Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Maropeng
Maropeng is a breathtaking attraction and boutique Gauteng hotel, located only 45 minutes from Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa. The 4 star Maropeng Hotel provides its guests with magnificent views of the Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg mountain ranges. Maropeng is located in The Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, which is a World Heritage Site, and covers an area of over 47 000 hectares of privately owned land. This area includes the Fossil Hominid sites of Sterkfontein Caves (one of the richest and productive paleo-anthropological sites in the world), Swartkrans, Kromdraai and the environs of Makapan and Taung.
Maropeng means “returning to the place of our origins” in Setswana, the most commonly spoken indigenous language in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. ‘Maropeng’ is the basis upon which the hotel’s interiors were designed. The four elemental forces of nature, earth, fire, water which mark the beginning of our planet some 3-billion years ago feature prominently throughout the hotel. This elegant boutique hotel features 24 beds and is only a a five minute walk away from South Africa’s premiere tourist destination, the Tumulus visitor attraction and 10 km from the popular Sterkfontein Caves.
The Cradle of Humankind is one of eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa, and the only one in Gauteng. It is widely recognised as the place from which all of humankind originated. The 47,000 hectare site has unearthed the best evidence of the complex journey which our species has taken to make us what we are – a place of pilgrimage for all humankind. It is not only a place of ongoing scientific discovery into our origins, but also a place of contemplation – a place that allows us to reflect on who we are, where we come from and where we are going to.
The world-renowned Sterkfontein Caves is home to the oldest and most continuous paleaontological dig in the world. It is also the site of discovery of the famous pre-human skull affectionately known as “Mrs Ples”, and an almost complete hominid skeleton called “Little Foot”, dated 2.3 and 4.17 million years old respectively. No one knows what still lies hidden in the rocks of the Sterkfontein Caves and other sites. The World Heritage Site status the area now enjoys ensures that what is deep within its core will be protected and explored forever.
The Sterkfontein Caves is home to a top restaurant, conferencing facilities, access into the caves, walkways and a boardwalk past the excavation site where world-acclaimed fossils have been discovered. The scientific exhibition centre showcases a reconstruction of a mined cave – versus a pristine cave – cave formations and geology, early life forms, mammals and hominid fossils, among other topics. It describes in detail important finds such as “Mrs Ples”, the “Taung Child” and “Little Foot”, as well as providing information about fossilisation, palaeobotany and landscapes. World-acclaimed and award-winning palaeoartist, John Gurche, whose exhibits can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute, the Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York and who worked on the film Jurassic Park, has produced all the lifelike hominid illustrations, from the 7-million-year-old Toumai fossil from Chad, through to modern humans.
The Maropeng Hotel is ideal for a romantic getaway, for executives seeking a convenient conference venue, for local visitors wanting a short escape to refresh their souls, or for international tourists wanting to see some of the best tourist attractions South Africa has to offer. Contact Road Travel to receive detailed information about the special packages available, valid until 31 August 2011.