Richards Bay

Richard's Bay is the largest city along the North coast of Kwa-zulu natal and is one of South Africa’s largest estuaries. The area is undergoing industrialisation, but the region still offers some of the best opportunities to see a wide range of migrant and resident water and seabirds. For birding, it is best visited with one of Birdlife South Africa’s accredited local guides, such as Junior Gabela.

In the South of Richard’s bay is the Southern Sanctuary which gives the best birding in the area. This area has mud flats, mangroves, sand banks and is an important area for sea-birds and waders. Many great birds call this area home, including the Western Osprey, Pink-backed and Great White Pelicans, Red Knot, African Pygmy Goose, Collared Pratincole and Yellow-Billed Stork. Although not common, the Mangrove Kingfisher has also been recorded in the Southern Sanctuary.

The massive harbour and estuary bring in a lot of rare birds. The sand flats provide excellent viewing of the marine Terns including the Sandwich Tern and Caspian Tern. The waders are plentiful with many sightings of Common Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greater Sand Plover and Terek Sandpiper.

The water in Richards Bay is provided by a large lake called Lake Mzingazi. This lake is surrounded by coasted dune forest and swamps which provide chances to see the Green Malkoha, Narina Trogon, Black-Throated Wattle-Eye, African Pygmy Kingfisher and Eastern Nicator.

Our top specials for the region are:

If you are planning a trip to Richard’s bay and want to make the most of your birding time, hiring a local BirdLife accredited guide gives you the best chance to enjoy every moment and see any special birds you desire. With Zululand Birding, Junior Gabela can show you the best spots and give tips to learn the local bird behaviour. A half- or full-day trip can easily be done in the city and surrounding areas, so be sure to add it to your wishlist when booking.