Empangeni is a town situated on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. It is only a few kilometres away from Richards Bay which is one of South Africa's major ports and industrial areas. Many of the residents of Empangeni work at Richards Bay.
The name Empangeni is derived from the Mpange trees which grow along the river of the same name.
Although the towns history goes back to 1851, when a mission station was established on the site, it was only formerly established in 1894.
The area surrounding Empangeni is dominated by sugar-cane farms, although there is also some timber.