(initially called Described by: Eugene Dubois
1.8 million years ago
about 1 000 cm3
Thought to have been the maker of stone hand axes
How to get there
The best place to start your journey of exploration is at Maropeng, the official centre for the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
The Maropeng Visitor Centre is located on the R400, just off the R563 Hekpoort Road. From Randburg, head along the R512 Malibongwe Drive towards Hartbeespoort. Pass the Lanseria turn-off and turn left on to the Kromdraai Road.
There are a few routes you can take to get there from Johannesburg and Pretoria, and there are detailed maps available on the Maropeng website. For those who have a good relationship with their GPS, try longitude 25.967098 and latitude 27.662507.
The trip should take you about 45 minutes from Johannesburg and, depending on traffic, about an hour from Pretoria.
Opening times and what it will cost
Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves are open from 9am to 5pm every day.
Adults R145; children (ages 4-14) R88, but children under the age of four get in free. Pensioners pay R85 and students R95.
Adults R150; children (ages 4-14) R88, but kids under four get in for free. Pensioners pay R85 and students R95.
If you buy a combination ticket, it costs R215 for adults and R155 for children (aged 4-14). There are no special pensioner or student rates for the combination tickets.
Note that if you buy your tickets online, you get 10% off the going rate.
No pets are allowed at Maropeng or Sterkfontein, apart from service dogs.
Please note that only the Sterkfontein Caves are readily accessible to the public. The Swartkrans and Cooper’s Cave are available only for special events (see the Maropeng website for more details).
Admission fees for Maropeng:
Admission fees for Sterkfontein Caves:
What is there to do?
You can book yourself or your group on a private tour at a minimum fee. It’s a good idea to book in advance. For those with a keen interest in the history of Maropeng, you can book a tour conducted by a scientist – this is at an additional cost.
There are regular special events, so check the Maropeng website for updated information (and subscribe to their newsletter), from stargazing safaris to walking tours of the Swartkrans, and talks from various experts and scientists, including Brendon Billings, the “Bone Detective”.
Highlights of Maropeng
The Tumulus building:
On the path to the Tumulus building, you can visit the site of a real archaeological excavation. You will also find messages carved into rocks