The Valley of 1000 Hills
Durban & Dolphin Coast
The Valley of 1000 Hills – two ways to visit
The Valley of 1000 Hills is the name of the area just outside Durban (central part of the Dolphin Coast). It can be viewed from the old road between Durban and Pietermaritzberg. The route of the famous Comrades Marathon runs along the ridge which overlooks the Valley of 1000 Hills.
This is a beautiful scenic area with views over endless rolling hills, the home of many Zulu villages. However as South Africa has developed, the landscape and view is now one more of informal houses than mist-covered hills. It is still impressive but perhaps not the same as 50 years ago?
There are two ways to visit the Valley of 1000 Hills.
One is to have an authentic visit into the region, visiting some of the villages within the Valley. Rather than the tourist route overlooking the valley. You will visit a local Zulu village. Learn stories about the area from the people who know it best. Meet the sub-chief, traditional healer and have a home-cooked lunch with one of the families. The tour takes approx 6 to 7 hours. This is more authentic but for a true authentic understanding of modern day Zulu culture, you need to head more into rural Zululand.
The other the touristy version where you can stop on the Ridge road when driving from Durban to the Drakensberg and visit the rather touristy Phezulu Safari Park for some lunch. With great views over the Valley, browse around their good selection of craft stalls and enjoy a display of Zulu dancing at the ‘Zulu Village’. We don’t recommend you make a special effort to visit touristy version of the Valley of 1000 Hills tour from Durban.
A Note on “Zulu Cultural Villages”
However many people are interested in learning about Zulu culture and how people used to live. So there are many ‘Zulu cultural villages’ dotted around KwaZulu Natal.
These should be seen for what they are – an attempt to re-enact village life as it used to be. They can be worth visiting, especially if you have children with you. And often the Zulu dancing displays are very impressive.
BUT they will always be touristy because they are built for tourism. An apt analogy would be the ‘living village museums’ in the western world.
Please note that we don’t arrange these tours into the Valley of 1000 Hills as a stand-alone activity. Only as part of a tailor-made holiday booked with Cedarberg Africa