Travel: Exploring Sterkfontein

We whipped out the map and decided to let you know all about Sterkfontein. Situated in the Cradle of Humankind, it’s a series of caves where important fossil discoveries have been made. There’s also plenty to do in the area, making it ideal for a day trip. 


An hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, Sterk­fontein is made up of a series of limestone caves which are world-famous for their fossil finds. It’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals. Following a remodelling in 2005, the Sterkfontein Caves site is now home to restaurants and conference facilities, with easy access to the caves on walkways, as well as a boardwalk that goes past the excavation site where the important fossils were discovered.


Exploring The Caves

The Sterkfontein Caves are owned by the University of the Witwatersrand, whose scientists have been responsible for the main excavations at this World Heritage Site. They are credited with many of the discoveries in the caves, including the world-famous fossils of Mrs Ples and Little Foot. Can you believe Little Foot is more than three million years old? Tours of the Sterk­fontein Caves are conducted seven days a week. Call 014 577 9000 on the day of your vis­it to book a tour.

But if you arrive and find the next cave-tour slot ful­ly booked, don’t fret – grab a bite to eat at the Sterk­fontein restau­rant and enjoy the views while you wait for the next avail­able slot. You can find out about the times from the tick­et office or one of the guides.

Where To Eat In The Area

Tumu­lus restaurant

About 11km away at the Maropeng Visitor Centre, this upmarket restaurant is situated on the first floor and features a deck with a beautiful view of the Wit­wa­ters­berg and Mag­a­lies­berg. Serving light meals and a carvery lunch on Sunday, we recommend that you arrive early so you can enjoy a pre-lunch drink or sundowner on the deck before your meal. Who knows, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of buck and other game on the next door property. The Tumulus is open seven days a week. To book a table, call 014 577 9000 or send an email to [email protected] maropeng. co. za. Find out more here.

Mar­ket Place restaurant

This restau­rant is locat­ed with­in the Mar­ket Place on the approach to the Maropeng Vis­i­tor Cen­tre in the Tumu­lus build­ing. It offers a vari­ety of deli­cious, light meals and snacks in a piaz­za-like set­ting. Enjoy a bite here before popping into the shops that surround the square. Click here for more information.

What To Do 

Maropeng Vis­i­tor Centre is an award-winning, world-class exhibition showcasing the development of our ancestors over millions of years. It takes you on an interactive journey back in time, starting with the formation of the planet and moving all the way through the evolutionary processes that culminated in the world as we know it today. Here you can see fossils, ancient stone tools and much more. It’s a self-guided tour so you can take your time and lose yourself in the origins of humankind.

If you’d like to stay over, the Maropeng Bou­tique Hotel on-site is the epitome of luxury accommodation in the Cradle of Humankind. You can use it as your base to make the most of exploring this part of Gauteng.

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The Cradle of Humankind is a paleoanthropological site about 50 km (31 mi) northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, in the Gauteng province. Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999,[1] the site currently occupies 47,000 hectares (180 sq mi)[2] and contains a complex of limestone caves. The registered name of the site in the list of World Heritage sites is Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa. The Cradle of Humankind or, alternatively Cradle of Humanity, Cradle of Mankind or Cradle of Man may also refer to: History of the world, the history of humanity For prehistoric life, please see Stone Age or Prehistoric man Human evolution, the biological origins of the human species For the geographical origins of the human species, please see Recent African origin of modern humans and Multiregional origin of modern humans Earth, according to a famous quote by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Creation myth, theological views on the origins of the human species Cradle of civilization, areas where the first civilizations developed Cradle of Man, a 2005 play by Melanie Marnich "The Cradle of Humankind", a song by Flogging Molly from their 2011 album Speed of Darkness.

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