Origins of Humankind
- Origins Centre Rock Art Museum, Wits www.origins.org.za 9-5 daily; excellent museum - well-conceived and one of the few museums that is still well-maintained. If you can't get to the Cradle then this is a good substitute but if you can do both this is a good background. Nice gift shop and café; R45 entrance adults; R22 children under 12; Guided tours provided plus taped tours available in English, French, German, Afrikaans, Zulu and Sotho
- World Heritage Site, Cradle of Humankind (40 minute drive from Liz at Lancaster) is an area of about 47,000 hectares. The dolomitic hills are 2.6bn years old - more than half the age of the Earth itself. There are more than three dozen fossil-bearing caves in the Cradle of Humankind including important sites like Swartkrans, Drimolen, Wonder Cave, Cooper's Cave, Bolt's Farm, Motsetsi, Plover's Lake, Kromdraai, amongst others.
- The caves at Sterkfontein are the site of the world's longest-running archaeological excavation, with digging continuous since 1966. There are tours on demand during the day so check beforehand for the times. There is also a small but interesting and worthwhile museum at the Sterkfontein site 011-668 3200 www.discoveryourself.co.za
- On the Krugersdorp side is the Maropeng Information Centre which includes a lot of interactive displays. There are two restaurants at Maropeng itself - one that serves light meals and snacks and another more formal restaurant with spectacular views. There is also a restaurant in the Hotel which is a 5 minute walk form the information centre. There are restaurants and various star gazing events so check the website. www.maropeng.co.za
- If you want to combine animals and paleontology then you could go to the Rhino and Lion Park, also in the Cradle of Humankind, where Wonder Cave is located. www.rhinolion.co.za 011 957 0109 . There is quite a wide variety of animals and there is a tour of Wonder Cave.
- For a fascinating experience arrange a paleontology tour with guides with specialist knowledge www.palaeotours.com and see blog
There are some great restaurants out in the Cradle
- Roots restaurant at the Forum Homini Hotel is sublime. Five-course Saturday brunches & six-course Sunday lunches are highly popular and reservations are essential to avoid any disappointment. What a setting. Roots is open every day lunch and dinner except Saturday for brunch and dinner only and Sunday lunch only. www.roots.sa.com and www.forumhomini.com 011 668-7000
- A stunning modern building, which is set in a 3000 hectare private game reserve, houses the Cradle Restaurant. There are breathtaking views from the verandah overlooking of the Highveld bush. You might even spot some of the 32 species of animals while having lunch. There are rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, amongst others. A golf cart awaits to drive you down from the car park as the path is very steep. www.thecradle.co.za 011 659 1622. But only open Fridays (lunch & dinner) Saturdays (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and Sundays (breakfast and lunch)