Cape Town – If you happen to stop by the quiet town of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, you will come across a few interesting activities to get up to - apart from soaking up the sun while making the most of the warm Indian Ocean beaches.
The small town is actually situated on a 30 square kilometre lagoon of the Mhlatuze River, which gives it one of the country's largest harbours. In fact, Richards Bay began as a makeshift harbour that was set up by Sir Frederick Richards during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
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At first, the avid explorer may think there isn’t much to do in the laid-back town, but if you’re a traveller who does their research and wants to make the most of this port town, you’ll find quite a few interesting things to partake in while visiting.
Here’s our pick of 5 things to do in Richards Bay:
Richards Bay Caravan Park
Within the coastal dunes of SA’s North Coast, Richards Bay Caravan Park offers caravan or camping sites, with a host of amenities including volleyball courts, swimming pools and an 18-hole mini adventure golf course. There are also on-site braai areas, a deep sea boat and car wash area, and even a separate fish cleaning area.
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Set in sub-tropical surroundings, the weather is ideal for camping or caravanning here at any time of the year.
The main swimming beach in Richards Bay is Alkantstrand. This beach is wheelchair friendly and is open 365 days a year with lifeguards on duty. It has a restaurant, braai sites and picnic spots.
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Enjoy watching vessels sail in and out the port, picnic alongside the beach, make the most of the warm water all year round, or simply watch a beautiful sunset.
Richards Bay is actually quite a popular surfing destination. In August 2015 it was selected by the governing body of South African Surfing, Surfing South Africa (SSA) to host the South African Surf Championships.
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Popular surfers from across South Africa came to compete at Alkantstrand beach for the event which was handled and coordinated by local surf club, King Cetshwayo Surfriders (formerly known as uThungulu Surfriders), and it turned out to be an extremely successful event.
Day tours and safaris
East Coast Safaris based in Richards Bay offers tours of “the unspoiled wilderness of Zululand”. It promises an “eco-tourism experience” with tours to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, St Lucia, Crocodile Centre, Estuary Cruise Shakaland, DumaZulu Cape Vidal, Mission Rocks and Sodwana Bay.
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Visitors can get to view the big five, spot abundant bird life, experience Zulu Culture and tradition, or dive the reefs of the sub-tropical coast.
Richards Bay Game Reserve
Swamp forest, Thulazihleka bird viewing - offering 300 species of birds, and the tidal mudflats and shallows south of the Mhlatuzi River are all part of Richards Bay Reserve.
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In this wetland – which is one of SA’s most breathtaking – see hippos, crocodile, the rare pink-backed pelican, flamingos and more. According to SA Venues, this area is also an important nursery ground for marine fish such as grunter, salmon, perch and yellowfin.
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