, attracting thousands of tourists every year. Huge schools of hammerheads and raggedtooth sharks can be seen. This is the only place in the world where aggregations of giant guitarsharks have been seen. Home to species of fish, corals and comb jellies unknown to science, that rely on the strong currents to deliver food. The famous Sardine Run occurs in this area and locals anticipate new income initiatives when the new MPA helps support a thriving tourism economy. The proposed MPA is zoned to allow line-fishers to benefit adjacent to no-take zones, while sharks are fully protected throughout the MPA because of their ecotourism value. The proposed MPA extends from the Mzimkulu River in the north to the Mpenjati Estuary in the south. It adjoins the Trafalgar MPA and together they protect beautiful shores with diverse seaweed gardens, interesting beach fossils and rich deep water ecosystems. Further offshore, in the 40 to 1000 m depth range, spectacular deep reefs, submarine canyons and diverse sponge and soft coral habitats will be protected.



  • Important area for ecotourism (including the sardine run)

  • Home to 7 shark species

  • Unique deep reefs and three submarine canyons

  • Spawning area for commercial linefish (important for recovery)