You are currently viewing Video: HUGE Zambezi Sharks Entering the Umzimkulu River
Umzimkulu Estuary in Port Shepstone at low tide

Video: HUGE Zambezi Sharks Entering the Umzimkulu River

Video: HUGE Zambezi Sharks Entering the Umzimkulu River

HUGE Zambezi Sharks entering the Umzimkulu River: each year, as the rains fall and the wet season kicks in, the Umzimkulu Estuary receives some extraordinarily large visitors.

Huge, pregnant Zambezi Sharks assemble at the mouth. They cruise up and down the backline, in full view of all the eager spectators. And then, as if on a cue of sorts, they enter the estuary at the same time. Swimming against the raging waters from the recent incessant rains, they negotiate their way right up the free-flowing estuary.


There are zero obstacles present in the Umzimkulu, to thwart this vital breeding migration upriver. They can swim, at these swollen river levels, past the first three rapids. Under the rail bridge. All the way up the next 5 or so rapids, to the corner just south of the cement factory in the Oribi Gorge. This is the natural barrier that the Zambezi Sharks are subject to. It’s the perfect distance up from the ocean – to give her live-born babies, a good chance to settle in once born.

Born live

With teeth. And ready to hunt and eat. We have caught many of these cute little sharks. From about two feet long, up to a metre and a half. These are the Zambezi Sharks that we see and catch in the river all through the year.

They grow up in the estuary. Venturing out to sea on occasion. And returning as they build familiarity and confidence. We know this because of the remoras aka sucker fish that we find on some of the bigger sharks.

At about a metre and a half, they manage to build up inside them, the highest level of testosterone of any animal on the planet. At this is size, this guy will bite you. Out of mischief if not out of curiosity.

Those really big mommas that gave birth in the beginning of this story, are not likely to find and bite you. Maybe on their way out, after giving birth, they must get really hungry. But they are there to give birth.

It’s their kids you need to worry about!


As the last free-flowing estuary in KZN, we need to protect this river and it’s biological functionality. As the breeding ground for Zambezi Sharks aka Bull Sharks, this is the very last one.

Sure, the St. Lucia estuary was finally wrestled back from the greedy. But since it spent the last two decades artificially closed, it has not had much chance to make a difference. That said, in the two weeks after the mouth there was opened…dozens upon dozens of baby Zambezi Sharks were seen swimming and hunting everywhere in side the estuary confines. Swimming in amongst the hippos and crocodiles! This means that the big mommas were waiting all this time. How long they might have been put through this torture…having to give birth out in the ocean as opposed to the estuary?

It is not proven yet, but common sense says that a Zambezi momma would return to the same estuary, that it was born in. And knows so well.

We need to protect the St. Lucia and Umzimkulu estuaries as if our marine life depended on it. Which they do!

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