14 Best Things To Do In Richards Bay, South Africa - Updated 2024

things to do in richards bay
Anne Marie
Anne Marie 
Updated
| 4 min read

There is no shortage of great beach cities in South Africa, a country known for its dramatic coastlines. One of its bustling but easygoing beach cities is Richards Bay, located in the KwaZulu-Natal province. Richards Bay started as a small fishing town, but it is now home to a large harbor which also happens to be the deepest natural one on the entire continent. It is also known as the gateway to Zululand and embodies the area’s natural beauty and diversity. Richards Bay is home to wetlands that contain thousands of species of birds, and it is close to reserves where you can see Africa’s big mammals too. For tourists who wish to explore the best of this town, there are plenty of self-catering accommodations and Airbnb vacation rentals that provide great stays. If you think this might be your next vacation destination, read on for the best things to do in Richards Bay, South Africa.

1. Explore thrilling water sports at Five Mile Beach

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Located in the region of KwaZulu Natal, this beach invites tourists with its shores. Situated 60 meters (196.85 feet) above the sea this coastal treasure is a drive away from the lively city of Richards Bay. Richards Bay is famous for its year-round summer vibes and thrilling water sports like windsurfing and canoeing. If you’re looking to prolong your visit the convenient Richards Bay Caravan Park is 5.3 kilometers (3.29 miles) away making it an excellent base, for exploring all the amazing wonders this beach has to offer.

Five Mile Beach

Address: Richards Bay, South Africa

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2. Eat at Portuguese On The Bay, renowned for its sumptuous seafood dishes

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Nestled at the scenic Tuzi Gazi Waterfront in Richards Bay, this restaurant is a culinary gem. Renowned for its sumptuous Portuguese, Mediterranean, and seafood dishes, this family-friendly establishment guarantees an unforgettable gastronomic experience. From spicy Portuguese Chourico and juicy Chicken Espatada to succulent prawns and hearty plates of pasta, the expansive menu caters to all palates.

Not to miss are their signature dishes, including the Prawn Chicca and Full Chicken prepared the traditional Portuguese way. Owned by the passionate Goodness Sikhosana, the restaurant radiates warmth and hospitality, promising more innovative offerings in the future.

Portuguese On The Bayy

Address: Harbour Arterial, Richards Bay, 3900, South Africa

Website: Portuguese On The Bay

Opening hours: 11am - 9:30pm (daily)

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3. Satisfy your pizza and pasta cravings at Panarottis Richards Bay

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Panarottis Richards Bay is a popular Italian food chain known for its monster-size servings and kids’ build-your-own pizzas. This family-friendly Italian joint takes pride in following century-old pizza-making traditions while using the freshest ingredients available, ensuring that every product that comes out of the kitchen is of the finest quality.

Aside from delicious pizzas, Panarottis is also big on serving the best pasta in the country, using only the best 100-percent durum wheat imported straight from Italy. Other kinds of grub to enjoy include salads, subs, grilled meats, waffles, and desserts.

Panarottis Richards Bay

Address: Krugerrand Gr Shop 32a, Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre, Richards Bay Central, Richards Bay, 3900, South Africa

Website: Panarottis Richards Bay

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 9am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 9am - 10pm

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4. Discover the real Africa at East Coast Safaris

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by East Coast Safaris on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

This tour offers the ultimate African adventure as you get to see lions, rhinos, leopards, elephants, and the African buffalo in their natural habitat. Aside from the Big Five, you also get to see other wildlife including a wide variety of exotic birds only an African safari can offer.

After meeting and greeting the wildlife, you may choose to learn more about the fascinating Zulu culture and tradition or dive the reefs. Or, you can also spend a relaxing afternoon deep-sea fishing.

East Coast Safaris

Address: 3 Blue Marlin Moorish Idol, Meerensee, Richards Bay, 3901, South Africa

Website: East Coast Safaris

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5. Get a full body workout while having fun at Redbase Paintball

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Thinking about what to do next with the gang? Why not declare war with other groups by challenging them on a fun paintball battle at Redbase Paintball. It’s not just about fun and games as it actually requires a strategy to win a game. And did we mention that it’s a full-body workout? You can also book the place for birthday parties, bachelor’s parties, team buildings, and other big events. Check out this fun sport and have a great time!

Redbase Paintball

Address: South Central Arterial, Richards Bay, 3900 South Africa

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6. Have a relaxing afternoon of retail therapy at Boardwalk Mall

ZA-richardsbay-mall-1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Balou46 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

For all your shopping needs, go to the heart of Zululand! Boardwalk Mall has everything you need as it features 160 stores and entertainment spots—it has everything from chic home decors and en vogue outfits to a wide variety of food options and cinemas. It’s definitely a one-stop spot for all your needs. And because the shopping center is located pretty much in the middle of the city, it would be hard to miss it! Spend a relaxing afternoon shopping at Boardwalk Mall.

Boardwalk Mall

Address: 3900, 0A Mark Strasse, Richards Bay Central, Richards Bay, 3900, South Africa

Website: Boardwalk Mall

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 6pm; Fri: 9am - 7pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 9am - 3pm

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7. Chill on the beach at Naval Island

Naval Island, Richard's Bay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ossewa used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Richards Bay’s coastal location means that its beaches are plentiful. One of the most popular places to visit in Richards Bay is Naval Island. It features a long and sandy shoreline with shady trees on one side and the bright blue ocean on the other. The warm water and gentle tides make this a great place for swimming or stand-up paddleboarding. Naval Island is accessible via car and there is plenty of parking available if you’re bringing your car along.

Naval Island

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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8. Go on a Harbor Cruise via Advantage Harbor Cruises

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

One of the best and cheap things to do in Richards Bay is by going on a harbor cruise offered by Advantage Harbor Cruises. These one-hour boat tours will bring you around the beautiful harbor which is full of aquatic wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might spot a dolphin, birds, and other ocean animals while touring around. You will be provided with life vests, but make sure to bring your own drinks, snacks, and outerwear if it’s a windy or rainy day.

Harbour Cruise via Advantage Harbour Cruises

Address: 1 Pioneer Street Tuzi Gazi Waterfront, next to the Slipway, Richards Bay, 3901, South Africa

Website: Advantage Harbor Cruises

Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)

Price: 11 USD

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9. Browse the shops at Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Whether you’re shopping for souvenirs or you forgot an item while packing, Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre is your go-to retail spot in Richards Bay. This mall has dozens of stores with various items for sale such as men’s and women’s clothing, toys, books, jewelry, and more. The mall also has a food court with lots of cuisine options, whether you’re hungry for a full meal or a snack to fuel your shopping adventure.

Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre

Address: Kruger Rand Rd, Richards Bay, 3900, South Africa

Website: Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 6pm; Fri - Sat: 9am - 7pm; Sun: 9am - 3pm

Price: Free

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10. Go hiking at Enseleni Nature Reserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Richards Bay and its surrounding area are filled with stunning natural beauty and you can see it in full display at Enseleni Nature Reserve. This protected reserve is a popular destination that is well-known as an excellent spot for bird-watching and adventure activities in Richards Bay. The reserve is named after Nseleni River, which runs through the park and creates coastal grassland that attracts many kinds of birds. For those looking to spot larger animals, the reserve is also home to giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and hippos. Explore the park on foot by taking one of the two hiking trails through the swamp forest.

Enseleni Nature Reserve

Address: 3901 N2, Neerensee, Richards Bay, 3901, South Africa

Website: Enseleni Nature Reserve

Opening hours: 7am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

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11. Splash around at Alkantstrand Beach

Alkantstrand Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Svwmal used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A trip to Richards Bay wouldn’t be complete without taking a swim at one of the area’s many beautiful beaches. One of the best options where you can splash around is Alkantstrand Beach, a sandy beach that is the perfect place for both getting some sunlight and watching the sunrise and sunset. The beach has a large parking lot and several pavilions where you can set up a picnic. There are also several lifeguard stands, making this an ideal place to bring the entire family.

Alkantstrand Beach

Address: Richards Bay, 3900, South Africa

Website: Alkantstrand Beach

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

Price: Free

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12. Stroll on the beach at Pelican Island

Though Pelican Island is not a real island as it’s connected to the mainland by an access road, the beach is peacefully secluded from the main activities of Richards Bay. With the swaying palm trees, sandy shore, and gently lapping waves, you will feel like you’ve come across your own desert island. The gentle waters are ideal for fishing and are warm enough to swim in. This beach is also dog-friendly, making it convenient if you’re traveling with a pet.

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13. Go fishing with Pappabeer Fishing Charters

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The waters of Richards Bay offer a fantastic opportunity for outdoor activities in Richards Bay, especially fishing. The bay’s rapid depth increase makes it an ideal spot for fishing near the shore. Pappabeer Fishing Charters is one of the most reputable and popular companies in the area. They offer fishing trips around the bay, which are led by knowledgeable and experienced leaders. Whether you are a newbie to fishing or an experienced fisher yourself, you’re bound to catch one of the many species of fish that can be found around the bay.

Pappabeer Fishing Charters

Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 20 USD

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14. Spot wildlife at Richards Bay Shore Excursion (from USD 305.0)

Catch amazing wildlife walking around on the Richards Bay Shore Excursion. This full-day tour, offered by Viator, starts off in Richards Bay and takes participants to the oldest game reserve in South Africa. Keep an eye out for rhinoceros, elephants, lions, leopards, and over 300 species of birds during the morning drive through the reserve. After a light lunch, you’ll learn about Zulu cultures and traditions at Gooderson DumaZulu Lodge and Traditional Village, which presents visitors with displays of crafts, drumming, and dancing.

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Richards Bay Shore Excursion: Pvt Small Group Hluhluwe & DumaZulu

Duration: 7 hours

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An easygoing city with lots to do

There is so much to do in and around Richards Bay that you could live there for years and still find new things to explore. Nature and animal lovers will love seeing the many different kinds of birds that make their home in the wetlands. Plus, guests also get easy access to reserves where bigger animals roam. Those looking for a cultural experience can spend hours wandering the city’s art galleries and shops. For those just looking to relax, that is easy to do with many sandy beaches to lounge on. Richards Bay is one of the most popular holiday destinations in KwaZulu-Natal, so come explore it for yourself.

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Frequently asked questions about things to do in Richards Bay, South Africa

1. Which things to do in Richards Bay are ideal activities for outdoorsy travelers?

Outdoorsy travelers in Richards Bay can enjoy hiking at Enseleni Nature Reserve, fishing with Pappabeer Fishing Charters, and shopping at Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre. These activities offer a blend of natural beauty, adventure, and retail therapy for a well-rounded outdoor experience.

2. Which places to visit in Richards Bay are a must-see for nature lovers?

Richards Bay offers numerous must-see attractions for nature lovers. Explore the authentic African wildlife at East Coast Safaris and embark on hiking adventures at Enseleni Nature Reserve to immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Anne-Marie, a publishing professional by day, harbors a fervent desire to explore the world whenever she can. Though she hasn't discovered the entire globe yet, her eagerness to learn and write...Read more

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