Thursday, February 16, 2012

February 9th – Valley of 1,000 Hills (Durban)

Today I went on a tour that took us out of the Durban urban jungle to the pretty Valley of 1,000 Hills. On a steamily hot day, it was slightly misty so I wasn't able to confirm whether there really were 1,000 hills, but it was a beautiful landscape of undulating hills and valleys stretching way off into the distance.

On the top of one of the hills, we visited a "Zulu cultural village" – although it wasn't exactly a genuine cultural experience, (a real zulu village would see people in western clothes watching TV and talking away on their mobile phones), the energetic dancing and pulsating drum beats were excellent to watch.

After the show, we went around their collection of grumpy looking crocodiles who could only be coaxed into moving when they were ungraciously poked with a long stick by the attendant, who they would then snap at angrily before resuming their role as crocodile statues.

For me, the highlight of the trip, was the chance to hold an enormously heavy python. Whenever presented with an opportunity like this in the past, as a bit of a snake-o-phobe, I've always been too chicken, so I did my best to pretend to look brave as the 50 pound python was put around my neck and slithered heavily over my shoulders. Every now and then, his head would rear up and look me straight in the eye – fortunately he decided not to strangle me or bite me, so I have lived to tell/blog the tale.