Cradle of Humankind Tours

Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind – Ekala Eco Tours

Maropeng – Sterkfontein Cave – Cradle of Humankind tours.

Paleontologists sites – world’s hominid fossils. World Heritage site of the Cradle of Humankind. Tours of Maropeng – Sterkfontein Cave – Mrs. Ples.

Private collection and drop off – thus supplied as a fully guided professional Cradle of Humankind 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.

Cradle of Humankind images

Sterkfontein Cave – Geological Wonder on outskirts of Johannesburg.

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

Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind

Cradle of Humankind – World Heritage Site

Cradle of Humankind (Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves).

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 development / environment.

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 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 is limited.

Then the almost human exhibition, introducing Homo Naledi.

Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind

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

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 Paleontologists sites within the Cradle of Humankind – accordingly discover ancient history and human beginnings – close to Johannesburg.

Steps going down into Sterkfontein Cave – Ekala Eco Tours

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:
info@ekalatours.com

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 tour specifics on a cell phone.

History/Sterkfontein

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 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 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 theatre, restaurant and shop.

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

Ekala’s Cradle of Humankind 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.

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

Swartkrans

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.

Draaimolen

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

Kromdraai

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.

Haasgat

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.

Gondolin

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 in 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: 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.

Perfect tour options to include with the Cradle of Humankind to create a full day tour:

Elephant Sanctuary and Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Sanctuary

Aerial Cableway, Hartbeespoort: Spectacular panorama views of Hartbeespoort dam, Magaliesburg and surrounding area from the aerial cableway and the viewpoints and walkway on top.

Cradle of Humankind tour Prices:

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

Hence Ekala structures our tours around the client’s individual requirements.

Thus if time is limited:

Consequently structuring the tour 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.

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Robert Broom - Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind
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Ekala Family & Guides

Sterkfontein Cave entrance sign – Ekala Eco Tours
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 lies – 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.

Private

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
Tour guide in Sterkfontein Cave – Ekala Eco Tours

Enjoying and respecting South Africa’s national assets.

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

Tour group - Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind

Private 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 – Cradle of Humankind

Visiting actual historical sites accordingly steeped in significant heritage.

Robert Broom - Cradle of Humankind

Appreciation of South Africa’s multifaceted heritage.

Rock formation - Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind

Thus private, professional and reliable tailor made Cradle tours.

Steps into Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind

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.

Rock formation - Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind

 Responsible and ethical tourism/consumerism.