I collected my guest from a backpackers in Durban and we headed out to the Valley of 1000 Hills on our Zulu Cultural Day Tour. The Valley of a 1000 Hills describes and area that lies about 45km west of Durban (an easy 30 min drive). It’s in this Valley of 1000 Hills area that the rural and peaceful village of iSithumba lies, our destination for the morning.

KwaXimba village from the top of moneseel

Zulu Cultural Day Tour

On the drive to the village of iSithumba I chatted quite a bit about the history of Durban and the Zulu people, as well as about the various suburbs we passed on the way to the Valley of 1000 Hills.

entrance to iSithumba adventure

Finally we arrived at the gate of iSithumba Adventure where we were to meet our local guide Scebi for the iSithmba tour. This tour does require some walking, fortunately it’s not too far, and the weather wasn’t hot at all like it can get at times.

meeting our local guide Scebi

We met Scebi and started off by a short history of the area. The name “iSithumba” is a Zulu one, and means “kidnapping” in English. The name comes from an incident long ago in the villages history that involved a neighboring village (I wont spoil the story!).

sangoma at iSithumba

 Sangoma at iSithumba Village

Our first stop on the tour was a visit to the local Sangoma. Songamo’s are responsible for the spiritual and mental well being of the villagers, they also have the ability to see into the future and are well respected. They are usually called to serve by the spirits (ancestors) and can be male or female and of any age. Once being called to serve, the individual will serve an apprenticeship of sorts before being able to practice on his or her own.

a spaza shop at iSithumba village

Visiting the Spaza Shop for Sweets and Cold Drinks

From the Sangoma, we headed off to the spaza shop. This little shop is the center of life in the village, where day to day basics like bread and milk can be purchased, as well a soaps, beer and other indispensables! Next door is the games room where 2 men were deeply involved in a game of pool.

interior of a zulu cooking hut

Visiting the Cooking Hut

Our next stop was at the sub-chief’s house. Unfortunately he was attending to business so we couldn’t meet him (this is a working village afterall, not a mock village) but were pleased to be able to view the cooking hut on one of the sub-chief’s wives (he has 2 wives).

scebi our guide showing us how to weave a zulu love letter

Scebi showing us how to weave a Zulu love letter

Traditional Zulu Love Letter (Bracelet)

After thanking the sub-chief’s wife for her hospitality, we walked down to the river. The river in the Zulu community has always served as the life blood for the village. The river serves not only has a source of fresh water, or cooking water etc… but also as a place where the young men could meet young girls that were fetching water from the river.

It’s here the boys would propose to the girls, and if the proposal was accepted by the girl, she would present to him a woven grass bracelet as a symbol of her acceptance. Scebi our guide showed us how to weave the bracelet, but we weren’t very good at it.

nguni cattle on our isithumba tour

A great day at iSithumba Village

Finally it was time to go. Scebi was a great guide who was very patient with us as we had many questions. He was also very proud of his village and that shone through in the gentle way he treated everyone including us. After a traditional Zulu handshake, we departed. Thanks Scebi!

wash day at isithumba village

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Country and Coastal Touring are registered tour guides and operators based in the city of Durban, South Africa. We offer a number of day tours, overnight tours and multi-day tours to choose from, and we are able to plan tours to accommodate your time requirements or interests.