The town of Empangeni is a reasonably small settlement 160 kilometres east of Durban in KwaZulu Natal. Apart from being easily accessible, the town also boasts a good climate and excellent proximity to some of KwaZulu Natal's most popular game reserves.
The town is situated in the hilly landscape surrounding Richard's Bay. Empangeni is a mere 15 kilometres from this port town, and looks out over a flat coastal plain. It was established in 1931 and soon grew into a farming hub where sugar, cotton, cattle and timber are the most lucrative products. Despite its growth and development into a thriving commercial town though, Empangeni is often praised for maintaining its small town charm and traditional Zululand hospitality.
Empangeni, like most of the KwaZulu Natal coastline, experiences a subtropical climate which can be unbearably hot and humid. However the upside is that winters are pleasant - warm and sunny and perfect for a visit to the beach or a hike. Enseleni Nature Reserve for example, is situated 13 kilometres north of Empangeni, and is home to zebra and impala (among other mammals and birds), a number of picnicking spots and a 7 kilometre long hiking trail.
Empangeni is a pleasant enough place in its own right, but there can be no denying that it is most popular as a stop-over place en-route to KwaZulu Natal's game reserves such as Hluhluwe and Imfolozi. Many of the reserves in this area are home to the famous Big 5 and therefore especially popular among wildlife fiends.
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