The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage SiteEnquire Now
15km from Magaliesburg
+27 14 577 9000 www.maropeng.co.za
West of Johannesburg, in a 47 000ha basin covered by Highveld savannah and rocky ridges, is the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
Known simply as ‘The Cradle’, the vales and hillsides are filled with subterranean limestone caves. Sterkfontein cave is internationally renowned as the world’s richest source of hominid fossils.
Two apeman fossils - the skull of Mrs Ples and the near-complete skeleton of Little Foot - established Sterkfontein’s reputation as one of the world’s leading palaeontological sites. A visit to the Sterkfontein museum, followed by a guided tour of the cave, is a fascinating option.
Prehuman fossils aren’t all you’ll discover on your Sterkfontein tour: fantastical rock formations, an underground lake and a glimpse of the Silberberg Grotto, where Little Foot is being excavated, are just the start of your evolutionary adventure. This continues at nearby Maropeng.
As you enter the huge grassy knoll that covers the entrance to the Maropeng interpretation centre, you’ll wonder just what’s in store at this one-of-a-kind attraction. Maropeng means ‘return to your origins’. It provides top-class edutainment - from the virtual boat ride that illustrates how the earth was formed, to the displays of prehistoric animal fossils and Stone Age tools.
Adults will find the exhibits thought-provoking and the brightly coloured interactive displays will keep the kids immensely entertained. There’s plenty of safe parking and a good restaurant. The 270-degree views of the Cradle are inspiring.
Address: Sterkfontein is situated on the R563 Hekpoort Road; Maropeng is situated on the R400, just off the R563 Hekpoort Road.