It's a new school year, and as pupils across the country crack open new books and pick up new pens, we know that educators and principals will be searching for ways to create another meaningful and memorable school year for their young charges.

Here's why Maropeng, the official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, should top your list of excursion destinations.

1. You'll give your students a meaningful insight into current debates

Last year, issues around xeno­pho­bia grabbed head­lines; this year, a heat­ed debate around racism began in the new year. How are you engag­ing young minds about these debates? Maropeng offers an edu­ca­tion­al and well-researched sci­en­tif­ic approach to show the com­mon her­itage that all humans share. Why not com­bat hate with knowledge?

2. Cli­mate change? Sus­tain­abil­i­ty? Access to water? Start think­ing here

There is lit­tle ques­tion that the degra­da­tion of the envi­ron­ment will make life more dif­fi­cult for humans, par­tic­u­lar­ly those liv­ing in devel­op­ing coun­tries like South Africa. The pres­sure is on lead­ers to make sus­tain­abil­i­ty a pri­or­i­ty in any future plans. At Maropeng we don’t just engage vis­i­tors on where we’ve come from – we also get them think­ing deeply about where we’re going, where we need to go, and how to get there.

We’ve also cre­at­ed a resource pack for edu­ca­tors that is aligned to the nation­al curriculum.

3. Don’t just learn. Explore

Maropeng   Sterkfontein Caves 126

Step down into an under­ground adven­ture at the Sterk­fontein Caves

Don hard hats and accom­pa­ny our knowl­edge­able guides into the his­toric Sterk­fontein Caves. The caves have been the scene of some tru­ly fas­ci­nat­ing finds in palaeoan­thro­pol­o­gy. As they explore the cool, dark cave sys­tem, your learn­ers will find out what it takes to be an under­ground astro­naut”, and under­stand why South Africa is fast becom­ing a world leader in the field. 

4. Your class gets to expe­ri­ence a world-famous site

Ecavation Team Led By Professor Lee R  Berger Paleoanthropologist Inside Naledi Cave Cradle Of Humankind 2

The world-renowned inter­na­tion­al Homo nale­di team

The glob­al news cov­er­age around the dis­cov­ery of a fas­ci­nat­ing new species, Homo nale­di, illus­trates the sig­nif­i­cance of the Cra­dle of Humankind for peo­ple around the world. But this is just the most recent in a string of impor­tant dis­cov­er­ies in the Cra­dle of Humankind that have seen the area being declared a Unit­ed Nations World Her­itage Site. South African chil­dren should expe­ri­ence this unique site. 

5. You can stay overnight to extend the learning

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Our new, improved Hominin House fea­tures a firepit for evening bon­fires, spa­cious dor­mi­to­ries and sep­a­rate facil­i­ties for teachers

We upgrad­ed our school accom­mo­da­tion facil­i­ty, Hominin House, last year, to ensure that we can cater for more learn­ers, enhance their expe­ri­ence and make the stay more com­fort­able for edu­ca­tors. Apart from the upgrad­ed dor­mi­to­ries, the site is a work­ing mod­el of green” prin­ci­ples. The mul­ti­pur­pose room runs com­plete­ly off the grid on solar pow­er, and grey water from Hominin House is recy­cled. The facil­i­ty has been designed so that learn­ers are able to see these mech­a­nisms in action.

To book your school trip, email Dor­cas Tsha­bal­ala at dorcus@​maropeng.​co.​za or call 014 577 9000.