Empangeni is a town in the Kwazulu Natal province and originated when a group of Norwegians stored their mission post on the eMpangeni river in 1851. Later, the Norwegian missionaries moved further north-west. In 1905, many Eucalyptus trees were planted by the government as an experiment for the timber industry. It turned out to be a success and more wood plantations were started. Even today, the wood industry is still present around Empangeni, as are sugar and cotton plantations and animal husbandry.
Empangeni is located in a beautiful hilly area about 160 kilometers from Durban and 16 kilometers from Richards Bay. There is a subtropical climate, in summer the temperature during the day is on average 28.5 degrees but can also easily reach 45 degrees. In winter, the temperature is around 15 degrees during the day and it can be cold at night.
At 13 kilometers north of Empangeni you will find the 293 hectare Enseleni Nature Reserve, named after the river that winds through the reserve. The reserve is loved by birdwatchers since there are a number of special bird species including the African finfoot, Pels fishing owl, purple crested lourie and nightjars. But giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, impalas, waterbucks, divers and even hippos and crocodiles also live here. There are a number of picnic areas and two hiking / hiking trails in the reserve: the Nkonkoni Trail of less than 5 kilometers and the MvubuTrail of about 7 kilometers. You pay a small amount of entrance fee to enter the reserve.