Day 5: SA + Cradle of Humankind

Today’s tidbit: “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”  Miriam Beard

Last week I posted on the magnificent Forum Homini Boutique Hotel, which was situated in the Cradle of Humankind. After that luxurious stay we started day 5, our last day with Dornbrack Travel. It was an eye opening day full of culture and history. The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is one of eight South African World Heritage Sites. It is the world’s richest hominin site, home to around 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils, located about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa in the Gauteng province. We explored the Sterkfontein Caves, Maropeng, Maropeng Hotel and Lesedi Cultural Village before heading to our new hotel that night and starting our new tour the following day.

Sneak peek image:

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Be sure to click below to read more and check out more pictures. Enjoy!

{Sterkfontein Caves} Check it out.

As the website states, “Sterkfontein Caves is the world’s richest hominid fossil site, with thousands of discoveries made there since excavation began in 1935. It is also the site of the longest continuous palaeoanthropological dig in the world… Showcased are different cave formations and geology, early life forms, mammals and hominid fossils such as “Mrs Ples”, the “Taung Child” and “Little Foot”. Visitors can also learn about palaeobotany and landscapes.”

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{Maropeng} Check it out.

As the website states, “The exhibition centre takes visitors on a journey of discovery to learn more about the origins of humankind, and is housed in the Tumulus, a unique architectural structure resembling an ancient burial mound. A thrilling underground boat ride starts the adventure, taking visitors through the various stages of Earth’s creation. The exhibition then tracks the evolution of humankind through fun and interactive displays and games. Maropeng provides visitors with a rare opportunity to view original hominid and dinosaur fossils, as well as ancient artefacts housed in the fossil display room.”

The exhibition was interactive which definitely made it interesting and involved visitors of all ages. The displays and design were impressive. Very well done! 

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(below) This was on the door you exit out of when you come to the end of the exhibition. It really makes you think…

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{Maropeng Hotel} Check it out.

After the wonderful and informative exhibition we checked out the gorgeous hotel. I loved the decor and little details. It really is a neat place and would be quite the experience to stay overnight!

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{Maropeng Hotel + lunch}

Brenda, our private guide, had arranged a special lunch in the hotel restaurant. It was a unique space with spectacular lighting and incredible views.

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I loved this Tall Horse wine (check out the website, it is adorable and well designed!), not only was it delicious but the name and label were perfect. Brenda was so sweet and especially ordered this for us on our last day because she knows I like horses (as does she) and they call the giraffes there tall horses. It is also a Pinotage, which quickly became a new favorite!

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{Lesedi Cultural Village} Check it out.

As the website states, “Did you know that South Africa is the only country in the world to have 11 official languages? Lesedi Cultural Village is set amidst rocky hills and bushveld less than an hour’s drive from Johannesburg on the way to Sun City. When you visit, you won’t get to see all the cultures, but you’ll have close and personal contact with five of them – the Zulus, the Xhosa, the Pedi, the colourful Ndebele people and the mountain people, the Basotho.”

We really did get a warm welcome, unique experience and were touched intellectually and emotionally.

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{Lesedi craft market} There was a great craft market with handmade local arts and crafts. I just love all of the beaded work, from jewelry to animals (and may have bought some, for me and for presents!) It was interesting and enjoyable to talk with the locals. There is something really special about knowing who made it, seeing where it came from and knowing how much time and effort went into each piece.

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{Cultural tour} We met real people (not actors), and were able to go into homes where they live and listen to them talk about their individual cultures and daily lives.

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{Ingoma + dinner} After the tour we went into the Ingoma – the dance boma – and watched some amazing African dancing. Following the dancing was dinner, an African feast with traditional food.

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{Music} During dinner we were able to talk with the band and buy the CD, which I got signed.

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{New hotel + new tour}

After a wonderful cultural day, and amazing first few days in South Africa, we said our goodbyes to Brenda (although we know we will remain in touch, and have been since) and headed to our new hotel – the Crowne Plaza Hotel Johannesburg where we stayed for one night. The following morning our new 2 week tour began.

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That was a FULL day! 🙂

8 Responses to “Day 5: SA + Cradle of Humankind”

  1. Lindsey says:

    Holy Moly – I am sold. Next flight to South Africa please.

    • alyssa says:

      And just think this is all BEFORE our main 2 week tour started!! This is all around Johannesburg, now the posts will start moving down the coast.

      Lets do it 🙂 You’d love it there

  2. Allie says:

    Very interesting and really makes you think….neat that you got to see the non-touristy side too.

  3. John says:

    It’s seems foreshadowing of things to come to see a sign that says that 40% of people have to live on less than a $1 a day and then immediately see the wealth of the hotels in stark contrast. I’m sure there’s more contrast to come. From scenery and the like.

    All the beaded jewelry and wire sculptures are fantastic. I spy some pretty neat owl eyes in there too!

    All of the designs, architecture, and artwork throughout the cultural village is beautiful.

    • alyssa says:

      Yup, you will definitely see that in the townships and other areas we visited later on. That’s why it’s important to really see the whole area, or as much as you can, and not just the tourist higher end side or you won’t get the full picture…

      It really was special and beautiful. Notice the wire guitar?

  4. […] my last SA post, Day 5? As I mentioned, so far I have shared my first week of adventures and our private tour […]

  5. […] Contrast to today’s snow… Remember my post on Day 5: SA + Cradle of Humankind? While walking along that path outside the Sterkfontein Caves we noticed a fire burning, which we […]

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