Richards Bay, Zululand

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.

Additional Reading


For more info about Richards Bay see our articles on the SA Travel News Blog:
Richards Bay for outdoor enthusiasts

Travellers' Reviews

2 Reviews from SA-Venues.com travellers. All reviews are verified.

Verified reviewvery good

I stayed at a bed and breakfast i think it was La Rochelle in Meerense for about a month. The rooms and people there were so friendly and the whole lay out of the bed and breakfast was amazing. The weather is so nice and hot there. The restaurants and the people there are so friendly and helpful, definitely not anything of what i am used to. went to a game reserve saw elephants and most nights was at Majitos. I never once felt out or not meant to be there - it was the most welcoming place and the best experience and made so many friends while i was there. Going out in the night was such a pleasure. I just cannot believe how amazing everyone is there almost like they are saved from society. Everything is so close to each other, no far distances to travel. I loved it was a absolute pleasure!!

July 2014

Kayleigh Nel (East London)

Verified reviewvery good

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 the days are boiling hot - the perfect ingredients to a summer vac!

January 2012

Caitlyn Herbert (Somerset West)

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