Tongaat is situated approximately 37 km north of Durban – the name “Tongaat” is readily associated with “sugar” and for good reason as Tongaat is one of the largest sugar producing districts in the world.
Planning a trip to Durban can leave you with much to see and many areas to visit, for Tongaat we would recommend keeping one or two afternoons open to explore the well-known town. Aesthetically Tongaat is English colonial, but is distinctly cosmopolitan in flavour and home to the oldest Indian community in the country – the Hindu temple of Juggernath Puri, built in 1920 in a North Indian architectural style, is both a place of worship and a national monument visited by tourists.
It also goes without saying that 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.
Other highlights of visiting this small town includes the Crocodile breeding centre and the beautiful gardens and parks of Amanzimyama close to the entrance of the town. The Brake Village Kavady Festival is held close to Easter and is an amazing atonement festival to witness, characterised by the piercing of tongues and bodies with long steel needles and hooks to prove obedience and dedication to the Lord Murga, the Hindu deity of healing.
There is an abundance of accommodation in and around the Tongaat area, including Hotels, B&B’s, Guesthouses, self-catering units as well as camping and caravan park facilities.
Things to do and see
- Crocodile Creek
- Dudly Pringle Dam
- Maidstone Sugar Mill
- Juggernath Puri Temple
- Sri Siva Soobramaniar Temple
- Maidstone Golf Course
- Westbrook Beach, 6 km
Tongaat receives approximately 953 mm of rain annually with the majority of its’ rainfall occurring during the mid-summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 17˚C and 30˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 25˚C.
Tongaat’s history lies, as its future does, in sugar! Tongaat is a legacy from the 1860’s when Indians were brought to South Africa to work as laborers on the sugar cane plantations and today the predominantly Indian community are hosts to the annual Kavadi Festival with its many ancient and colourful rituals.
The name Tongaat was taken from the nearby River Tongati, the Zulu word for the indigenous trees that flourish on the riverbanks. Europeans corrupted the name to Tongaat.
In October 2010 the town Tongaat was officially renamed oThongathi and the Department of Arts and Culture published a correction of spelling of Tongaat to oThongathi in their government notice No. 848 of Gazette No. 33584.
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