Richards Bay originally started as a small harbour town named after the harbour owner Sir Frederick Richards, who set it up during the Anglo Boer War in 1879. For many years, the town was little more than a sleepy fishing town until a hydrographic survey revealed that Richards Bay had even greater development potential than Durban. However, the transformation of Richards Bay into the country’s largest harbour and the world’s largest coal terminal only happened in 1976.
Despite this, Richards Bay has some of the most spectacular wetland scenery and unspoilt beaches on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal. The Zululand Birding Route includes Richards Bay Harbour and the Game Reserve, known also as New Mouth, on its route. This part of the route covers sandbanks, mud flats, extensive mangroves, freshwater pans and forest areas and bird watchers can spot a number of rarities such as the cuckoo hawk and pygmy goose. New Mouth features a number of aquatic birds as well as hippos and crocodiles.