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*All distances listed are as the crow flies, and not actual travel distances.
It’s exactly as the name implies; the Valley of a Thousand Hills in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa consists of green, rolling hills that extend beyond the horizon. The expanse is located midway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg and west of the N3 highway. Before visiting, stop in at the 1000 Hills Tourism Information Centre on the old Main Road in Botha’s Hill to work out routes and for advice on happenings in the area.
During the Pleistocene (ice) age, the sea receded and the rivers that remained gouged deep ravines, creating hill upon hill. As the earth warmed, the hills were gradually engulfed by plants that thrived under the heat and, but for a network of roads, a few farmhouses, reserves, villages and the occasional series of power lines, this is the scene presented to visitors today.
Protected by 15 conservancies, the Valley of a Thousand Hills is one of the few remaining untouched areas in South Africa. The area is known as the Kingdom of the Zulu where traditional Zulu villages with their trademark beehive huts are scattered throughout the area.
The Valley of a Thousand Hills has much to offer the traveller;
Stop in for an early dinner at Intaba View while sitting out on the restaurant deck and watching the sun set over the horizon.
Travel to the isiThumba Adventure Park to take up their hiking tour where you are guided along the picturesque Umgeni River to reach a spectacular view site on a rocky promontory.
Check out KwaZulu-Natal’s version of Table Mountain, a 960m-high mountain that the Zulus call emKhambathini or the place of Acacia trees.
Visit a Zulu village to engage with the locals and experience their way of life and culture. You may be fortunate enough to be offered a meal in a villager’s hut or to watch a traditional dance.
Other offerings include fishing on the Shongweni Dam, a train trip on the Umgeni Steam Railway’s steam train (last Sunday of every month), safaris, rock climbing and mountain biking.
For those who are a little adventurous and enjoy the company of other travellers, you can decide to stay at a Backpackers. Often having to share a room with others as well as costs, it is incredibly inexpensive. Often the best choice for those who may be just passing through or will be occupied for the majority of their day. It comes with the most basic amenities and is often formed as part of a bar or similar establishment. Not recommended for those who want privacy, this is best suited for those who wouldn’t mind meeting various other interesting travellers.