I think I may have said it a few times before, but I’ll happily repeat it over and over again, our Zulu cultural experience tour to iSithumba village is my favorite Durban day tour. To me it’s a magical place, situated in the heart of the Valley of 1000 Hills where the only sounds are the bellows of the Nguni cattle, the calls of African Fish Eagles and chatter of Weavers, and the happy voices of the Zulu residents of the village as they go about their day. Our latest Durban day trip to iSithumba Zulu cultural village was one of the best.

iSithumba Durban Tour

I collected my guests from their accommodation in Umhlanga and on the way to the Valley of 1000 Hills we all got to know one another. I also chatted to my guests about the origins of the Bantu people in South Africa and included the history of King Shaka kaSezangakhona.

View over KwaQimba Township in 1000 Hills

View over KwaQimba Township in 1000 Hills

Valley of 1000 Hills

Pretty soon we climbed up Fields Hill and were officially in the Valley of 1000 Hills. The name of the area was actually coined by Mark Twain of all people! We passed through the beautiful houses and estates that the area has become known for and then admired the rolling hills flushed with the green of sugar cane.

Finally we arrived at top of the township of KwaQimba. Here we took some pictures and then descended the steep road that once once used as a course in a Red Bull downhill skating competition into the valley folds. Here the pace of life differed greatly from what we had seen.

View of iSithumba and mGeni River

View of iSithumba and mGeni River

The traditional rounds homes (rondavels) decorated the hilltops around us, more modern homes kept them company. Cows, goats, chickens shared the roads with the friendly smiling faces of children, and adults waved at us from their comfortable seats under the shade thrown by acacias.

iSithumba

We got to the meeting point where our guide from iSithumba was waiting. Scebi (have fun pronouncing his name, there’s a click in there!) grew up in the village and was the proverbial fountain of knowledge. His story for how the village came to be named (iSithumba means “kidnapping”) was not only a fun story, but also went some way in explaining how Zulu people deal with conflict resolution.

Throughout the entire guided tour we were greeted by welcoming faces, children waved from afar, one even ran up and gave me a hug! At the Spaza shop (tuck shop) the men there got up and shook our hands and introduced themselves, the store keeper welcomed us in, and before we left, we got invited to sit a while with them, an offer we couldn’t take up because of time constraints.

Learning to weave a Zulu love breacelet

Learning to weave a Zulu love breacelet

The mGeni River

We got to to not only meet a number of people, but one of my guests even received an honor from the Sangoma (spiritual guide and healer) to unlock his place of practice (not even I, in all my years of visiting have been afforded that opportunity!). Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet the sub-chief as he was away on business, but it was still an amazing tour.

We finished up on the river where usually children would be splashing about and screaming with delight. Today however is was a bit cold so they kicked the ball around on a nearby school playground. Scebi described the importance of the river; not only a place for washing, getting water and playing in, but also a place for boys to meet girls.

This led into Scebi showing us how to weave a love bracelet out of the reed growing alongside the river. We all had a go, mine was a terrible attempt – this isn’t so bad as traditionally the girls make and present the bracelets for the boys.

PheZulu Safari and Reptile Park

Finally it was time to go. I could see my guests really didn’t want to leave. It’s so peaceful at iSithumba, life moves here at an acceptable pace, at the pace of the cattle. You feel so welcome that you could just simply stake out a spot and call it your own. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay, so we left with the same feelings of regret as saying goodbye to age-old friends.

Nguni cattle sleeping in the sun

Nguni cattle sleeping in the sun

Next up was a spot of lunch which was delicious! And then there was just enough time left for the Zulu cultural dance at PheZulu followed by a tour of the crocodile and reptile park.  All in all, a fantastic day out again.

Booking a Day Trip to iStihumba

If you want to book a Durban day tour to iSithumba, simply get in touch using any of the options below and we’ll make it happen.

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