Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa
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The town is a centre for the sugar cane industry with a large sugar mill nearby. The area also supports large timber plantations.
The town is a railway junction between Richards Bay to the east and the interior. 10km from the town is the campus of the University of Zululand. In 1905, the first experimental plantations of eucalyptus were undertaken. South of Empangeni is Ngoya - the University of Zululand.
The Empangeni Art and Cultural History Museum occupies an old building originally erected by sugar farmers in 1916. The hall was used for meetings, weddings, church, library and gym before being renovated for use as a museum. The hall was once used as a movie theatre and bookings were made by placing a stone on the seat!
The museum has four main areas - an art gallery, the Harrison Collection which displays the life of early sugar farmers, the Zulu Heritage Collection of beadwork, basketry, clothing and carvings from the Mthethwa Clan (a Zulu life video is also available) and finally an Activities Room for the use of schools and workshops.
The Empangeni Art & Craft Centre is situated in the CBD and is takes a traditional Zulu form. It is home to a variety of crafters and holds street theatre, Zulu storytelling and jazz sessions.