Cradle of Humankind Tours

Sterkfontein Cave-Cradle of Humankind

Maropeng – Sterkfontein Cave – Cradle of Humankind day tours.

Paleontologists hominid fossils sites.

South African World Heritage site – Cradle of Humankind – Maropeng and Sterkfontein Cave day tours

Private collection and drop off.

Thus supplied as a fully guided professional Cradle of Humankind day tour. Then covering en-route as may be possible from collection to drop off.

As a result, not simply a point to point transfer with a driver.

Sterkfontein Cave-Cradle of Humankind

Sterkfontein Cave – Geological Wonder on outskirts of Johannesburg.

Sterkfontein Cave today regarded as one of the worlds most important prehistoric sites.

Cradle of Humankind – a South Africa and World Heritage Site

Cradle of Humankind – Maropeng and Sterkfontein Cave

Declared a World Heritage Site in December 1999. The area of Cradle of Humankind is approximately 48 000 hectares.

And so housing the caves of Sterkfontein, Draaimolen, Swartkrans and Wonder Caves.

Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng – Cradle of Humankind – Early human environment and development.

World Heritage site and location of the newest find – Homo Naledi.

Accordingly Ekala covers as much of the Cradle of Humankind as can be covered in the time available – as a fully guided tour.

Additionally discussing en-route the history and recent finds as we drive through/cover this huge area.

Ekala Eco Tours offer day tours that would include both Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves.

Although in our experience, the Sterkfontein cave is the main, should not miss item if time on the day is limited.

Then the almost human exhibition, introducing Homo Naledi.


Follow an exceptional journey of the Rising Star expedition team behind the discovery within the Cradle.

Visit the largest ever public display of hominin fossils. So introducing a new hominin species – Homo Naledi.

Then most complete of all these 15 individuals, is Neo. This fossil then gives a sense of what a single individual looked like.

Then view footage of the inside of the fossil-rich cave, including the Dinaledi Chamber.

“Exhibition is a significant one for humanity” – Expedition leader Professor Lee Berger.

This is thus a once in a lifetime chance – to view these fossils.

Unfortunately the Homo Naledi exhibition is currently not at Maropeng.

While many other fossil sites exist in this area, only 13 have been excavated to date.

The Cradle of Humankind is thus of universal value, providing a crucial insight into the early stages of human development.

Then including the environment in which our remote ancestors hunted and lived.

15 major Paleo sites within the Cradle of Humankind – accordingly discover ancient history and human beginnings – day tour close to Johannesburg.
Sterkfontein Cave

Sterkfontein Cave is situated 35 km to the North-West of Johannesburg (Then within the Cradle of Humankind).


Accordingly the richest hominid site in South Africa, accounting for 40% of the world’s hominid fossils.


Sterkfontein Cave consisting of a series of chambers, while the largest is called the hall of elephants. Then leads down to the underground lake.

Best ability to contact Ekala for a Cradle of Humankind tour:

Then will respond within 24 hours. Actually in most cases less. However depend on time differences.

Additionally Cell phones do create some problems. Due to time difference or because we may all be on tour and thus unable to answer your call at that time. Thus email works perfectly.

Furthermore difficult to deal with specifics on a cell phone.

History of Sterkfontein cave

Sterkfontein cave opening was discovered in 1896 by Mr. G. Martignalia who was then mining the Sterkfontein Hill.


The cave was subsequently explored and found to contain magnificent flow stone formations. Thus attracting the interest of several geologists.


Between 1918 and 1920, however, the Sterkfontein cave was irreversibly damaged by limestone mining exploitation and explosions.

1947, Broom discovered the most complete australopithecine known as Mrs. Ples.


1957, owners of the Sterkfontein farm donated the cave and additionally the surrounding areas to the Johannesburg University of Witwatersrand.

Ekala’s Cradle of Humankind tour

Richest source of pre-hominid fossils on the planet. Accordingly a World Heritage site.

The Tour – Sterkfontein Cave

There are two levels in the Sterkfontein cave.

The upper section that was open at the surface for millions of years and therefore contains the fossils.

Then the lower section is open to the public with spectacular shapes, eroded from the dolomite.


Then a complex near the entrance includes a virtual reality auditorium, exhibition spaces, lecture theater, restaurant and shop.

Accordingly it is from here that set time Sterkfontein cave tours are conducted through the iconic caves. Which reveal the unfolding journey of humankind.

Ekala’s Cradle of Humankind day tours – Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng – 7 days a week.

Exhibition/Sterkfontein Cave

Professionally created, interesting and thus easy to understand displays. Additionally providing information and life like illustrations of the evolution of humankind.


So covering Hominid illustrations from the 7 million year old Chad Toumai fossil. Then through to modern humans. Fossil finds such as Mrs Ples, Littlefoot and the Taung Child are additionally discussed in detail.

Cradle of Humankind – Maropeng

Maropeng – a Setswana word “returning to the place of origin”. Maropeng is an early stone age site, hence its rocks being used for early stone tools.


So an intriguing interactive journey through the history of life on earth. Humankind’s origins and then its continuing journey into the future.


Go back in time with an underground boat ride. The evolving story of life.

Maropeng site overlooks the magnificent Magaliesburg and Witwatersberg mountain ranges.

Additionally two significant battles during the Boer War took place in this area.

The almost Human exhibition, introducing Homo Naledi.

Visit the largest ever public display of hominin fossils, introducing a new hominin species – Homo Naledi.

View footage of the inside of this fossil-rich cave, including the Dinaledi Chamber.

Sorry, at this time, this is not at Maropeng or at any Cradle of Humankind site.


Wonder Cave

2.2 million years old with a 45 000 cubic meter chamber. Accommodating stalactite and stalagmite formations of up to 15 meters. It was opened to the public in 1991.


Early lime mining fortunately did not damage this natural wonder. Access to the cave is via 88 steps to a lift that will take you down into the cave.


Pathways are well lit and no crawling is necessary. This allows easy public access.


Wonder Cave can be included with Maropeng and Sterkfontein as part of an extended day tour of the Cradle of Humankind. Must however be booked as such as a different vehicle is required to get to this site.


The second richest site in this area with numerous hominid fossils finds, predominantly of Australopithecus robustus. Bone tools have been found, thought to have been made and used by Homo Ergaster, the forefather of Homo Sapiens.


Swartkrans is the site of fossilized hearths, demonstrating the earliest known use of fire. A collection of 270 burnt bones, 1.3 million years old, clearly proves this ability to control fire.


Ekala’s tour we do travel past this site and discuss while passing, or can stop for photos. However not open the public


The third richest site within the Cradle of Humankind, with only recent excavations, which include 75 fossils of Australopithecus robustus and a 2 million year old, almost complete female skull.


Aged between 1.6 to 1.9 million years old with the first fossil discovery of Paranthropus robustus and three different saber toothed cats as well as thousands of animal fossils being found.


Paranthropus robustus, more robust hominid existing 2-1 million years ago in South Africa.

Bolt’s Farm

Series of old lime quarries. Bolt’s Farm is the oldest fossil site within the Cradle of Humankind, dating to about 4.5 million years. Notable fossil finds include jaguar-like forms and saber-toothed cats.

Coopers B

Became the third South African cave deposit to yield a hominid fossil. Including part of the face of a Hominids like Paranthropus robustus, and some isolated teeth, as well as a range of animal fossils.

Gladysvale Cave

First cave visited by Robert Broom in the mid-1930’s. The oldest deposits are around 2 million years old, with a considerable volume of breccia.


Over 250 000 fossils have been recovered from the Gladysvale cave, including rare remains of hominids, a wolf – like form and skull of a giant hyena.


Early lime mining caused damage and resulting in part of the roof collapsing. No hominids fossils, discoveries limited to early forest-dwelling monkeys, indicating the deposits to be around 1.3 million years old.


Fossil Hominid teeth have been found at this site, although excavation has, to date, been limited. Fossils finds to date suggest the age to of about 1.3 million years ago.

Plovers Lake

Fossils of a large number of animals, including baboons, antelope and extinct Zebra, have been found at Plovers lake.


No hominid fossils have been discovered, however most of the site has not been excavated. Some deposits have been dated to around 1 million years old.

Rising Star Cave

Used for recreational caving since the 1960s. This all changed with recent excavations of over 1500 fossil hominin specimens of Homo Naledi from the Dinaledi and Lesedi Chambers by Professor Lee Berger and his team.


This is therefore the most productive hominin site, not only within  the Cradle of Humankind, but all of Africa.


Entrance is via a virtually inaccessible vertical passageway (Chute), thus only a select few will ever get to view the chamber. Accordingly is not open to public nor is it likely it ever would be.

Components of the Cradle of Humankind

Please note that within the Cradle of Humankind only Maropeng, Sterkfontein Caves and Wonder Caves are open to the general public.

Tours to the other sites can on occasions be arranged and are conducted by specialist paleontologists. Prior notice is required and extra costs are applicable.

For multi-day options including the Cradle of Humankind:

South African wildlife Sanctuaries


Ann van Dyk Cheetah and wild dog Sanctuary


Elephant Sanctuary en-route to the Cradle of Humankind


Monkey Rescue Sanctuary – en-route from the Cradle of Humankind

Also in same area or en-route to the Cradle of Humankind:

Aerial Cable-way, Hartbeespoort: Spectacular panorama views of Hartbeespoort dam, Magaliesberg and surrounding area from the aerial cable-way and the viewpoints and walkway on top.


The Cradle of Humankind works well en-route to or from the Pilanesberg for a multi-day tour in the Pilanesberg.

South Africa – Cultural:


Township tour – Soweto Cultural day tour


Vibrant Township of Alexandra – private guided tour


It is possible to include one part of the Cradle of Humankind as the Sterkfontein caves before the Lesedi Cultural Village tour. Then cover the other part of the Cradle of Humankind after – Maropeng.


Cultural day in the city of Johannesburg


City of Tshwane – Private Pretoria cultural day tours



Solo South Africa safari and travel:

South Africa holiday then catering for the single / solo traveler.

Indeed, for all diverse interests and ages.

Then accompanied by Ekala’s professional guides.

As a solo South Africa traveler the private tour is accordingly customised to your needs.

Hence providing quality time on your interests and requirements.

While striving to make long lasting memories for you.

Contact Ekala Tours

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Planning stage of South Africa safari/tour/trip

So if you are in the planning stage of a South Africa trip, we can help.

Please supply the duration that you are looking at, group size, then your estimated dates and duration.

Then additionally what you wish to include in this time, and we can advise using our extensive South Africa experience.

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Ekala Family & Guides

Sterkfontein Caves

Ekala family & tour guides

We pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of South Africa’s history, culture, and wildlife.

Thus we focus were our experience and expertise lie – in South Africa only.

Highly Experienced Guides

With our vast experience and expertise, we therefore bring the Cradle of Humankind tours to life.

Including sharing our love and knowledge of South Africa.

Thus ensuring you leave full of the best memories.


Ekala will therefore personalise your tour package according to individual requirements/interests as well as available time.

Personal touch

Furthermore Ekala personally conducts and organises all our tours and safaris.

As highly experience and professional guides.

Consequently you get an enhanced understanding of South Africa.

Thus the best South African Experience

Sterkfontein Caves guide

Enjoying and respecting South Africa’s national assets.

Thus a Cradle of Humankind tour to remember for the right reason


Private tour collection and drop off.

Then supplied as a fully guided professional Cradle of Humankind tour. Additionally covering en-route as may be possible from collection to drop off.

As a result, not simply a point to point transfer with a driver.

Maropeng entrance

Visiting actual South African historical sites accordingly steeped in significant heritage.

Robert Broom - Cradle of Humankind

Appreciation of South Africa’s multifaceted heritage.

Sterkfontein Caves entrance stairs

Thus private, professional and reliable tailor made Cradle tours.

Sterkfontein Caves

Ekala’s guides are well spoken, thus providing interesting detail and clarity while on the Cradle of Humankind tour.

Active engagement between guide and guest is accordingly encouraged.

Stone tools

 Responsible and ethical South Africa tourism/consumerism.


No Cradle of Humankind prices on our website as a result of the unique, individual and specialised requirements for each tour we supply.

Hence Ekala structures around the client’s individual requirements.

Thus if time is limited:

Consequently structuring from arrival to departure – including airport collection and drop off.

Accordingly using all time available as a fully guided professional tour.

As a result not simply a point to point mixed group drive around.

Hence a tour quote based on your specific requirements.

For multi-day safari tour package – Ekala Guest House

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