Cradle of Humankind Half Day Tour - Johannesburg

The Cradle of Humankind with the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng Centre is one of the worlds most productive archeological sites. Some of paleoanthropology's most iconic fossils have been found here.

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  • Duration: 5 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Experience the Cradle of Humankind on this half-day tour from Johannesburg. Ancient bones tell us stories and unlock history for us. This is a unique opportunity to learn about stones and bones in the tranquil surroundings of this region in South Africa, which is approximately 60 minutes' drive from the Johannesburg and Pretoria. 

Cradle of Humankind is a 'must-see' for all archeaologist and paleo-anthropologists and anyone curious about the history of mankind. You will get to explore the Sterkfontein caves that are world-famous for the hominoid and other fossils that were discovered there. The 2.3 million year old fossil “Mrs Ples”,  the most complete skull of an Australopithecus africanus, and "Little Foot" the nickname given to a 3.67 million year old, nearly complete, early form of an Australopithecus fossil skeleton, are just two of the exciting finds from the Sterkfontein Caves. This is one of the richest and most productive palaeo-anthropological sites in the world. Your experienced and knowledgeable cave guide will take you down steps to 60 Meters below ground level; 87 steps lead you down to an eccentric elevator so a level of fitness is required. Your guide will share his knowledge of cave formation and skeletons as you progress past otherworldly wonders of stalactites and stalagmites. Wear comfortable shoes and don't carry a heavy bag. There are also tight spots, narrow pathways and long stairways to navigate, so if you’re claustrophobic or get out of breath easily, we recommend you sit this one out.    

Then you are transported the short distance to the Maropeng Visitors Center, a world class exhibition full of fossils, tools and exhibits that are millions of years old. To gaze at the skeleton of a near human that is millions of years old is a venerable experience. This is an interactive exhibition with many exciting and informative displays. The underground boat ride kicks off the Maropeng experience. As you float down the river you experience the formation of the earth with shuddering earth movements, flashing lights, thunderous sounds and changing scenes. Evocative and great fun. Walk through the many exhibits; gaze down on some of the world's most treasured hominid skeletons and get interactive with some really inspiring and informative displays. The unique architecture of Maropeng, which is a Tswana word that means 'returning to the place of origin', is evocative of a funeral mound.  

The tour is packed with history told to us through the ancient fossils that were found here. The area is also home to a diversity of birds, animals and plants, some of which are rare or endangered. This is an experience not to be missed! 


Discover the worlds richest Hominid site 

Explore the Sterkfontein caves where "Mrs Ples" and "Little Foot" were found.

Marvel at ancient stalagmites and stalactites

Visit the Maropeng Scientific centre


Departure: Collection for hotel/guest house in Johannesburg

Time: Morning Tour: 8h00 Return: 12h00

          Afternoon Tour: 13h00 Return: 17h00

Collection from Hotel 8h00 or 13h00 depending on tour

Air-conditioned vehicle with WiFi

Journey north west of Johannesburg for under an hour to Sterkfontein Caves

Descend into the world of stalactites and stalagmites

Transfer to Maropeng Scientific Exhibition

Return to you hotel/guest house

Important information

Our guides are English speaking however we also offer guides fluent in French. Contact us prior to booking for a French speaking guide.

Important: Please wear comfortable shoes when going to the caves and leave your handbags and other luggage behind. There are a number of tight spots and pathways to negotiate in the caves and it is not advisable to do the tour if you are claustrophobic. It is also not advisable for people who suffer from acute asthma or chest problems to do the tour as there are a lot of stairs. 

Operated by: African Eagle Johannesburg

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