Shore Excursions

Shore Excursions from Richards Bay 2023

The first real season of shore excursions from Richards Bay has been a fantastic opportunity to flex our tourism muscles post covid.

The last few weeks have really been busy thanks to the cruise ships which had delivered 1000’s of tourists from around the the world to the shores of Durban. Now this is not unusual (well, pre-covid that is) but what is unusual is that many of our tours have actually been in Richards Bay.

In the past I guess there were enough tour guides in Richards Bay to handle the cruise ships arriving but these days is seem not to be the case. So because there was a shortage, I started getting a number of queries and bookings from guests arriving in Richards Bay.

Quicklinks to the tours

  1. Rorkes Drift and Isandlwana Excursion
  2. Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve Excursion
  3. Elephant Experience and Hluhluwe Game Reserve Day Trip
  4. St Lucia Estuary Cruise and Game Reserve
  5. Contact Us

Shore Excursion Options from Richards Bay

Richards Bay is actually a great port to explore Zululand from. If you are into wildlife and safari excursions, then there is the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve, St Lucia (iSimangaliso), Mkuze and a few others; there are the many reserves to enjoy an overnight safari to as well.

If history is more your thing, or perhaps you just want to do something a little different, you can visit the battlefields of Rorkes Drift and Isandlwana and even turn the visit into an overnight visit starting in Richards Bay and finishing in Durban.

Many of the cruise ships to plying their trade around our coastline will stop at Richards Bay on one day and then head to Durban the next (or visa versa) which means you can arrange on overnight stay at someplace different.

Here are the options I offer for shore excursions in Richards Bay.

1. Day trip to Rorkes Drift and Isandlwana

Rorkes Drift is about a 3 hour drive from Richards Bay, so easily accessible to cruise ship passengers. Typically we want to get going as early as possible, so the day excursion really depends on what time the ship docks.

A steep hill called isandlwana is surrounded by dark clouds in the afternoon sky. In the foreground lay piles of stones painted white to mark the remains of fallen british troops.
The hill called Isandlwana where the battle occurred in 1879

On the way to Rorkes Drift and Isandlwana I (or my able colleague) will cover the reasons for the war in the first place which will help pass the time, although no one cane get bored on this trip as the views are astounding!

Typically we’ll spend around 4 hours on the battlefields themselves which includes a picnic lunch. We visit both Isiandlwana and Rorkes Drift battlefield. Then it’s back into the vehicles and we return to Durban.

Because of the roads, the distances involved and the type of tour this is, we restrict the tour to just 8 pax per vehicles, and usually have 2 vehicles.

If you’re wanting a little bit of a deeper experience, you can turn this in to an overnight tour and stay at the beautiful Rorkes Drift Hotel. This means you can explore not only Rorkes Drift and Isandlwana, but Fugitives Drift or Spionkop as well before being dropped off back at the cruise ship in Durban.

Click the links below for more info;

2. Hluhluwe Imfolozi Day Trip

The Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve is the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa and is home to the big 5. The park is just 90min from Richards Bay which means it is a perfect destination for those wanting to enjoy the great outdoors.

Female white rhino and her calf approach us on a late afternoon game drive

On this day trip you’ll head to the park with us and on the way you’ll get to learn a bit more about South Africa, Zululand and of course the park. On arrival you’ll then transfer into an open safari vehicle and get to enjoy a couple of hours of beautiful, natural African veld and spot the animals that live there.

Lunch will be in the park and depending on the numbers of guests, will be a light picnic lunch or a traditional South African braai (barbecue). Typically we get going back to the ships again at around 4pm depending on what time we entered the park.

Now if the ship is travelling the next day to Durban, then you can turn your visit into an overnight safari tour. You’ll stay at Hilltop Camp in the game reserve and get to visit St Lucia for a 2 hour cruise on the trip back to Durban.

For more info on this shore excursion, click on the links below;

3. Elephant Experience and Hluhluwe Tour

Around 2 hours from Richards Bay is the private reserve of Bayete Zulu. Living their best lives on this reserve are Rachel and Rambo, two adult elephants that were orphaned when their herd was culled many years ago, today they roam free on the reserve with their own personal minders.

Once a day, at around 11am, these two elephants make their way to a boma where they know they’ll get some treats – and this is where you’ll get to meet and interact with them.

The whole experience is truly magical and I have witnesses burst into tears out of cheer joy when the get to meet the elephants – such a special moment for everyone!

After this we’ll head into the nearby Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve where you’ll get to enjoy a picnic lunch and then spend a few hours enjoying the game the park offers before heading back out to Richards Bay.

This tour like the others can be made into an overnight experience. For more info, click the links below.

4. St Lucia Estuary and Game Reserve Day Trip

Around an hour and fifteen minutes away lies the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you can enjoy a 2 hour estuary cruise viewing hippo in the estuary as well as crocodile and other animals.

The mouth of the St Lucia estuary with hippo and visitors enjoying their day

Afterwards you’ll get to enjoy a game drive through the Eastern Shores Game Reserve as well as have a spot of lunch in the nearby town of St Lucia, famous in South Africa for the random hippos strolling up the main road.

This in of itself is a full day out, but you can add an overnight component and stay in St Lucia for the night or head to Mpila Camp in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve and spend day 2 spotting the big 5 at Africa’s oldest proclaimed game reserve, the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve.

For more info on the St Lucia estuary day trip, follow the links below;

Contact Us

There are great options for cruise ship excursions in Richards Bay, many more than I have mentioned here such as overnight stays at luxury camps such as Thula Thula and more.

For more info on any of my tours, or if you’re a travel agent putting together shore excursions, or you just want to say hi, then use the convenient contact form below and get in touch!

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