I got lost on the drive to Valley of 1000 Hills, but had a fun side trip in Kloof. The Valley of 1000 Hills is named for the cliffs rising above the Umgeni River as it flows from the Drakensberg Mountains to the Indian Ocean. The valley has a temperate climate and is located in a gorge between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It’s home to the Zulu People, colorful birds, wildebeest, impala, blesbok, zebra, and giraffe.
“When Europeans arrived at the Port of Natal in 1825, the Valley of 1000 Hills was a remote area teeming with birds and game. Leopards occasionally spent the night on the veranda of the Gold Fields of South Africa Ltd. homestead in what is now the town of Kloof.”
Zulus live in the Umgeni and Shongweni Valleys near the Inanda Dam. They maintain a traditional lifestyle and “their colourful ceremonies and expressive, artistic culture give the area a vibrant atmosphere and creative energy.”
“PheZulu Safari Park offers cultural shows and traditional Zulu dancing. Visitors can enjoy game drives, shop for local curios, or explore a crocodile / snake park.” If you do nothing but sip espresso at a café, views of the Valley are phenomenal!
Zulu villages in the Valley include hiking and mountain biking trails for visitors.
Zulu BangleiSithumba is an authentic Zulu village in the Valley with a network of hiking and biking trails that allow visitors to explore the river, forests, and hills. I visited today and will return to hike in the uMngeni River and Nature Reserve between iSithumba and Inanda Dam.
Birds were elusive, but I’ve attached some beautiful professional shots. It was an educational and enjoyable day!