“The Hills Are Alive!”
1 000 Hills Experience
If you’re looking for a break from the norm, the Valley of 1 000 Hills is the place where outdoor adventure and culture collide! A rich heritage combines luxury, laid-back country living with a vibrant yet ancient Zulu culture, giving the area a pretty distinct identity. The riverside valley has been home to the Zulu people for centuries, with many continuing to practice and live their unique traditional lifestyle mostly unaffected by the high-rise city on its outskirts. Guided tours deep into tribal lands, will afford you the incredible opportunity to explore the roots of real Zulu culture!
From the sticky-aired hub of the big city, to an endless coastline of beaches that stretch beyond beauty; from the lofty Sani Pass to the snow-capped heights of the Drakensberg Mountains, KZN offers a mishmash of wondrous places that’ll make your head spin and your heart smile.
Colourful expressive ceremonies, creative energy and an all-round vibrant atmosphere offer outsiders an experience they won’t soon forget. From traditional dance and cultural shows to ancient Zulu ceremonies. Gain insight into Zulu folklore at the home of the village headman. Visit a Sangoma as traditional diviners ‘throw the bones’ and communicate with their spiritual ancestors. Enjoy a meal with a local family; all while taking in the beauty of this riverside environment.
Plus there’s game drives, local curios to buy, wonderful views across the valley and a crocodile and snake park. For those with adventurous taste buds and a carnivorous hunger, you must try out a crocodile steak at PheZulu Crocodilians Restaurant.
Besides being immersed in the beauty of nature, with a network of hiking and mountain biking trails, a river, forests and hills, the warm-hearted hospitality of the Zulu villagers make this one for the memory bank.
TAKE A TOUR!
For all tour info visit: www.1000hillstourism.co.za
A DOSE OF DURBS
Bargain your way through The Vic
No trip to Durbs can be bona fide without brushing up your haggling skills at the Victoria Street Market – a veritable Aladdin’s cave, brimming with ceramics, ornate brassware, ethnic curios, not to mention pyramids of pungent curry powders and spices. More than just a market – it's a historic landmark built at the beginning of the ‘80s upon the heritage and passion of the famous 1910 Indian Market! Today ‘The Vic’ (as the Market is now known) is set in a huge building that resembles something of a Maharajah’s palace. Experience a relaxed blend of Durban’s Afro-Oriental atmosphere and pick up some great bargains. From fresh produce including meat, fruit, veg, fish and a seafood market, to spices, fine cut jewellery, brass ornaments, souvenirs, crafts, clothing and fabrics. And just next door you’ll find the ‘muti-market’, where you can step into the colourful world of ethnic medicine.
Time out at the Grey Street Mosque
Visit the magnificent Juma Masjid Mosque (also known as The Grey Street Mosque). It’s the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere and dominates Durban's central Indian district. Its gilt-domed minarets tower over the bustling commercial area, but inside the marbled worship hall is peaceful and boasts a simple elegance. Visitors are only allowed into this place of worship at certain times of the day and a strict dress code is enforced. No shoes are allowed to be worn in the building. Every Friday, Grey Street (now known as Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street) buzzes with activity as thousands of Muslims go to the mosque to pray. The mosque can accommodate about six thousand worshippers at one time!
Come nose to snout with a couple of sharks, with just a few millimetres of glass separating you, as you explore the wreckage of an old ship. uShaka Marine World is one of the five largest aquariums in the world, and also boasts a dolphinarium, seal pool, dive tank, snorkel reef and a water world warren of slides and pools for the kids and big kids alike! Conveniently located on the Durban People Mover route. Tel: 031 328 8000. www.ushakamarineworld.co.za
Eat a Bunny
You haven’t truly tasted Durbs until you’ve eaten a bunny chow. Grab yours from the Beach Hotel’s Pier 107 restaurant (within easy walking distance from a Durban People Mover bus stop). They’re famous for their bunnies and offer a nice sea view. Yum! Tel: 031 337 5511.
The Golf Coast
Any list of top tracks in KwaZulu-Natal must include the three terrific Peter Matkovich courses at Prince’s Grant, Cotswold Downs and San Lameer. Hugh Baiocchi’s Champagne Sports course at Winterton and the 18 holes of Tom Weiskopf’s Zimbali course are wonderful late 1990s designs. But, the “best in province” tag still belongs to the Old Durban Country Club layout that was first played in 1922!
Five Fascinating Facts
1. Nelson Mandela was not only arrested in KZN (in the town of Howick) back in 1962, but he then chose to return to the province after his incarceration to cast his first vote in Inanda, Durban as a free man in 1994.
2. The world’s tallest bungee swing is found at the futuristic Moses Mabhida stadium!
3. Umhlanga is home to the largest shopping mall in the southern hemisphere. Gateway Theatre of Shopping even boasts an in-house skatepark designed by Tony Hawk.
4. Durban harbour is the ninth largest harbour in the world and the busiest container port in Africa.
5. uShaka Marine world is the fifth largest aquarium in the world and the biggest in Africa!
TEN THINGS TO DO IN KZN THAT WON’T COST A CENT!
1. ONE FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site is a magnificent must-see site in Howick. It’s very significant sculpture seals our story of democracy. Plus, it’s surrounded by gorgeous scenery, making our history that much sweeter.
2. GET CRAFTY
Explore the Midlands Meander with studios, workshops and craftsmen galore! Don’t miss Karkloof Falls, Beacon Hill, and a selection of gorgeous nature reserves along the way.
3. STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
The Durban Botanical Gardens are known to be the oldest surviving public gardens in SA. Take a stroll and enjoy a picnic. There’s also an old slave bell and sunken gardens to relish in.
4. WET ‘N WILD
Lake St Lucia is one of the jewels of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lake is home to over 800 happy hippos, crocodiles, pelicans and flamingos. While there are paid activities such as boat cruises and scuba diving, you can also opt to explore the nature trails and relax on the beach without paying a cent.
5. FEEL THE EARTH MOVE UNDER YOUR FEET
Experience the earth-shaking boom of the one o’clock gun outside City Hall in Pietermaritzburg. This beautiful Victorian building is said to be the biggest brick building in the southern hemisphere. It also has a huge pipe organ and beautiful stained glass windows.
6. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
See nature from a bird’s eye view along the Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk. The walkway is ten metres high and leads through the forest canopy. There is also a 20-metre high viewing platform so you can lap up the views of the rolling hills and soaring Crowned Eagles.
7. SOLDIER ON!
KwaZulu-Natal has a massive number of battlefields, museums, and places of remembrance spread throughout the province – 82 to be exact! The best approach for a road trip (according to the Battlefields Route) is to choose an era, war or campaign, then select the sites you’d like to visit.
8. BE A BEACH BUM
There are many great beaches to choose from, but Pelican Island in Richards Bay is described as ‘a hidden Island in the busy city’. However, the beach gets pretty busy during peak times, so go early!
9. HEAR NATURE WHISPER
Enjoy blissful peace and quiet at Giant’s Castle in the Drakensberg. Go for a game drive, go fishing or go on a self-guided walk.
10. SHIPS AHOY!
The eight-metre-high Port Shepstone lighthouse is a landmark in the small seaside town and a great spot to sit and soak up the beautiful ocean views.