Situated on KwaZulu-Natal's fertile south coast, Richards Bay started out as a holiday town and has developed into a major port. It is situated on a lagoon in the Mhathuze river and its potential as a great natural harbour were confirmed in 1897 after a detailed survey was carried out.
Originally, the lagoon provided a home for a vast population of aquatic birds, attracted to the area by a rich supply of fish. Crocodiles, sharks and hippos frequented the lagoon, as did hunters and fisherman in search of trophies.
The town of Richards Bay was laid out on the elevated northern slope of the lagoon, overlooking a fine stretch of water. Today Richards Bay is a thriving industrial port with the surrounding areas offering game reserves, exotic vegetation and native villages providing the real attraction.
Richards Bay is one of South Africa's largest estuaries, home to a vast number of resident waterbirds and a magnet to migrant birds following the East Coast of Africa.