Port Shepstone was founded in 1880 and named after Sir Theophilus Shepstone, administrator of native affairs in Natal.
The Mzimkulu (‘the great home of all rivers’) is the largest river of the south coast and Port Shepstone is the administrative, commercial, educational and transport centre on this portion of the coast. In 1882 246 Norwegian immigrants were landed at Port Shepstone and these farm people played a large part in the development of the area.
The products of the district are sugar, marble, sub-tropical fruit and timber. It is the end of the railway line from Durban and offers a variety of attractions as a holiday resort.
The Banana Express, is a historic narrow-gauge steam train dating back to 1907. It operates a number of scenic excursions each week from Port Shepstone inland to lzotsha and to Paddock Station, a national monument 550 meters above sea level. Tourists and visitors can leave the train at Plains Station and join a conservancy ranger for a fascinating Baboon View Trail and ramble in the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, followed by a barbecue in an authentic bush boma. Another excursion is going part of the way by coach and then by train, taking in the spectacular view sites of the Oribi Gorge.