A jazz lunch, held every Sunday at the Maropeng Hotel, is the perfect way to unwind after a busy week. With the majestic Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg mountain ranges providing the backdrop, there couldn’t be a more scenic way to enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz.
The band nestles in the corner of the stylish hotel restaurant, while friendly waiters take drinks orders. Behind the bar, cocktails are shaken and stirred, and wine is chilled. The busy chef nips in and out of the kitchen with platters of freshly prepared food to add to the sumptuous spread outside. On the deck, guests chat and admire the magnificent vista.Read more
The novel, set in the Cradle of Humankind, imagines what life would be like if the world evolved backwards. The book follows Jade, her brother Stuart and his best friend Rick on their exciting adventures in the area.Read more
In 1999 teenager and budding palaeontologist Tyler Lyson discovered the fossil of a mummified dinosaur, later dubbed Dakota, on his family’s farm. Dakota is one of only five dinosaur mummies ever discovered and is an important paleontological find.
Dakota was found with its skin envelope, along with other areas, including its tail, arms and legs, largely intact. In this almost complete form, Dakota is essentially a three-dimensional fossil.Read more
On July 4, astronomical enthusiasts gathered at Maropeng to spend an evening admiring and learning about the stars. The evening celebrated the 40th anniversary of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong’s July 1969 moon landing.
Guests hoped to view the moon, in its full phase, but were disappointed when overcast weather prevented them from gazing at the sky through telescopes. The telescopes would have enabled them to view the moon’s surface on which Armstrong historically declared that he had taken “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.Read more
Portia Mogamisi is a self-proclaimed people person. She started at Maropeng as a cleaner in 2006, and was later recruited as a guide by the former curator.
“I love working with people, interacting with them and learning from them,” says Portia.
“I especially enjoy meeting international tourists and telling them about South Africa. They come here with one concept about how we are, but I like to show them how welcoming we are. Then they leave with a different concept.”Read more
Maropeng had been inundated with complaints from visitors about the poor signage, but was unable to rectify the problem because only the relevant provincial government authorities could address the issue.Read more
A riverbed on a farm in the Free State is the site of a ground-breaking fossil discovery. Several hundred animal fossils between 3.5-million and 4-million years old have been discovered on the site so far.
The site was discovered in 1955 by railway workers working on the train tracks for the gold mines. The workers discovered several mammoth fossils, including a near-complete tusk. Excavation only started 52 years later in 2007, leading to the discoveries.Read more
Recent dinosaurian fossil discoveries in Australia have earned the continent a place alongside Africa and the Americas in palaeontological history. Until recently, Australia’s prehistoric significance was doubted as few dinosaur fossils have ever been found there.
Excavations held between 2006 and 2009 in Queensland, Australia, have led to the discovery of hundreds of fossils that have confirmed the prehistoric existence of large dinosaurs in the region. The fossils date back 98-million years and were found in one of Australia’s “billabongs”.Read more
Zodwa Mtshali started her career in the Cradle of Humankind as a waitress, but this year she is celebrating her fourth year as a guide.
Zodwa, who is based at Sterkfontein Caves, is the daughter of the late Ben Mtshali, who was a guide at the caves himself for more than 20 years, before his death in 2003. “I’m continuing the heritage,” says Zodwa proudly, her energy and enthusiasm lighting up her face.
Working for Maropeng a Afrika, the company that operates the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng, the official Cradle of Humankind’s Visitor Centre, is a family affair for the Mtshalis: Zodwa’s mum, Ruth, works in the restaurant kitchen at “Sterk”.Read more