Unspoiled natural beauty welcomes runners and fans

A vintage black and white postcard which photographer Shelley Kjonstad found in an old book.

A vintage black and white postcard which photographer Shelley Kjonstad found in an old book.

Published Jun 9, 2024


Durban — This week’s “Then” photo is a vintage black and white postcard inscribed “View of Valley of a Thousand Hills from Botha’s Hill, Natal”, which photographer Shelley Kjonstad found in an old book.

The more recent photograph taken from the same spot shows there has been very little change in landscape, and the 1000 Hills, especially around Botha’s Hill and Drummond areas, remain remarkably unspoilt and still offer unrivalled majestic views.

This view has particular relevance this weekend as up to 23 000 long-distance runners will snake their way over the hills tomorrow for the 97th running of the Comrades Marathon – an “up” run for the first time since 2019 – starting at the Durban City Hall and ending 12 hours later at the Hollywoodbets Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg, a distance of 85.91km.

Supporters of the world’s largest and oldest ultra-marathon will line the route and enjoy the 1000 Hills experience as the hospitality industry puts its best foot forward to ensure there are ample meals, refreshments and activities for visitors.

There are also other options for athletes to run through 1000 Hills. Every Saturday at 8am, departing from Infinite Adventures in Botha’s Hill, there is a 5km Park Run for participants to either run or walk through the beautiful valley. The “Now” photograph was taken from the road just above Infinite Adventures.

The beauty of the Valley of 1000 Hills remains unchanged. | SHELLEY KJONSTAD Independent Newspapers

1000 Hills, one of the most beautiful, historic and interesting places in greater Durban, is only 20 minutes from Durban, in easy proximity to King Shaka International Airport, and en route to Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands.

It is close enough for a leisurely day trip, a perfect weekend getaway or a special occasion. The Valley of 1000 Hills offers a variety of accommodation and much to do, from markets to nature trails, game drives to train rides, good food and venues for special events such as weddings.

Attractions include PheZulu Safari and Reptile Park, the Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market, Fig Tree Farm, the AmmaZulu Sculpture Park and AmmaZulu Palace, Woza Moya, the Kloof and Highway SPCA, Infinite Adventures, and Hillcrest Paintball.

A special feature is the Umgeni Steam Railway, the volunteer association that is the home of steam locomotive preservation in KZN, which offers public outings on their vintage steam train, which departs from and returns to Inchanga most month-end weekends.

A few times a year, the world comes to 1000 Hills when major sporting events – the Comrades Marathon, Dusi Canoe Marathon and Amashova Cycle Race – take place on their doorstep.

These initiatives are supported by 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation. Visit them on https:// www.1000hillstourism.co.za/

Independent on Saturday