Pongola, with its own sugar mill, serves as a commercial centre for the sugarcane and sub tropical fruit farmers in the region but also as a base for tourists venturing here to experience the unique magic of Africa, in this game abundant region that is Zululand, "The Land of Nature Reserves".
Although the area was settled around an irrigation scheme started here in the 1930s, Pongola was only established in 1954. Wedged between the Swaziland border and the Pongola River from which the town takes its name, Pongola's situation on the N2 national highway affords its visitors easy access to the many attractions of both northern Zululand and The Kingdom of Swaziland.
The Pongolapoort Dam where a tiger fishing tournament is held every October lies a few kilometres east of the town, with Mkuze Game Reserve lying south east. Comfortable distances north east are the Ndume Game Reserve, The Tembe Elephant Reserve and the Kosi Bay Resort. Numerous smaller game farms lie in the immediate vicinity of Pongola.