Valley of a Thousand Hills - Spectacular Landscapes
The evocatively named Valley of a Thousand Hills, 45 km from Durban, makes for a picturesque drive along the edge of densely folded hills where Zulu people still live in traditional homesteads, and which visitors rarely venture into. The spectacular landscape goes some way to soothing any misgivings you might have about ethnographic 'game viewing', but it's only worth a special effort if you're not exploring the Kwazulu Natal interior, where scenes like this occur in abundance. The trip to the valley and back can be done in half a day, but there are sufficient attractions laid on along the route to extend it to a full day's outing.
While the valley is best suited to touring in your own car, there are daily tours from Durban offered by Tekweni Eco Tours which take in the highlights. Alternatively if you're in Durban on the last Sunday of the month, take a vintage train trip with Umgeni Steam Railway, which boasts one of the largest collections of historic locomotives and coaches in the southern hemisphere.
If you're self-driving, head inland from Durban along the N3, following the Pinetown signs. At the Hillcrest/Old Main Road turn-off, right over the freeway onto the Old Main Road and continue along here following the thousand Hills Experience Route sign. Within a kilometer you'll pass the thriving Victorian-styled Heritage Market, with craft shops, restaurants and jewellery stores.