The Valley of 1000 Hills is named after the many hills, cliffs and valleys which rise up from the banks of the Umgeni River as it flows from the distant Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean. The diverse area combines the luxury of laid-back country living with an ancient, indigenous culture on its doorstep. The valley has been home to the Zulu people for centuries, with many continuing to practice and live their unique traditional lifestyle.
The Valley of 1000 Hills is KwaZulu-Natal’s doorway, situated close to the beautiful beaches of the Indian Ocean as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, further inland. On the crest of the hills overlooking the valley are leafy suburbs and village centres, which have astonishing views and a year round holiday climate of warm summers and cool winters.
These villages offer all the creature comforts one would expect from a holiday destination, including spas, B&Bs, fine dining, sophisticated shopping centres, outdoor adventure and local arts and crafts unique to the area. If you’re looking for a break from the fast pace of everyday life or the exhilaration of the outdoors, the Valley of 1000 Hills is the place for you. We trust that you will enjoy your stay and come back again and again.
From the establishment of European settlers to the vibrant Zulu culture which gives the area its distinctive identity, the Valley of 1000 Hills has a rich heritage.
When Europeans arrived at the Port of Natal in 1825, the Valley of 1000 Hills was a remote and isolated area teeming with game. WS Field was one of the first Europeans to settle in 1851, and leopards were said to occasionally spend the night on the veranda of the Field homestead in what is now Kloof.
Within a few years a wagon route opened up between Durban and the interior, close to what is now the Old Main Road. The establishment of the railway line linking the goldfields with the port rapidly followed the discovery of gold in the Transvaal in the 1880s, and the rail and road traffic through the 1000 Hills increased.
Explore the roots of Zulu culture
Many local Zulu people have maintained a traditional lifestyle in the Umgeni and Shongweni Valleys, giving the area a powerful sense of history and identity. Their colourful ceremonies and expressive, artistic culture give this area its vibrant atmosphere and creative energy. Explore the roots of Zulu culture by taking an organised tour deep into tribal lands. You can witness ancient Zulu ceremonies, as traditional diviners ‘throw the bones’ and communicate with their spiritual ancestors at pheZulu Safari Park. PheZulu also offers traditional Zulu dancing and cultural shows, as well as game drives, local curios, wonderful views across the valley and a crocodile and snake park. For those with adventurous taste buds and a carnivorous hunger, try out a crocodile steak at pheZulu’s Croctilians Restaurant.
Vuk Africa Tours and Training
Vuk Africa Tours and Training offers an immersive Zulu cultural overnight stay. Visitors are welcomed into a family home as a guest, not a tourist, allowing for a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the life of the Valley of 1000 Hills’ people.
Full Day Tour
This tour takes you on a unique journey, where you will see a traditional healer, beadwork women, traditional houses and the world renowned sounds of Zulu music and dancing. Lunch is either served at a family home or as a tasty picnic braai. A visit to an orphanage showcases the ‘real’ South Africa, its issues and its beautiful children.
You experience all that is experienced in the day tour, but also spend the night engaging with the locals and sleeping in a family home or rondaval (round house).
Half Day Tour
This tour gives you a glimpse of modern day Zulu culture and allows you to venture into the Valley of 1000 Hills, see traditional houses, visit a traditional healer and buy beadwork directly from the ladies that make it. It’s perfect for anyone with limited time, who still wants to get a new understanding of the world of the Zulu people.
iSithumba is an authentic Zulu village in the Valley of 1000 Hills, situated on the banks of the uMngeni River and at the foot of the impressive granite boulder, iSithumba Mountain. A network of hiking and mountain biking trails allows the explorationn of river, forests and hills. Besides the beautiful nature, the warmhearted hospitality of the Zulu villagers will leave you with an unforgettable experience.
Village Explorer Tour
Gain insight into Zulu folklore at the home of the village headman and visit a Sangoma (traditional healer) to learn about Zulu spiritual beliefs and practises. Also enjoy a meal with a local family and experience the beauty of this riverside environment.
Valley Explorer Tour
Extend your Village Explorer Tour with an overnight home stay that allows you to feel the pulse of life in this rural village and explore more of the natural treasures of the uMngeni River Valley.
Bush Discovery Special
Adventurers discover hidden natural treasures of the uMngeni River Valley between iSithumba and Inanda Dam. After exploring iSithumba Village, you make your way to Mfula (“River”) Store, a homely self-contained cottage in the heart of the valley. Overlooking the majestic terrain you continue the tour until the top part of Inanda Dam, where you overnight in a local homestead. On the last day, you finish the tour close to the dam wall at the eNanda Adventures Trail Centre.
Download 1000 Hills Experience Brochure (3.61MB)
Enquiries: 031 777 1874