Add to favorites

Cradle of Humankind

Photo credit: Martin_Heigan / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Cradle of Humankind
  • (worth a detour)
  • 2 2

The tale of how our human ancestors evolved over a million years.

73 Market St Johannesburg 2001 South Africa
R215 for adults and R130 for children

Located about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg is the 50,000 hectare site of Cradle of Humankind which exhibits variegated limestone caves. Being a world heritage site, Cradle of Humankind naturally reports a visitor turn out from all parts of the globe who wrap themselves in the tale of how our human ancestors evolved dating from two to three million years ago.


This site ideally covers diverse fossil sites containing fossil remains of animal, plants and mainly human ancestors called as hominids. Caves formed out sedimentary carbonate rock were originally coral reefs growing in the sea. However, with the passage of time, the sea ebbed, the rocks transformed into limestone, which then converted into dolomite. So when the erosion continued over a large period of time, the dolomite produced shafts between the surface of the earth and caverns. Then, bones, plants, animals and hominids began to rot in the shafts in the caves. These trapped remains thus fossilized over time.


These fossils were first unearthed when there was a massive search for the extraction of gold, resulting in the blasting of these caves for lime. The fossils which were found were so rich and consequently became a World Heritage Site in Africa. In addition to 13 fossil sites at Cradle of Humankind, one will come across exhibition centres which a visitor would find rather interactive, and activities such as horse trails, hot air ballooning, or places to take in the invigorating exhibits of our ancestors at restaurants and coffee shops.


It would be preferable to wear comfortable walking shoes for this expedition, and adequate sun screen if you are travelling in the summer.


Recommendable cafeterias can be found at Maropeng and Sterkfontein. or you can enjoy a heavy meal at Tumulus Restaurant in Maropeng which overlooks Magaliesberg in the most extravagant manner.


Opening hours

09:00 – 17:00