Cradle of Humankind
The Cradle of Humankind, the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Hartebeespoort Dam essentially form one tourist area, even though they have over the years been split into smaller units, such as the Crocodile Ramble and the Magalies Meander, and promoted as such. Wherever possible, we prefer to define a tourism destination in terms of its broader ecological or geographical characteristics, and because all the areas mentioned here fall within within the proposed Magaliesberg Biosphere Region, we treat this area as one tourist destination.
There is no doubt that the world heritage site of the Cradle of Humankind is the tourism jewel in this Region, and its surrounds deserves far more tourists than it receives at present, especially because of its scientific importance. The beauty of the area also demands that people do not rush in and out of the Cradle of Humankind on the same day, but that they take time to stay overnight in one of the many superb accommodation options available here. They will then have more time to explore the attractions, things to do, and restaurants to be found throughout the Cradle, the Magaliesberg and the Hartebeespoort Dam areas.
For these reasons, My Guide Johannesburg is promoting this area as being an inextricable part of the "Johannesburg experience"; i.e. "you cannot claim to have been to Johannesburg until you have visited all of our own amazing tourism destinations"
The Cradle of Humankind has in recent years become one of Johannesburg’s must-see attractions, and for good reason. This unique and beautiful spot, widely regarded as the origin of what we know refer to as mankind, or just humans, is a short drive north of the bustling city.
The Cradle of Humankind is now home to a number of fascinating attractions, exciting things to do, and superb restaurants and accommodation options to suit most tastes and budgets; a trip to South Africa is no longer complete without at least a day spent tracing your origins here.
Technically, the Cradle of Humankind lies within the Greater Magaliesberg region, and since 1999, it has been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. As a result, over the last 6 years a significant amount of money, time and care has been invested in the area to make sure that it's not only a fantastic place to spend a day or weekend, but also that it'll be around for many years to come, while meeting the strict guidelines laid out by UNESCO.
The Maropeng Visitor Centre is an award-winning establishment that caters for all age groups. There are 2,500 square meters of exhibitions that can be viewed from an exciting underground boat ride, and which guide you through the world of fossils, ancient stone tools up to 1 million years old, and how humankind was born. There is also a big emphasis on interaction at Maropeng, which makes it perfect for youngsters as well. Leave Maropeng with combo ticket in hand and head to the nearby Sterkfontein Caves. These caves are where the famous 2.1-million-year-old skull of "Mrs. Ples" was discovered, and informative trips are taken down into the caves at regular intervals. The restaurant at the Caves is a good spot to grab some lunch and plan the rest of your day as well. If you’re interested in some of the world’s most largest and most popular animals, be sure to stop in at a wildlife park where you can get up close to a selection of wildlife.
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