Meandering the cradle of humankind

Visitors to South Africa usually want to visit the many safari parks and nature reserves, which is understandable given the variety of animal life that is on display there, but Sotuh Africa offer much more than just wildlife.

One of the journeys to do is to  head westwards out of Johannesburg to the Magalies Meander, which is located in the heart of the beautiful Magaliesberg Mountains.

These mountains have seen a tumultuous historical and cultural past, where Boer battled Brit and rival local tribes fought for territory. But they are also home to an amazing variety of indigenous woodland, plants, birds and wildlife, in fact they are a nature lover’s paradise, and so diverse that there are over one hundred different types of grasses found in the Magaliesberg Mountains alone.

If contemplating the journey, you should take the time to visit some of the attractions en route, especially the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

Your introduction to this amazing place begins at the Maropeng Visitors’ Centre. The Maropeng Visitor Centre is an exciting, world-class exhibition, focusing on the development of humans and our ancestors over the past few million years. On arrival, you will see a massive burial mound called the Tumulus, which is your entrance to learning the secrets of our common ancestry. The earth-covered Tumulus building has been built over an archaeological site, which proves that earl humans were using simple tools from about one million years ago. The centre is designed around the four elements that are essential for life: air, fire, earth and water.

Part of the site includes the ancient Sterkfontein caves, where there were dramatic discoveries that changed the way we view humanity and the history of human development. Within the caves, scientists have discovered many hominid and other animal fossils, dating back more than 4-million years.

You would think that facilities here would be fairly basic, but the opposite is true.  The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site buildings are contemporary and designed to show off the very best of the exhibits, with state-of-the-art technology used to enhance the visitor’s understanding of the significance of the area.  There are restaurants and hotels attached to the visitor’s centre so that you can have the pleasure of dawdling in luxurious surroundings as you learn about our early ancestral history.

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