This strategic location is also acknowledged in the Provincial Spatial Framework which has identified Mandeni as the growth node in the north coast corridor. The construction of the new Dube Trade Port and King Shaka International Airport has much economic, social and employment implications for the municipality because of its location.
Mandeni Local Municipality is strategically located midway between Durban and Richards Bay, and lies on the development corridor on the North Coast between these two major port cities in KwaZulu-Natal. It is located on the major railway and road transportation routes which link these two economic hubs in KwaZulu-Natal. This strategic location is also acknowledged in the Provincial Spatial Framework which has identified Mandeni as the growth node in the north coast corridor.
The Tugela River bisects the municipal area thereby giving the area an important competitive advantage in the form of constant availability of water.
The municipal area has a very rich historical past.The historical events which occurred in this area include: the Battle of Tugela, which was fought on the slopes of Ndondakusuka in 1838 between a group of settlers from Port Natal under John Cane and Robert Biggar, and an impi of Dingaans forces, and the battle of Ndondakusuka in 1856, fought between King Mpandes sons Cetshwayo and Mbuyazwe; to contest the right of succession to the Zulu throne; and the ultimatum given to King Cetshwayos izinduna by the colonial authorities on 11 December 1878 at the Ultimatum Tree on the banks of the Tugela in the Mandeni Municipal area. This led to the invasion of the Kingdom of KwaZulu on 22 January 1879, and the start of the Anglo - Zulu War.
Other sites of cultural and historical interest are Cetshwayos Stone in eNdulinde, Nandis Kraal, the Swedish Mission south of Tugela, and Mpaphala, where the first registered sangoma lived.
The Ndondakusuka Military Kraal has been established to set out, in particular, the Zulu social and military system. The project includes site clearing at the Ultimatum Tree, Fort Pearson and at war graves, as well as the construction of interpretive, and arts and crafts centres.