Cradle of Humankind: a remarkable paleontological site

history and culture
Cradle of Humankind: a remarkable paleontological site

An immense 50,000-hectare area, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, this is one of the most important palaeontological sites in the world.

Excavated since the 1930s, this site has already delivered precious treasures from the dawn of humanity, including remarkably preserved Australopithecus skeletons, the oldest dating from about 3.5 million years ago, making it among the oldest humanoid remains ever uncovered.

Excavations continue and discoveries are made almost daily here in the Sterkfontein Valley, about a half-hour drive from Johannesburg. A prehistoric site of major importance in the world, it is composed of some forty limestone caves, including the Sterkfontein, one of only two that you can visit, where nearly a third of the hominid fossils in the world have been discovered.

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Cradle has an entirely refurbished visitors centre and now offers you an educational centre, as well. Take a stroll and visit the galleries and underground streams. Academic experts will show you current dig sites via guided tours, letting you peek inside and examine the rocky walls.

Cradle of Humankind

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