Richards Bay, Zululand
Once you've booked your Richards Bay accommodation explore our pages for info on attractions and what to do in Richards Bay.
The town of Richards Bay lies at the sea edge of an ancient floodplain, almost halfway between Durban and Kosi Bay and forms the tourist gateway to Zululand and Maputaland.
Richards Bay began its life as a makeshift harbour, set up by Sir Frederick Richards, after whom it is also named, during the Anglo-Boer War of 1879. For many years, the town was little more than a sleepy fishing town until a hydrographic survey revealed that Richards Bay had even greater development potential than Durban. However, the transformation of Richards Bay into the country’s largest harbour and the world’s largest coal terminal only happened in 1976.
Despite this, Richards Bay has some of the most spectacular wetland scenery and unspoilt beaches on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal. The Zululand Birding Route includes Richards Bay Harbour and the Game Reserve, known also as New Mouth, on its route. This part of the route covers sandbanks, mud flats, extensive mangroves, freshwater pans and forest areas and bird watchers can spot a number of rarities such as the cuckoo hawk and pygmy goose. New Mouth features a number of aquatic birds as well as hippos and crocodiles.
Richards Bay is also fairly close to Gauteng and serves as a sea destination for many who want to escape the city life. It is a vibrant town that now actively markets a new concept in tourism - Industrial tourism. Groups in town for business are able to visit industrial plants, mines and other operations, particularly relevant for Richards Bay as some R1-billion is to be spent on expanding the export capacity of the harbour to 92 million tons of coal by 2008.
Richards Bay has excellent recreational facilities and visitors can enjoy art galleries, fishing, beachcombing, bird watching, surfing, swimming, canoeing as well as some wonderful drives in and around Richards Bay. One such example is inland from Gingindlovu to Eshowe, via the Nkwalini Valley to Empangeni - a gorgeous drive.
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Richards Bay Reviews
"Richard's Bay has so much going for it in terms of things to do, but all I can do when I'm there is indulge myself in hours on the beach. The water is warm and ..." - Caitlyn Herbert, Somerset West
Visitorials: We Love South Africa
Richards Bay Visitorial
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We’ve asked those in the know to share their favourites things about Richards Bay. Find out where locals go for the best cup of coffee, lunch suggestions and much more. We’re letting you in on all of their secrets ... I Love Richards Bay because ...
Featured Attractions in (or near) Richards Bay
Found just outside the little town of Eshowe, the Dlinza Forest is one of two indigenous forests that lie close to one another in this southern part of Zululand; the other is Entumeni. Dlinza, 250-hectares of incredibly beautiful forest bisected by numerous walking trails and a 10-metre high aerial boardwalk, is ... more information
The Empangeni Country Club was formed in the early 1900's and photographs of the first Club president and honours board indicate that record keeping was initiated in 1921. The original 18 hole Golf Course was laid out and maintained by predominately farmer members. In the late 1980's, Peter Matkovich was ... more information
The Enseleni Nature Reserve is a small reserve of 293 hectares lying just inland from the town of Richards Bay, almost midway between Empangeni and Richards Bay. Obviously it is a popular day's outing for visitors to the area, and the coastal grasslands and forest that dominate the reserve are particularly ... more information
The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site on 1 December 1999. It is considered South Africa's third largest park and extends from Mapelane (Cape St. Lucia) in the South, to Kozi Bay in the North. The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park incorporates ... more information
The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in South Africa along with nearby St Lucia Reserve. Set in the heart of Zululand this is the oldest game reserve in Africa, where Zulu kings ... more information
Now known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, St Lucia Wetland Park lies on the north eastern edge of KwaZulu-Natal. The incredibly beautiful series of beaches, coral reefs, lakes, swamps, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands that stretch all the way from Kosi Bay, virtually on the Mozambican ... more information
Mapelane Nature Reserve is the southernmost reserve within the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park. The Mapelane Nature Reserve is situated on the south bank of the Umfolozi River where it enters the sea, opposite the little village of St Lucia. The reserve is an enchanting one offering splendid walks through tropical ... more information
The Reserve has remnant stands of swamp forest, the Thulazihleka Bird viewing hide in small swamp and the Tidal Mudflats and shallows south of the Mhlatuzi river. 300 species of birds have been recorded in these habitats including several rare migrant species new to the list of KwaZulu Natal birds ... more information
Whilst the name of the route brings the battlefields of Ladysmith, Colenso, Dundee and Volksrust to mind, Route 66 is of a slightly different nature. Rather than heading up and around the N3, Route 66 takes one along a parallel route, slightly further north east, that links the towns of Gingindlovu, Eshowe, Melmoth, Ulundi ... more information
Umlalazi Nature Reserve is a strip of green on KwaZulu-Natal's north coast at the town of Mtunzini, roughly half an hour's drive from Richards Bay. The reserve is probably most famous for its protected group of Palmnut vultures, and the raphia palm forest, even if this (the forest) is strictly ... more information
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