Introduction to your visit to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
The universe was formed about 14-billion years ago. The Earth is about 4.6-billion years old.
Life first emerged about 3.8-billion years ago. Our journey begins in South Africa, where fossils of some of the earliest known life forms on Earth have been found.
South Africa has yielded fossils of some of the earliest known dinosaurs, at least 200-million years old.
Fossils of our distant mammal-like ancestors, which lived more than 200-million years ago, have been found in South Africa.
Africa is the birthplace of humankind. This is where our collective umbilical cord lies buried.
Hominids – the ancestors of modern humans – first emerged about 7-million years ago, in Africa.
Many significant fossil finds have been made in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, including the famous fossils “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot”.
The first stone tools were made and used in Africa, at least 2.6-million years ago.
Our ancestors were able to use and control fire at least 1-million years ago in the Cradle of Humankind.
Homo sapiens, the species to which we all belong, evolved in Africa approximately 200,000 years ago.
Africa ignited humankind’s imagination. Some of the oldest rock art in the world has been discovered in Southern Africa.
All of humanity shares an African heritage. We are one, diverse species across the globe, with our roots in Africa.
Return to the Exhibition Guide.
- The Tumulus building
- Maropeng exhibition highlights
Beginning of the world
- Introduction to your visit to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
- Today's landscape in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
- Fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind
- The formation of the Earth's continents
- The development of life on Earth
- Introduction to DNA
- Introduction to evolution
- What are fossils?
- How limestone caves are formed
- Pathway to humanity
- What makes us human
- Beginning of the world
- Conferencing and events
- Resources for schools
Maropeng 09h00 - 17h00 every day
Sterkfontein Caves 09h00 - 17h00 every day
Rates and specials
Adults: R120 | Children (4-14): R65
Children under 4: free
School groups: R65 per pupil
Adults: R165 | Children (4-14): R97
Children under 4: free
School groups: R90 per pupil
Adults: R190 | Children (4-14): R125
School groups: R120 per pupil
Please note: No pets are allowed at Maropeng and Sterkfontein. Service dogs and guide dogs are the exception