John Robbie broadcasts live from Maropeng
Gauteng talk radio station Radio 702 broadcasted live from Maropeng on Friday morning, bringing the history of humankind to hundreds of thousands of Gauteng listeners of the John Robbie Show.
Robbie and his team interviewed Maropeng staff and took calls from enthusiastic Gautengers, who were generous with their praise of the Maropeng Visitor Centre, Maropeng Hotel and the conference facilities.
At one point, Robbie prompted listeners to also call in with “challenges or problems”, but the rave reviews kept flowing in.
The 190-million year-old fossilised dinosaur eggs, currently on exhibition until December 5, were a hot topic of discussion, as was the vortex experience, a bridge that “spins” people from the past into the present.
Robbie interviewed marketing manager Erica Saunders, Maropeng a’ Afrika board member Rob King, exhibition curator Lindsay Marshall and tour guide Gift Sibanda.
Sibanda spoke of how he had applied to be a tour guide, and had been accredited by the Gauteng Tourism Authority. “It was a whole new experience for me, because I had no idea that evolution even exists!”
“We now talk palaeoanthropology as if we are the paleoanthropologists … We often get questions about creationism. You’ve got to keep an open mind about it and marry the two; it’s science and belief.”
Sibanda, who recently won an award at the West Rand Tourism Awards – first prize in the tourist guide category, said “I was very happy. We have a very good team of tour guides at Maropeng”.
Positive calls and SMSs flooded in. “There’s a lot of great feedback from people coming here, particularly from conference goers and tour groups,” said Robbie.
Local movie critic Barry Ronge also weighed in. “I endorse everything you’ve said about it,” said Ronge. “It’s one of those must-see sites.”
Saunders was on hand to answer callers’ questions about school visits, the exhibition, and the accessibility of Maropeng.
“We’re certainly wheelchair friendly, we have a number of wheelchairs on site,” said Saunders.
“The exhibition was originally designed as a non-guided tour, but we’ve realised that we need to have our guides. We’ve introduced more and more guides,” she said. “There is no additional cost for using the guides.”
She suggested that any questions not yet answered could be addressed to staff (+27 (0) 14 577 9000) by phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Questions asked on the show:
Can you take photos at Maropeng and share them on the Internet?
The easiest way is to create a Flickr account and join our Flickr group.
Click here to visit our Flickr group
How much does it cost to go to Maropeng?
Maropeng Visitor Centre:
Children (4-14 years): R55
Children (4-14 years): R55
Children (4-14 years): R90
These prices are due to increase slightly in January 2009
At what age can we take kids?
We recommend children of five years or older, but suggest that parents be guided by their own children.
I visited Maropeng two years ago, what has changed since?
The exhibition has been upgraded, we now have guided tours, the real fossil display is constantly updated, etc.
Is the exhibition elderly friendly?
Maropeng has a number of wheelchairs available on site.
Do you cater for Halaal and Kosher eaters?
Halaal and Kosher food is not sold on site, but can be provided for conferences. If you would like kosher refreshments on site for your visit, best to contact Maropeng directly beforehand.