Bothas Hill is one of “those” hills that always gets mentioned when it’s time for the Comrades Marathon. It overlooks the Valley of a Thousand Hills and offers some of the most breathtaking vistas in the nation. There is a drop of more than 500 meters in less than 22 kilometres from the summit of Botha’s Hill to the base of Cowies Hill, so it’s no surprise that the down run is difficult. After Cornelius Botha, who opened Botha’s Halfway House, a roadside inn for many weary wagon drivers travelling from Durban into the countryside, Bothas Hill was given its name. The previous Rob Roy Hotel, which is now an old age home, is still in a similar location today.
The Valley of a Thousand Hills, one of KwaZulu Natal’s best-kept secrets, is spread out beneath you in a carpet of undulating hills that begs for at least a moment of solitary reflection. A drive up here would be completed without a halt to view it.
Always more comfortable than Durban in this region of the planet. The fresh air and the serene beauty of the area have long drawn artists and craftspeople, which is why the Comrades Marathon’s route is now known as the 1000 Hills Experience Route. It takes runners through valleys, gorges, forests, rivers, and a series of undulating hills.
There are no less than six driving roads that pass through the region; T1 to T6 are all clearly signposted. These routes take you through lovely tiny villages and lush cities, with detours that take you into the Krantzkloof Gorge and the Inanda Dam. Along with elegant hotels and guest houses, the entire road is peppered with taverns and tea gardens.