Situated on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, Richards Bay offers a bio-diverse environment where industry and tourism have met with great success.The small fishing village of Richards Bay made up of approximately 200 residents started transforming when Sir Frederick Richards established a small makeshift harbour there during the Anglo Boer war in 1897. Officially proclaimed as a town in 1969, massive growth and development followed resulting in the harbour being converted into a deep-water port. Today the region boasts the second largest port in Africa.Today the region hosts diverse industry powerhouses such as the Bayside Aluminium Smelter, Mondi Kraft Paper Mill, Richards Bay Coal Terminal and Richards Bay Minerals. While the town boomed on an industrial level, residential development and tourism have also taken off in a big way in the region.As one of the closest seaside destinations to Gauteng, the area is a popular tourist spot. Richards Bay is rich in cultural and historical significance and the surrounding areas offers visitors a true African experience. Attractions such as the Duma and Shakaland Zulu Kraals, where Shaka Zulu forged his Zulu Kingdom have been firmly placed on the visitors’ must-see list. Regarded by many as the gateway to the many world-famous game reserves that are in close proximity, the area itself boasts the Richards Bay Game Sanctuary. Situated close to the harbour, the sanctuary offers naturalists a wide range of wildlife and birdlife, proving that commerce and nature can exist side-by-side. Developed in 1935 the lagoon was literally split into two, servicing the industrial needs on the one side while retaining the natural environment on the other.With a population of approximately 39 500 residents, the area has expanded dramatically and offers a multitude of shopping centres including the Boardwalk Shopping Centre, which is Richards Bay’s largest shopping centre. Here one can find everything from cinemas, restaurants, pubs and hundreds of shops. The yacht harbour at the Tuzi Gazi Waterfront houses a number of luxurious yachts and draws both sailors and international travellers alike. Ideal for water sports enthusiasts, the site with its pubs, shops and moorings is the perfect spot to kick back and relax.The suburbs surrounding the town have grown dramatically in recent years. Drawn by the job opportunities the area offers as well as the lifestyle of living in a seaside town, the region is serviced by a number of good schools.Richards Bay Junior and Senior Primary, Richards Bay High School as well as a number of highly-regarded private educational institutions service the area. Richards Bay Christian School is a non-denominational school and caters for children from grade R through to matric. Grantleigh School, which was established in 1997, is fast becoming renowned for its high educational standards.The Richards Bay of today has made significant inroads as an industry role player, as well as encompassing and optimising tourism in the area, making Richards Bay a sought-after area for both tourism and industry.
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