Protea Umfolozi River

3 out of 5 stars3 Stars

Off the N2, 40km north of Richards Bay, PO Box 127, Mtubatuba, Richards Bay, 3935, South Africa
Protea Hotel Umfolozi River
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Satisfaction Excellent
Very Good

Value Score Great Value!

Costs 35% less than similarly rated 3 star hotels

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  • Couples68
  • Solo100
  • Business100

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Travel Tips for Richards Bay

Richards Bay: economic powerhouse of northern KZN

by CatherineReichardt

(work in progress)
Over the past few years, I have had to travel fairly often to Richards Bay on business, and its fair to say that many of the town's visitors probably come for a similar reason. Unlike many of the other towns on the northern KwaZulu Natal coast, Richards Bay is not a major tourist destination, and is instead a hub of industrial activity, largely due to the excellent harbour and the establishment of an Industrial Development Zone (with attractive tax breaks for companies prepared to invest here).

BHP Billiton have two massive aluminium smelters in Richards Bay, Tata has recently commissioned a ferrochrome smelter here and Richards Bay Minerals mines mineral sands just outside town. Phoskor has a fertilisers plant, Sappi and Mondi process their forestry products and there are a plethora of other light and heavy industries. However, the town's major focus of industrial activity is the port which has been developed in the estuary of the Umhlatuze and Mzingazi rivers, which is now the second largest port in South Africa (after Durban). The Richards Bay Coal terminal at the port is also the largest export coal terminal in the world, and watching the enormous ships coming into and out of the port is fascinating.

Because of this strong industrial base, Richards Bay is a prosperous town, with property prices and a vibrant service sector to match.

I find the centre of Richards Bay to be unattractive and somewhat soleless, but I do like staying in the quiet and leafy Meerensee area just on the outskirts of town (see my accommodation tip). This is also close to the swish Tuzi Gazi marina development , and whilst I don't particularly like the ostentatious displays of wealth that usually accompany marina culture, I do enjoy the food and ambience of the (predominantly seafood) restaurants on the waterfront.

Richards Bay can be an expensive place to stay because of the number of business tourists coming through town, but there is good value to be had if you do a little research. Even though I have visited often, I still find the spread out design of the town somewhat confusing (and therefore suggest that you pick up a copy of the excellent town map from the tourist office at the airport).

All in all, Richards Bay's tourist attractions probably don't justify a dedicated visit, but is worth a stop if you're in the area. If you are doing a road trip through lovely northern KZN, it would be a good place to catch up on shopping and stock up on provisions.

Richard's Bay - South Africa's most important port

by MikeAtSea

The town was named after a British Naval commander Rear Admiral Richards who landed troops on the beaches of Zululand during the Anglo Zulu War.
Richard’s Bay took a dramatic development since 1976 with massive industry and a large port being developed to serve the coal and mining industry of Northern KwaZulu Natal as well as further inland as far as Mpumalanga. The change from a small fishing village to a vibrant town right in the middle of Zululand is quiet remarkable. Today Richard’s Bay is home to the largest coal terminal on earth loading more then 65 million tons of coal every year. With more then 1700 ships handled in this port every year or a handling volume of more then 80 million tons, more then half of all sea borne cargo is handled by the port of Richard’s Bay.
Another important aspect of the industry is the aluminium as well as paper industry which employs thousands of people in the surrounding areas of the city.
Richard’s Bay is surrounded by the region of Zululand with a number of Zulu traditional villages that are located towards the interior of the province.
Just north of the city it is game territory. Hluhluwe / Umfolozi the oldest game reserve is just over an hours drive to the North, other of the spectacular game reserves include the St. Lucia Wetlands Reserve, Phinda Private Game Reserve, Mkuze and Cape Vidal.


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