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Street in Empangeni
Street in Empangeni
Empangeni is located in KwaZulu-Natal
 Empangeni shown within KwaZulu-Natal
Coordinates: 28°45′S 31°54′E / 28.750°S 31.900°E / -28.750; 31.900Coordinates: 28°45′S 31°54′E / 28.750°S 31.900°E / -28.750; 31.900
Country South Africa
Province KwaZulu-Natal
District Uthungulu
Municipality uMhlathuze
Established 1851
 • Total 154.47 km2 (59.64 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 110,340
 • Density 710/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 91.3%
 • Coloured 0.8%
 • Indian/Asian 1.7%
 • White 5.9%
 • Other 0.2%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Zulu 84.5%
 • English 7.9%
 • Afrikaans 3.6%
 • S. Ndebele 1.3%
 • Other 2.7%
Postal code (street) 3880
PO box 3880
Area code 035

Empangeni is a town in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is approximately 156 kilometres northeast of Durban, situated in hilly countryside, overlooking a flat coastal plain and the major harbour town of Richards Bay only 15 kilometres away. The N2 freeway runs just east from Empangeni intersecting the John Ross Highway (R34) which connects Empangeni and Richards Bay.

The climate is sub-tropical with an average temperature of 28.4 °C in summer and 14.5 °C in Winter.


Empangeni has four major high schools, Empangeni High School, St Catherine's (a Catholic convent), Old Mill High School and Felixton College along with three major primary schools, Grantham Park, Heuwelland and Empangeni Preparatory School.

Zululand University lies a short drive to the south and The Owen Sitole College of Agriculture to the north.


Empangeni is home to a number of well known Christian Churches, such as Christian Family Church, Empangeni Methodist Church, AGS Empangeni, Victory Family Church, Full Gospel Church, Lutheran Church, Solid Ground Church, Empangeni Baptist Church, Uniting Reformed Church (Dutch) and the Catholic Church.

Notable Citizens[edit]

Empangeni is the birthplace of star tennis player Ian Vermaak and Ruve Robertson, who is now married to Hollywood actor Neal McDonough.

Local Media[edit]

Empangeni's local news media is covered by The Zululand Observer.[2]


In 1851, the Norwegian Missionary Society established a mission station on the banks of the eMpangeni river. The river was named after the profusion of Mpange trees (Trema guineensis) growing along its banks. The mission was later moved to Eshowe, 61 kilometres north-west. In 1894 a magistracy was established. The Zululand Railway reached the town in January 1903 and linked the area to Durban and Eshowe. The government planted eucalyptus trees in 1905 as part of an experimental timber plantation. The plantation was a success and led to a large scale planting along the coastal belt. In 1906 Empangeni became a village.[3] Rapid expansion began when a sugar mill was erected at Felixton. The establishment of the Empangeni Sugar Mill set the area on the road to rapid development. Empangeni was officially proclaimed as a township on 15 January 1931 and declared a borough on 13 October 1960.[citation needed]

For nearly a year in 1983 and 1984, the town was terrorized by 35-year-old Simon Mpungose, who was called the "Hammer Man" because he would break into homes in the dead of night and kill the occupants with a hammer before robbing them of their money and jewels.[4]


Ngwelezane is a township on the outskirts of Empangeni.[5] The township is home to the Ngwelezane Hospital,[6] which services the area with 554 beds.


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Empangeni". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Zululand Observer Team in Empangeni | Zululand Observer". zululandobserver.co.za. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  3. ^ "Empangeni history - Empangeni information - Empangeni tourist attractions - Empangeni tourist destinations - Empangeniaccommodation - Kwa Zulu-Natal - KZN - Zululand". www.kznnorthhappenings.co.za. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  4. ^ "November 29th Simon Mpungose � South Africa 29/11/1985". truecrimelibrary.com. Retrieved 2015-09-14.  replacement character in |title= at position 30 (help)
  5. ^ "Residents feel 'ripped off' by KZN municipality", eNCA, 10 August 2013
  6. ^ "Ngwelezane Hospital", KZN Department of Health, 04 August, 2015

External link[edit]

Media related to Empangeni at Wikimedia Commons