You may be forgiven for having Richards Bay off your radar when it comes to domestic travel but rest assured there is plenty to do, see, taste, tempt and tantalise.
This coastal town, located on a 30km² lagoon of the Mhlatuze River in KwaZulu-Natal, situated halfway between Durban and Kosi Bay, boasts one of South Africa’s largest harbours and forms the tourist gateway to Zululand and Maputaland.
It's favourable climate all year round and awe-inspiring wetlands, unspoilt beaches, rich culture and an abundance of activities, make for an ideal destination for any traveller.
General Manager of BON Hotel Waterfront Richards Bay André de Klerk, shares with us his TOP 5 list of things to do in the area, adding that whether you are travelling as a couple, a family or attending a conference, there is something for everyone –
Hang with the locals
Lunch at the harbour is a must – enjoy delicious authentic curry dishes along with other mouth-watering options – but get there before 11h00 because it gets packed very quickly. The best spot to eat at is the kid-friendly, cosy KNK Curry restaurant.
Whilst you are hanging with your chouras at the harbour, hop onto the harbour cruise which takes you around the beautiful and scenic waterfront. The kids will love the dolphins skimming the wake or, even better, take a whale-watching trip and witness these majestic beasts from as close as 50 metres away.
The ever popular 5km Park Run on Saturday mornings sees the route going along the beach and through the forest over a mixture of gravel, trail paths, grass and piers – a refreshing, exhilarating start to your day. If running is not your thing but you are still keen to get in a bit of exercise, rent a kayak or hit the beach for a swim or kite surf.
Just an hour out of Richards Bay is the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. Home to the Big 5, you are assured of spotting all and more on a game drive or bush walk.
On the way to the game reserve, or better yet on the way back to your hotel, stop by Zululand Brewery - known as the smallest brewery on the KZN Brew Route, it is renowned for its flagship beer, the famous Zulu Blonde - cheers!
Other Richards Bay attractions include Empangeni Golf Course, Shakaland, Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, Emangeni Museum, Durnford Lighthouse, Naval Island, Pelican Island, Ten-Pin Bowling at Boardwalk Mall and The Crocodile Farm.