10 Things you MUST do when visiting the Cradle of Humankind
World Heritage Day’ also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites is celebrated every year on 18th April. Purpose of celebrating ‘World Heritage Day’ is to raise public awareness on importance of diversity of cultural heritage and preserving these heritage for the generations ahead and the efforts required to protect and conserve it. Ancient monuments & sites are an asset to us that help us understand our history and the root of our culture for generations to come.
Did you know that South Africa is home to a eight of UNESCO World Heritage Sites? The country has a total of 4 cultural, 3 natural and one mixed (cultural and natural) heritage sites. This World Heritage Day we couldn’t be prouder to call this country home and are blessed to have one of these world heritage sites right here on our doorstep!
The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site just west of Johannesburg that represents one of the most significant palaeo-anthropological sites in the world. Over 850 hominid fossils have been found in the area making it the richest concentration of hominid fossils in the world. This find has given scientists the ability to understand how these hominids adapted and diversified, and has led them to believe that this area was home to some of the earliest humans – hence the name “The Cradle of Humankind”.
In 1947 Dr. Robert Broom found a well preserved fossil skull that became known as ‘Mrs Ples’ and was estimated at around 2.3 million years old. Then in 1997 another skeleton was found of a hominin skeleton estimated at around 3.5 million years old, which was named ‘Little Foot’.
Visitors can go on a tour of the Sterkfontein Caves where they will learn about the history of this famous archaeological area, and are guided through the various rock formations in the caves.
Also, make sure to visit the Maropeng Visitors Centre where the public are able to learn more about these interesting findings. The word ‘maropeng’ is a Setswana word meaning ‘returning to the place of our origins’, and the centre certainly does a great deal to explain the origins of humankind. The entrance to the centre is a 20 metre high grass-covered Tumulus – representing a giant burial mound.
Once inside the centre you’ll go on a journey chronicling the last four billion years since the formation of the world, starting with a boat ride along an underground lake. Once out of the boat, visitors can browse a number of different exhibits including some of the original fossils excavated from the Sterkfontein Caves. The kids can enjoy digging in the Kiddies Cave where they can unearth fossils and experience what it is like to be an archaeologist.
The Cradle of Humankind stretches over 47 000 hectares, with a number of attractions in the area including restaurants, art and craft outlets, lodges, wildlife facilities, places of historical interest and spaces for young and old just to have fun.
Source: Rooms for Africa
Images: Cradle of Humankind
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Guvon Hotels & Spas is a leading hospitality group offering a collection of hotels in Gauteng & Northwest. All properties offer excellent accommodation, conference, team building and wedding facilities. Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, Glenburn Lodge & Spa and Bush Willow Tented Camp are in Muldersdrift, in the Cradle of Humankind. Askari Game Lodge & Spa, a Big 5 game reserve and Warthogs Bush Lodge are both in Magaliesberg. The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort (Randpark Golf Club) add city retreats to our country collection of properties, with Black Eagle Boutique Hotel in Roodepoort bringing a boutique hotel on board. Our footprint is completed with River Place Lodge situated in the Hennops River Valley, Centurion
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