Tongaat – Sugar Producing District in a Lovely Town
Most South Africans will readily associate the name 'Tongaat' with 'sugar', and for good reason. Located around 37 kilometers north of Durban, Tongaat is one of the largest sugar producing districts in the world. The English colonial architecture of the town is a legacy from the 1860s when Indians were brought to South Africa to work as indentured laborers on the sugar cane plantations. Sugar production is so successful in KwaZulu Natal that it is often referred to as the 'green gold' of the province.
The name Tongaat was taken from the nearby River Tongati, the Zulu word for the indigenous trees that flourish on the river banks. Tongaat residents are predominantly Indian and the ornate Juggernathi Puri Temple, which was built in 1920 in a North Indian architectural style, is both a place of worship and a national monument visited by tourists. The Sri Siva Soobramaniar Temple also plays an important role in this close-knit community and hosts the annual Kavadi Festival with its many ancient and colorful rituals.
Crocodile Creek, a crocodile breeding center in Tongaat, offers visitors an exciting, but safe, view of these fierce predators, while the beautiful Amanzimyama parks and gardens offer a pleasant outing for the entire family. The nearby Dudley Pringle Dam buzzes with activity on weekends as family, friends and visitors enjoy the picnic spots and diverse water sport options. Of course, a visit to Tongaat should include gaining some insight on the product that supports this lovely town, and the award-winning Maidstone Sugar Mill is just the place to do this. So, when planning a trip to KwaZulu Natal, you may want to consider setting a day or two aside for visiting Tongaat.