Inchanga, Valley of 1000 Hills – Durban

by Kojo Pocu

A charming station is located about midway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Visit the region because of this authentic specimen of the Victorian building situated in the usual, verdant KwaZulu-Natal hills. It has been there since 1895 and served as a sort of halfway point for travellers. It has, in a sense, always been a place to recharge, and it still is. Once or twice a month on weekends, a steam train departs Durban for Inchanga. The Inchange Craft Market, which is held in Inchanga, has food and craft vendors as well as pony rides for kids.

There are a few shady alleyways where people live right up from the station, which is located just down the hill from the intersection of Thousand Hills Road and Inchange Drive. There is a sense of living in the country because it is not a densely inhabited area. Some people have rambling properties with typical sub-tropical gardens that seem to spring up out of nowhere, while others have small holdings with vegetable gardens.

Aside from being a nice place to stay, up outside of Durban and away from the stifling heat of the city, being in the countryside also offers access to an active outdoor lifestyle.

Right outside Inchanga’s front door is the Valley of 1000 Hills, which is home to numerous treks, streams, hilltop views, farm stands, and an arts and crafts path. These hills are cut by the Umgeni River, and the Shongweni Resources Reserve, a designated Natural Heritage Site, offers hours of wildlife and bird watching. Add to that the Nagle Reserve, which offers fishing opportunities, and Springside Nature Reserve with its stunning wetlands, and it becomes clear why a visit to Inchanga is so worthwhile.


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History Of Inchanga

A poorly built, 27 meters (89 feet) tall rail viaduct was found in Inchanga that needed an exceedingly slow crossing (10 km/h). If the wind speed exceeded 15 km/h, passengers were compelled to walk across the bridge, and the train thereafter followed. The bridge was rendered obsolete in 1892 by a different way to cross the valley, and a neighbouring train station was constructed in 1895. A hotel was constructed close to the railroad station in 1903, but commerce declined 20 years later when a new rail route was constructed farther away. The inn and the railroad station have both undergone restoration and are now performing their original duties. The station serves as the halfway point on the Umgeni Steam Railway’s excursion trips.

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