Richards Bay (Afrikaans: Richardsbaai) is a town in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is situated on a 30 square kilometre lagoon of the Mhlatuze River, which gives it one of the country's largest harbours. The town began as a makeshift harbour that was set up by Commodore of the Cape, Sir Frederick Richards during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. In 1935 the Richards Bay Game Sanctuary was created to protect the ecology around the lagoon and later by 1943 it expanded into the Richards Bay Park. The town was laid-out on the shores of the lagoon in 1954 and proclaimed a town in 1969. In 1976 Richards Bay harbour was converted into a deep water harbour with railway and an oil/gas pipeline linking the port to Johannesburg.
The town of Richards Bay boasts the country's largest harbour and some of its most magnificent wetland scenery. The town also offers the visitor entrance to Zululand.
Richards Bay is the main shopping town in the area and has a large shopping mall and supermarkets. However all of the smaller towns do have smaller supermarkets and shopping centers. There are a number of shops and roadside markets which sell traditional Zulu and Tsonga craft at which memento's can be purchased to remind you of your visit to this wonderful area.
Because Richards Bay is such a prime tourist destination as well as a busy economic centre in KZN, the town and suburbs abound with a variety of accommodation options. There are many beautiful B&B accommodation establishments, stunning Guest Houses, luxurious Hotels, Self Catering accommodation and also a lovely Caravan Park, one of two resorts in Richards Bay with private access to the beach.