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Zululand Yacht Club - the hidden secret on South Africa's Dolphin Coast

11 November 2008

Zululand Yacht Club - The Hidden Secret on South Africa's Dolphin Coast
Tuesday 11 November 2008

Yachts Mediterranean moored at Zululand Yacht ClubZululand Yacht Club (ZYC) is located in Richards Bay, longitude 32° 02' E and latitude 28° 48' S,  approximately 80 miles north of Durban, the commercial capital of Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Its location provides a natural gateway to major tourist areas on its doorstep, such as the St Lucia world renowned heritage wetland, home of the leatherback turtle and many other threatened wildlife species.

The club takes great pride in introducing visitors to their superb location on the dolphin coastline. The double story club-house sited on an expanse of well shaded green lawn allows a wonderful view of the surroundings. The balcony of the pelican bar on the upper level is a must fore those all important sundowners.  The a la carte restaurant on the ground floor, supplies reasonably priced meals to the bar area, beach or pool. Catering facilities may also be arranged via the restaurant to suit any occasion. A private pool gives much needed refreshment during the long hot summers and is pleasantly appointed within view of the club-house, beach and 'Sinkers', the wet bar.  A 14 site camping area is conveniently adjacent, with electricity and water readily available.

An entertainment officer schedules social events for the members and their visitors. Most social events tie up with the sailing events. Month end parties are organized by the entertainment committee in the Pelican bar every last Friday of the month. Every Wednesday their is a happy hour between 18.00 - 19.00 hrs where club members look forward to welcome visitors in true Zululand style.

The club's mission is:

    * To promote yachting in all its aspects including racing cruising seamanship and respect for the environment.
    * To promote social activities in the interest of the club members.
    * To promote sportsmanship, friendship and co-operation amongst it’s members.
    * To encourage its members to contribute, in every way, to their club.

Diagram of area around Zululand Yacht ClubFacilities include showers, laundry, restaurant, bar & swimming pool. Fuel and water is available and there is an on-site yacht chandler. A haul out cradle and crane for yachts (25t max), as well as workshop with 220v are available. Walk-on moorings, on-site campsite, and stevedoring services are also available.  Visiting foreign yachts are given the first two weeks free on the moorings or the wharf. If they are staying longer, they are required to take out membership, as well as a small fee if living aboard. 

Office Hours Monday to Friday 08h00 to 16h00 Mail is received and held for collection. Fax and photocopy, as well as long distance call-box available.When clearing out of the yacht club, yachts going have to submit a "flight plan" to port control after obtaining clearance from ZLYC, immigration, customs, and harbour revenue.

Richards Bay town

The town of Richards Bay offers all amenities, restaurants, banks, car hire, engineering works, etc. Game Reserves are in close proximity and various tour operators exist.  Hluhluwe and Phinda are two of the many game parks within driving distance. Tour operators are a local phone call away to take visitors to the big five also Isandlwana battle fields and historical monuments. Mtuzini and Cape Vidal have nature walks and we are on the birding route. Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay also boasts the best diving sites.

The Shipwreck in the Harbour Approach Channel

Her name is the ‘SS Newark Castle’, a Union Castle Line, extra steamer, of 6,224 (5,093) tons.  She was built in 1902 by Barclay Curle in Glasgow, and was under command of a Captain Neilson when abandoned.

According to one source she was on a voyage from London to Mauritius with draftees for the garrison at Mauritius and a general cargo that included a large amount of paper money. Another source has it that she was bound for Lourenco Marques from Durban…  She ran aground between Richards Bay and Port Durnford, a stone marker demolished long ago by the sea, on 12 March 1908. She was abandoned and three people lost their lives during the evacuation.

Thereafter she came free again and drifted 11 km before getting stuck again, almost opposite the Mhlatuze River. Here she swung broadside to the breakers and soon broke up.  Fragments reappeared decades later during dredging of the present harbour approach channel.  A buoy in the channel permanently marks the site.

Contact details

Physical Address: Richards Bay Harbour
Postal Address: PO Box 10387, Meerensee, 3901
Telephone: 035 - 788 0256 Fax: 035 - 788 0254

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