Northwest of Johannesburg, the Cradle of Humankind is an interconnected archaeological area covering nearly 500 square kilometers. Some of the world’s earliest hominin fossils have been found here – our earliest ancestors in the human line. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of this strong fossil evidence that suggests Africa as the birthplace for all of humanity.
The Maropeng Visitors Centre is the hub of the area and has an excellent museum and interactive exhibition. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey from the formation of the earth, through the major archaeological discoveries in the region and across the world. It’s very informative, well managed and suitable for all ages. Down the road, the Sterkfontein Caves is the other main site that’s open to the public. It has another good exhibition, but the main attraction is the cave tour which goes into the famous cave complex where hominid fossils over 4 million years old have been discovered.
The Cradle of Humankind is about an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and can be visited in a day in any vehicle. The Sterkfontein Caves are closest to the city and the Maropeng Visitors Centre is about 11km further northwest. There’s a reduced-price combined ticket if you’d like to see them both. If you would like to inquire about our car hire options, one of our consultants will readily assist with any questions you may have.