CityPress - - Voices - Lived: Brain size: Traits: Sources: Unesco, www.maropeng.co.za, www.gaut­eng.net, Prof Fran­cis Thack­eray

(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

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