African TimeoutThe next time your six year old asks where we come from or you need convincing that cousin Norman is in fact not the missing link, a visit to Gauteng's Maropeng at the Cradle of Humankind is waiting to answer these age-old questions!

The name ‘Maropeng', is a Setswana word meaning ‘returning to the place of origin' which is the theme of the visitor attraction and highlights the fact that humankind originated from Africa. Located within easy reach of Joburg and Pretoria, Maropeng overlooks the splendid Magaliesberg and Witwatersberg mountain ranges
This world class visitor centre, the most exciting new tourism offering in South Africa, was officially opened by President maropengThabo Mbeki on Wednesday 07 December, 2005 in time for the December holiday season. During his address, he compared the Cradle of Humankind to a massive 47,000 hectare library of archaeological and palaeontological information with Maropeng offering an abundant reference section.

Maropeng at the Cradle of Humankind is not only part of our national pride, but to the world, it denotes the universal relevance of the Cradle of Humankind as the ancestral home of all, no matter what colour, culture or creed. After all we share 99.9% of our DNA.
From the minute you arrive at the car park, the journey of discovery starts. The iconic architecture and layout of the site sets the scene as the huge mound of the Tumulus (an ancient burial ground) comes into view. From there on it's one thrilling experience after another as the secret to our ancestry is revealed.

Visitors approach the Tumulus(Maropeng) by means of the processional way that explains the significance of Africa and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

The welcome area depicts the orientation of the entire Cradle of Humankind and other attractions on offer and positions the World Heritage Site in context of other South African sites.

The journey continues down into the bowels of the earth to a mysterious underground lake, where pointers indicate how unique, diverse and yet similar we are.

The next part of the voyage finds us on a boat that whisks us back four billion years in geological time, through the most basic of elements that make up our world: water, air, fire and earth.
maropeng
To our surprise, we realise that this is only the beginning of our path of discovery. Still to come is the Birth of the Cradle (how the caves were formed; the emergence of life and the concept of evolution as a science); The Path to Humanity (human evolution, where five hominid models are displayed - Florensiensis, Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Heidelbergensis and Paranthropus); What it means to be human (the development of humanity through various evolution stages to what we are now and what characteristics humankind share); the Science Zone (how we have arrived at the conclusions); and finally, Sustainability, (how we have modified our environment to suit us, and are we in danger of actively contributing to our own destruction?).

An original fossil display, on loan from various scientific institutions is the highlight of the visit to Maropeng.

Duration Total Distance Departure Times Notes
4-5hrs 160km Between 09:00 and 13:00hrs Entrance Included


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