Richards Bay

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A cruising guide to assist yachts sailing in to Richards Bay, South Africa.

GPS: 28°48.6′S, 32°05.67′E
Gallery: Panoramio

Richards Bay is a city encompassing one of South Africa's largest harbours. It is situated on a 30 square kilometre lagoon of the Mhlatuze River, on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

There is reasonable access to the Kwa Zulu Natal Safari parks from Richards Bay so it makes for a popular stop-over for cruising yachts.

Submit details about the sailing in the area, etc.


  • S.A.N 1033 - Richards Bay Harbour
  • S.A.N 1032 - Approaches to Ricahrds Bay

Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets

  • SA Maritime Net: The South African Maritime Net operates 7 days a week, and provides weather reports from around the coast, and maintains contact with boats off the coast of South Africa and up into the Mozambique channel. There are two regular schedule times as follows:
    • 06:30 UTC: Starts on 14316 kHz for 5-10 minutes, and then moves to 7,120 kHz.
    • 11:30 UTC: Starts on 14316 kHz for approx. 30 mins and then moves down to 7,120 kHz.

Richards Bay Approach and Navigation Notes

Before entering the harbour channel, all yachts must call "Richards Bay Port Authority" on VHF channel 16 or 12 to request permission to enter the port.

Entry navigation details?

Richards Bay Check-in facilities


On arrival, foreign yachts MUST proceed to the Customs Dock and await the arrival of personel from Immigration, Customs and Health. This could take up to 24 hours and a friendly reminder on VHF to Port Control to re-notify these departments of your arrival is often helpful. Do not leave the vessel until ALL the authorities have visited your vessel and completed their documentation.

Update 2011/08: Health does NOT always come, probably depending on last port of call. Several yachts reported waiting up to 4 days for Immigration to show up. Calling Port Control did NOT help. The Zululand Yachtclub has the phone of a supervisor at Immigration, calling him helped.

There is no cost for these check-in procedures and no cost for berthing at the Customs Dock.

Customs and Immigration

Goods to declare:- Tobacco & cigarettes, Spirits, Wine, Saccharin, Narcotics, Beer, undesirable books/objects, Firearms, Articles for sale, or gifts.
N.B. Yachts should have a sealable locker/container if wishing to hold stores in excess of the allowance or for restricted goods (including firearms). This concession is only allowed once per person during a period of 30 days and is subject to an absence from the Republic of not less than 48 hours. Residents returning to South Africa after a period of less than 6 months do not receive duty-free allowances on new or used golf clubs, television sets, watches, firearms and fur skin apparel.

Those persons requiring South African visas can obtain them from any South African Consulate including the Consulate in Reunion. These can be obtained separate from your passport if so required. Ownership papers and a letter from the master accepting responsibility for the crew are necessary when getting visas. South African ensigns are not available from the Consulates at present, but can be purchased from marine stores on arrival.

The Immigration authorities must clear everyone aboard any yacht arriving from a foreign port and foreign vessels inbound from another South African port.

The skipper/owner must write a letter requesting permission if signing off crew. This is presented to the Immigration Department, together with a completed ARRIVAL form, passport, air ticket or bank guarantee, and visa or request for temporary permit for each crewmember. The application is then submitted for approval. It is the master's responsibility to ensure that written authorization is obtained before a crewmember leaves his vessel.
Note:- Anyone wishing to visit a neighbouring country must obtain a re-entry visa before leaving.

Richards Bay Marinas and Yacht Clubs

Tuzi Gazi - opposite the Customs Dock
Photo - Tuzi Gazi Marina
  • Tuzi Gazi Marina.
    A full-service, secure marina that is situated directly opposite the Customs Dock.
    Phone - +27 082 573 9910
  • Zululand Yacht Club.
    The ZLYC is a full-service marina that welcomes all foreign and returning South African yachts.
    Location map
    Phone - +27 (0)35 788 0256, Fax - +27 (0)35 788 0254
    P.O. Box 10387, Meerensee, Richards Bay, 3901

Tourism & things to do ashore

List places of interest, tours, etc.

Fuel, Water, & Electricity


Grocery Stores


Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal


Marine Stores & Facilities

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.



Transportation - local and/or other countries, etc.

Passages to/from Richards Bay

Popular routes, timing, etc.

References & Publications

Publications, Guides, etc.

Cruiser's Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

External Links

Links to relevant websites.

Personal Notes

Personal experiences


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