Rehua - Richard’s Bay, first stop in South Africa

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Our first stop in South Africa hasn’t disappointed. After nearly a month off-grid in Madagascar and Mozambique, it was nice to be back in ‘civilization’ with access to luxuries such as online grocery shopping, a well-stocked chandlery, a choice of local bars and restaurants, shopping malls and cheap internet data. To be honest, our first trip to the mall was a bit overwhelming, especially as it was “Black Friday” and the crowds were huge. Richards Bay is a just a couple of hours (by car) north of Durban and it’s the first port of entry along the South African coast. We are staying at the Zululand Yacht Club, often referred to as the friendliest yacht club in the world. It’s true – the people here have been extremely welcoming and helpful. Clearing into the country was very easy. Natasha, the local cruising association rep, welcomed us at the quarantine dock and had already arranged all the formalities, as well as a driver to take us to Customs, the cellphone shop (for a local sim card) and then the supermarket. Just a few hours later, we were tied up to the dock at ZYC and we were off to the bar for some welcome drinks with other cruising friends we hadn’t seen since Tanzania and Mayotte. Richards Bay offers some spectacular wetland scenery and unspoiled beaches, famous for their surf. There are several game reserves nearby and the area itself is home to many rare birds as well as hippos and crocodiles. After a few days of boat maintenance and some minor repairs, we went for a short safari to nearby Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park. We rented a car and drove around 90 minutes north. First stop was St Lucia, a cute little town next to a lake famous for its hippos and crocs. We spent the night in a game lodge and the next morning packed up early to head to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park. The reserve is the oldest in Africa and covers around 96,000 hectares (370 square miles) of wilderness. The big five can all be found there and it’s possible to self-drive (which we did). After a couple of days away, we were happy to return to Rehua and sleep in our own beds again. Home sweet home.

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