This week’s photo essay features the amazing Sterkfontein Caves exhibition. The exhibition is the first stop for those taking the tour of Sterkfontein Caves, a cave system that has been excavated by palaeontologists and archaeologists since 1936, when the first hominid fossil was found there. The exhibition marks the beginning of a wondrous journey into the world of human evolution and discovery.
All the lifelike hominid illustrations in the exhibition – from the 7-million-year-old Toumai fossil from Chad through to modern humans – has been produced by world-acclaimed and award-winning palaeoartist John Gurche, whose exhibits can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute, the Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and who worked on the hit film Jurassic Park.Read more
Seventeen years ago, in 1992, in the Middle Awash River Valley in Ethiopia, the first fossils of a new hominid species – a 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus – were found. Nearly two decades later, after hundreds of hours of research, and now with more than 100 specimens represented in the fossil record, the researchers studying the species claim it’s the closest yet discovered to a “common ancestor” between hominids, to which group humans belong, and the great apes, such as chimpanzees and orangutans.Read more
This week’s photo essay features the luxurious four-star Maropeng Hotel. Opened in mid-2006, the boutique hotel is a five-minute walk from Maropeng, and 10 km (6 mi) from the Sterkfontein Caves. The Maropeng Hotel won the award for best established four-star hotel or lodge accommodation at the West Rand Tourism Awards in 2009.
The Maropeng Hotel caters for everyone: it is ideal for a romantic getaway, a pleasure for executives seeking a convenient conference venue with accommodation not too far out of town, perfect for local visitors wanting a short escape to refresh their souls, and a warm welcome for international tourists wanting to see some of the best attractions South Africa has to offer.Read more
On October 1, burn survivors from the Children of Fire charity organisation visited Maropeng’s Visitor Centre to learn about their heritage as part a new initiative launched by the Maropeng Educational programme sponsored by the Cradle of Humankind Trust.
Through the Cradle of Humankind and contributions from Steffunti Stocks, Maropeng has launched an educational programme which sponsors groups of children’s visits to Maropeng. Children of Fire were the first sponsored tour.Read more
Maropeng, the official visitor centre for the Cradle of Humankind, scooped seven of the 60 awards at the West Rand Tourism Awards ceremony last night.
The event, which highlights service excellence in the tourism industry, was held at the Silver Star Casino. This year there were 163 entries for the awards, double what was received last year.Read more
This week’s photo essay features the original fossil display at the Maropeng Visitor Centre.
The display forms the final section of the exhibition and houses original fossils on loan to Maropeng from various insititutions. This changes regularly to illustrate different themes. The present display is entitled Evolution: digging for an understanding, and it focuses on the theory of evolution, which was made famous by Charles Darwin. The material in this exhibition is kindly on loan from the following collections at the University of the Witwatersrand: the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, the Institute for Human Evolution, the Hunterian Museum and the Department of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences.Read more
Children in bright blue uniforms from Maloney’s Eye Primary School jostled with anticipation as they tried to get to the front to see what was happening in the newly prepared gardens. An area of the school grounds had been cleared by the Maropeng team, and old car tyres had been strategically placed in preparation for planting vegetables.Read more