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PHEZULU SAFARI PARK AND THE VALLEY OF A THOUSAND HILLS

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We heard a lot about the Zulu Cultural Village at Phezulu Safari Park that is situated just outside Durban. It has been on out bucket list for a while. Therefore, on our latest trip in-and-around KwaZulu Natal we set out to Phezulu Safari Park early morning to catch the first dance show.

Overall, the experience at the park was pleasant, yet, I was quite distraught (being vegetarian) when I put two and two together when I realized the Bombo Restaurant located on the property offers crocodile meat dishes while the Crocodile & Reptile Park is situated close-by, featuring some rather overweight crocs.  Whether or not the crocs in the park is slaughtered to provide croc meat for the restaurant(s) at Phezulu Safari Park is unknown to me, yet, Ill prefer not to support the park again before I know where their croc meat is coming from.

Yet, I’ll still present this travel guide to visitors or families who would like to know more about a visit to Phezulu Safari Park. I therefore, invite you to join me on a cultural journey as we explore the park nestled in the beautiful Valley of a Thousand Hills.

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT PHEZULU SAFARI PARK

  • KwaZulu-Natal has a pleasant climate year-round. December to January can be hot and humid.  May to August is quite warm and provides a nice break from the winter surrounding the rest of the country.   
  • The park is not open over the annual Comrades weekend.

FACT FILE

Location Info

Continent: Africa
Country:  South Africa
Province:  Kwazulu-Natal
Location:  Botha’s Hill, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg
Coordinates:  29º45’15.33”S, 30º43’22.72”E

THE TOP 5 FUN FACTS ABOUT PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

  • Beware of the Coffin! – The Green Mamba is native to Phezulu Safari Park and has a coffin shaped head.  This distinctive feature is a deadly omen of how dangerous this creature really is.
  • Hello Grandpa – A 90-year-old Nile crocodile is one of the most senior inhabitants of the Crocodile & Reptile Park.  
  • Plus Size Model – Cleo, the Burmese Python, loves to flaunt her beautiful body to all the squeamish visitors to the park.  She boasts a massive 49 kg.
  • 100s and 1000s – Just as the chocolate sprinkles, the park has over 100 resident crocodiles.
  • Happy Giraffe – Phezulu Safari Park is home to the world’s friendliest giraffe.  Pop in to meet this friendly and loveable creature!

THE TOP 3 ACTIVITIES AT PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

  • Game Drive – A good experience for the whole family via a 4x4 game drive.
  • Reptile & Crocodile Park Tour – The Reptile & Crocodile Park features some of the weird and wonderful creatures and critters of our planet.  
  • Cultural Village Tour & Zulu Dance – The Cultural Village is at the heart of the park and provides visitors a glimpse into the Zulu history of eons past. The tour starts with a traditional Zulu dance.

THE TOP ATTRACTIONS AT PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

EDUCATIONAL GAME DRIVE

Photo credit By Marie-Berdine Steyn

Photo credit By Marie-Berdine Steyn

Looking for a school outing with a difference?  Send the kids on an educational game drive. This is a standard game drive, but the game rangers take the time to educate the little ones on all things fauna and flora, the local medicinal plants available as well as the game roaming the area.

190 Old Main Road, Botha’s Hill, Outer West, Durban -3610

Phezulu Safari Park+27 31-777 1205

SEGWAY GAME RESERVE EXPERIENCE

If you are feeling quite adventurous and looking for something different to do, then book a Segway game reserve experience.  This is a two-hour expedition that will give you a glimpse of the park in a different way.

190 Old Main Road, Botha’s Hill, Outer West, Durban-3610

Phezulu Safari Park+27 31-777 1205

TOUR OF THE SNAKE & CROCODILE PARK

Photo credit By Marie-Berdine Steyn

Photo credit By Marie-Berdine Steyn

The Snake & Crocodile Park section offers a variety of creepy crawly’s on display.  You can learn about anything from the local snake population, ancient crocodiles to hairy tarantulas.

190 Old Main Road, Botha’s Hill, Outer West, Durban-3610

Phezulu Safari Park+27 31-777 1205

TRADITIONAL ZULU DANCE SHOW

At the Cultural Village there are daily Zulu dancing shows.  These shows offer a glimpse of the culture of the Zulu clan who still live on the property, the Gasa Clan.  The dancers are very friendly, experienced and offer the opportunity to understand their traditions better.

190 Old Main Road, Botha’s Hill, Outer West, Durban-3610

Phezulu Safari Park+27 31-777 1205

PHEZULU CULTURAL VILLAGE

Photo credit By Marie-Berdine Steyn

Photo credit By Marie-Berdine Steyn

The Phezulu Cultural Village Tour takes place after the Zulu Dance Show and provides tourists with a glimpse into the ancient culture of the Zulu people, their customs and traditions as well as all that make them unique.

190 Old Main Road, Botha’s Hill, Outer West, Durban-3610

Phezulu Safari Park+27 31-777 1205

CLIMBING OR HIKING NEAR PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

HOW TO CLIMB OR HIKE PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

Phezulu Safari Park does not have specific hiking trails.  Visitors can walk around in the park on their own, but serious hikers or climbers will need to venture outside.  The surrounding area are famed for trail running and famous marathons held there, as well as wonderful rock climbing facilities.

TRAIL RUNNING AROUND PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

These trail runs are held in close vicinity to the park and surrounding areas.  The distances vary and can be completed by anyone from an amateur to the more serious trail runner.

  • King of Phezulu Trail Run – This trail run finishes at Phezulu Safari Park.   
  • Karkloof 100 Miler
  • 1000 Hills Challenge
  • Lesotho Ultra Trail Run
  • Drakensberg Northern Trail Run

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSE-BY PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

The Monteseel Rock Climbing Routes are a wonderful way to spend the day.  There are over 300 different rock climbing routes for beginners to advanced climbers. Some traditional climbing spots are still open, but a lot of the routes have been bolted already for an easy, safe climb.

The Mountain Climbing Association of South Africa offers guides that can help you navigate any wall.  

The better-known routes are:
  • Adam Apoplexy (Hallucination Wall) – Ideal for beginners to advanced climbers.
  • Angel Dust Direct – A more advanced climb.
  • Cain on the Think Wall – A superb climb for beginners.
  • Eastern Buttress
  • Western Buttes – Ideal for a shaded afternoon climb.
  • Middle Buttress

OUR TOP TIPS FOR VISITING PHEZULU SAFARI PARK

A certain portion of Phezulu Safari Park is accessible on foot to visitors who want to walk around, as well as the Reptile and Crocodile Park.  The majority of the park, though, is only accessible via guided game drives, and not open to the general public. Some basic requirements for visiting Phezulu Safari Park are:
  • Shoes – Basic training shoes will do, but for trail running or rock climbing, proper hiking / climbing boots will be required.
  • Water – Keep hydrated!
  • Clothing – Dress comfortably when going for extended walks.
  • Sun Protection – A hat, sunscreen and/or sunglasses can come in handy.  
  • Camera – Take a good camera with you. Ensure all the batteries are charged.

THE TOP 5 EVENTS HAPPENING IN-AND-AROUND PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

  • Comrades Marathon – The famed “human race” takes place every year between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.  An event well worth supporting even if you don’t participate. Unfortunately the park is closed during this time.
  • Duzi Canoe Marathon – This canoe marathon is held every year in the rivers flowing through the Valley of a Thousand Hills.  
  • Vodacom Durban July – This sought-after horse racing event is attended by the who’s who in the country.  This is the one event each year where you can dress in your best to watch a horse race.
  • The Midmar Mile – The swimming event is hosted at the Midmar Dam (close to Howick).  All swimming enthusiasts alike participate in this event.
  • The Victorious Women High Tea / Luncheon – During March each year, this High Tea is held in Durban.  It aims to inspire and develop the leadership skills of all women.   

WHAT TO EAT AT PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

  • Sweet Tooth – More of a sweet tooth?  Try one of the delicious cakes available at the restaurant.  They have a ‘cake of the day’ special and other options to choose from.
  • Coffee or Traditional Beer? – Fancy sampling some traditional beer or a variety of coffee?  The Phezulu Village offers an opportunity to sample some traditionally brewed beer.  Apart from beer, the two restaurants in the park have included a coffee menu for patrons to sample different coffee flavors.

GETTING TO PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)  

Phezulu Safari Park is located about 35 km from Durban, very close to Botha’s Hill. approximately five and a half hours drive from Pretoria, on the N3 highway. The toll road is in a good condition with regular fuel stops. Durban has an airport if you don’t feel like spending time on the road.

GETTING AROUND-AND-ABOUT AT PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

The park is accessible with a standard or 2x4 vehicle, with some parts of the park being accessible by foot.  The game drive, however, requires a 4x4 due to the terrain and is only accessible by a game drive vehicle. Babies and pregnant women are not advised to go on the game drive.

WHERE TO STAY ON A VISIT TO PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

LUXURY ACCOMMODATION

MID-RANGE ACCOMMODATION

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION

OUR TOP 4 TIPS FOR TRAVELERS TO PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

  • Keep Safe – Always remember criminals look for opportunities.  Keep valuables hidden when driving / lock it the trunk of your car when exiting the vehicle.
  • Easy travel – The park and surrounding areas are fairly easily accessible.  Main entrance points to this area can be reached via road. Even if you fly to Durban, you will still need to rent a car to drive to the park.
  • Activity Central – The park is situated very close to all amenities in Durban and surrounding areas.  The area is also famed for regular sporting and entertainment activities. Confirm with the tourist office what is happening around the time you intend to visit.
  • Moderate Climate – The weather is pleasant all year round. Remember to bring your swimming gear.

ENJOYING PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN) ON A BUDGET

Phezulu Safari Park is a nice, affordable holiday destination.  Visiting the area on a tight budget can be a bit tricky, but here are some handy tips:

  • Self-Catering Accommodation: The self-catering accommodation in the park is very reasonably priced.  Keeping this in mind, keep food costs to a minimum by rather preparing your own meals.
  • Fuel efficiency: The park is situated very close to Durban and surrounding areas. If you are planning a day trip to the beach it will not cost a fortune in fuel costs.  To explore the park, you can go on guided tour, this will save a bit of fuel on your car.
  • Variety of Activities: The park is structured in such a way that visitors can either do one, two, or all of the activities, depending on budget and need.  Enquire at the ticket office for the various activity pricing options.
  • Game Drive: The game drive is a bit expensive, but also not suited for the very young or pregnant in the family, so keep that in mind when planning a trip.

DAY TRIPS FROM PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

Phezulu Park is situated in such a unique position that there are a host of other attractions to visit:

  • Botha’s Hill Food and Craft Market – Driving down Old Main Road, visitors will find the Botha’s Hill Food and Craft Market.  The busiest time for the market is on a Sunday, but the main house is also open from Tuesdays to Sundays.  Anything from crafts, food, curios to books and antiques can be found at the market.
  • Casablanca Lifestyle – Feeling the need to get in touch with the township vibe?  Visit Casablanca Lifestyle situated in Molweni.  (There is no entrance fee.) Visit on a Sunday and sample a variety dishes of the lovely cuisine available whilst listening to a selection of relaxing jazz or hip-hop music.
  • The Shongweni Farmers & Craft Market – Looking for a day outing where you can take your mom in a wheelchair and tag the dog along?  Then look no further! The Shongweni Farmers & Craft Market in Shongweni is just the place to visit.  It has a vast number of stalls as well as a play area to keep the little ones happy.

THE TOP 3 LEGENDS AND SECRETS ASSOCIATED WITH PHEZULU SAFARI PARK (KZN)

Although not secrets or legends, these mentioned below form part of the historical legacy of the park:
  • PREHISTORIC CREATURES – The main residents of the Phezulu Crocodile Park have a prehistoric family line dating back millions of years.  
  • FAMILY HERITAGE – The Gasa Family have been living at the village for longer than 30 years.  They entertain guests and visitors alike with their wealth of knowledge and experience.
  • 1000 HILLS – The valley bordering on the park is surrounded by a thousand hills, which envelope the majestic Umgeni River flowing into the Indian Ocean.

IN CONCLUSION

South Africa is a colorful puzzle, each province a unique piece carefully placed.  Kwazulu-Natal contains a wealth of history. Each park, valley and area in this province contains a snippet of long forgotten people and stories.

Spending time in Phezulu Safari Park provide a glimpse into the life of the Zulu people, their traditions as well as culture.  A worthy day trip for the whole family. The kids will especially enjoy the experience.

VISITOR INFORMATION & USEFUL LINKS

TOURIST OFFICES

Durban Tourism

90 Florida Road, Durban, 4001

info@visitdurban.travel+27 31-322 4164

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS

  • POLICE: 10111
  • AMBULANCE: 10177 / 031-311 4635
  • FIRE DEPARTMENT: 031-361 0000 / 031-311 4635
  • HELPLINE:   031-361 0000 / 031-311 4635
  • ACCIDENT ACCISTANCE: 0861 313 141

MEDICAL HELP

  • HOSPITAL

33 M L Sultan Road, Durban, 4001

St Aiden’s Hospital+27 31-314 2200

75 Hopelands Road, Durban Central, Durban, 4091

Netcare Parklands Hospital, Durban, Kwazulu-Natal+27 31-242 4000
  • CLINIC
  • PHARMACY

11d Clinic Road, Austerville, Kwazulu-Natal, 4052

Austerville Pharmacy+27 31-461 2023

42 Felix Dlamini Road, Mayville, Kwazulu-Natal, 4091

Alpha Pharm+27 31-203 2500

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RECOMMENDED TRAVEL APPS

To make the most of your trip to The Durban, install the below two apps to conveniently take photo routes and measure the height for peaks in the surrounding area.

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