Cradle of Humankind

Located in the Gauteng province of South Africa, the Cradle of Humankind covers 183 square miles and is home to remarkable and historical geological finds, including Mrs. Ples. Among the many caves in the South Africa Cradle of Mankind are the Sterkfontein and Wonder caves. In addition to observing the beautiful scenery of the prehistoric landscape, visitors can tour these limestone caves and learn about the ancient history of the surrounding area.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site covers a large area of ancient land and boasts some of the oldest geological discoveries in human history, such as Mrs. Ples, a 2.3 million-year-old fossil found in 1947 at Sterkfontein, where many of the fossils in South Africa have been discovered. The first ape-man was unearthed in the same area twelve years before, in 1935. Excavations for fossils in South Africa continue at Sterkfontein today, and it remains the longest running archeological site in the world.

Sterkfontein is one of the most popular attractions in the Cradle of Humankind. These limestone caves created a preservative environment for the fossils in South Africa, and they present some of the most spectacular sights in addition to the spellbinding remnants of human history. Another celebrated cavern in the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng is the Wonder Cave, a single chamber that encompasses almost 500,000 square feet. This cave houses an intriguing stalagmite formation called the Praying Mary, which looks remarkably similar to what it describes. Many other fascinating formations can be found in this chamber, including cave pearls, large rimstone pools, and a noteworthy mushroom stalagmite. These caves and more than a dozen others are open to the public for exploration.

Evocative of the personal history of humans, the visitor’s center at Maropeng is built in the shape of a tumulus and is reminiscent of these ancient burial mounds. This magnificent and beautifully constructed center is the nucleus of tourism at the South Africa Cradle of Mankind. The Maropeng Visitor Center at the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng is an exciting tour through time with displays and models arranged to lead tourists from ancient history into the future, featuring an underground tour by boat.

Guests in the area have a wide scope of accommodations available near the South Africa Cradle of Mankind, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cottages. Visitors to Johannesburg might consider putting the Cradle of Humankind on their list of things to do as it lies only one hour away from the city. Tour packages are available at many of the hotels in Johannesburg, and whether you enjoy romance or adventure, this is one of the best attractions.

The magnificent wonders of history come to life at the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng. Visitors will enjoy the gorgeous scenery surrounding the region as well as the rich history found on the tours and in the caves. Packages and accommodations are available for guests of the surrounding area. Nearby Johannesburg offers comfortable lodging and great tour packages at many of the hotels, and advance booking and proper research will ensure a stress-free vacation—and give you something wonderful to look forward to on your visit to South Africa.

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