The Valley of a Thousand Hills is an area approximately 20 minutes by car from Durban, South Africa. It is named for the many hills, cliffs and valleys that rise up from the banks of the Umgeni River as it flows from the Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean. The valley has been home to the Zulu people for centuries and they continue to live here in their traditional homesteads and follow their unique lifestyle.
Botha’s Hill is a small town outside Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal. It is known as the gateway to the Valley of a Thousand Hills and is home to the PheZulu Safari Park and PheZulu Village. At the PheZulu Village, the world famous Gaza clan invites visitors to savour the taste and feel the rhythm of African in a ‘uniquely African experience’.
The journey begins with a traditional Zulu dance, during which traditional diviners ‘throw the bones’ and communicate with their spiritual ancestors. The zulu courtship customs and a wedding dance are performed in front a magnificently picturesque backdrop. Visitors are then invited to enter the Chief’s mother’s traditional beehive hut to watch how Zulu beer is brewed and various artefacts and rituals are explained.
The Boma restaurant, situated on the edge of the valley, offers traditional Zulu meals and crocodile steak however the most spectacular feature of the restaurant is the view. Apparently, the park has another restaurant that offers a unique ‘fear factor’ experience of having lunch inside a crocodile enclosure.
Our guide invites us to visit the crocodile and snake park but we opt instead to spend some time taking in the view and watching a flock of village weavers (also known as black-headed weavers) in a nearby tree. This bird derives its name from its habit of nesting near villages in Africa and the intricate basket-nests the males weave. They are social birds that not only breed in colonies but also feed in flocks. They are also very vocal and produce a streaming chatter with a repertoire of at least 15 different calls. The nests are built by the males and numerous baskets can hang from one tree – colonies of between 75 and 150 nests can be found. The males make the nests and use them to advertise themselves to females. The female will judge the male on his nest and, if satisfied, she will line it with feathers, grass and leaves and lay her eggs in it.
CRUISE: Silversea‘s Silver Cloud from Mombasa to Cape Town.