Cradle of Humankind Tours

Sterkfontein Cave

Maropeng – Sterkfontein Cave – Cradle of Humankind day tours.

Paleontologists hominid fossil sites.

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

Private collection and drop off.

Thus supplied as 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 – Geological Wonder on Johannesburg outskirts.

Sterkfontein Cave, regarded today as one of the world’s most important prehistoric sites.


Cradle of Humankind – a South African 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 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 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 history and recent finds as we drive through/cover this huge area.

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

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.

Fifteen major Paleo sites within the Cradle of Humankind – accordingly, discover ancient history and human beginnings – day tour from Johannesburg.
Sterkfontein Cave

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


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


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

Best ability to contact Ekala for a Cradle of Humankind tour:
[email protected]

Then will respond within 24 hours. Actually, in most cases less. However, depending 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

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


The cave was subsequently explored and found to contain magnificent flow stone formations. Thus attracting 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.

The 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.

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

Then 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 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. 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.

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 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.


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, 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


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 sabre-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. 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 the 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 hominid fossils, discoveries limited to early forest-dwelling monkeys, indicating 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 found to date suggest 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 within the Cradle of Humankind, only Maropeng, Sterkfontein Caves and Wonder Caves are open to the public.

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

Multi-day options including Cradle of Humankind:

South African wildlife Sanctuaries


Ann van Dyk Cheetah and wild dog Sanctuary


Elephant Sanctuary en-route to Cradle of Humankind

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

Aerial Cable way, Hartbeespoort: Spectacular panorama views of Hartbeespoort dam and Magaliesberg from aerial cable way and viewpoints.


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

South Africa – Cultural:


Township day tour – Soweto Cultural


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


Cultural day in the city of Johannesburg



Robert-Bloom - Cradle of Humankind
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Sterkfontein Caves
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 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 of Humankind tours.

Sterkfontein Caves

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

Active engagement accordingly encouraged between guide and guest.

Stone tools


No Cradle of Humankind prices on our website as a result of 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, quote based on specific requirements.

For multi-day safari tour package – Ekala Guest House

Southern Johannesburg Accommodation

A short selection of Ekala Eco Tour’s most popular package options

South Africa safari travel packages