MAGALIES INFORMER MAILER
There are various events coming up in the month of October. Here is what Maropeng has to offer:
October 6: Coopers Cave Picnic and Walking Tour
How would you like to explore a living museum, where the fossils embedded in the rock describe the world as it was between 1.4- and 1.8-million years ago?
Maropeng and palaeobiologist Dr Christine Steininger are offering budding palaeontologists the rare opportunity to explore the 1.5-million-year-old Cooper’s Cave. Located near the famous Sterkfontein Caves, Cooper’s Cave has yielded numerous fossils of previously unidentified animals, and a rich assembly of stone tools.
The day’s activities include an interactive fossil and site talk, exploring a cave, a chance to look for fossils in recently excavated deposits, and learning how to make stone tools.
You’ll never know what you’ll find at Cooper’s
Cooper’s Cave is one of the most diverse and abundant fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind. “You can walk through the site and see literally hundreds of fossils in the rocks around you,” says Steininger. “It’s an incredible experience.”
Fossils of the extinct hominid Paranthropus robustus have been found at Cooper’s and the site is also known to be home to fossils of predators.
Large carnivore species, such as sabre-toothed cats, hyenas and a new species of large dog have also been found there, alongside evidence that they all co-existed.
One of the largest primates recorded at Cooper’s is believed to weigh 67kg, which is bigger than other hominids that existed in the Cradle. This raises the question, which primate was more dominant, the bipedal hominid or the large quadrupedal baboon?
A fun family day out in the Cradle of Humankind
As Christine tells her guests, “If you didn’t spot a fossil, there is something wrong with your eyes, there are literally hundreds of fossils visible on the surface.”
The tour will start at 09h00 at Sterkfontein Caves. The cost of the tour is R350 per person and includes a light picnic lunch.
Guests are also able to combine the event with an overnight stay at the luxurious Maropeng Boutique Hotel for a special rate.
Please note this tour will only go ahead if there is a minimum of ten people.
October 13: Stargazing – Our spring skies - “isiLimela” (The farmer’s stars)
Join Maropeng’s resident astronomer Vincent Nettmann for a basic introduction to astronomy, featuring some of the spring “Hollywood” astronomical objects.
The Sotho and Tswana people call these stars Selemela, and the Zulu people isiLimela, who believe these stars died in winter dusk and were reborn in the rainy season (the Pleiades reappear in the evening sky in October). The Selemela are “the hoeing stars”, or “the digging stars”, indicating their importance as an agricultural sign.
The evening begins at 17:00 with welcome drinks at the Tumulus Deck where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Cradle of Humankind as the sun sets and caters for all ages.
The stargazing presentation will be followed by a buffet dinner. Subject to weather conditions, you will be able to observe the summer sky objects and the moon through a range of large aperture telescopes.
Costs for this special evening are R190 per adult and R90 per child (4 to 14 years) which includes the stargazing presentation and a delicious buffet dinner.
Guests are also able to combine the event with an overnight stay at the luxurious Maropeng Hotel for a special rate.
October 20: Swartkrans picnic and walking tour
Swartkrans, one of the Cradle’s richest fossil sites, is usually closed to the public. But on these tours, small groups will have a rare opportunity to observe an active palaeontological dig and will be guided around the site by scientist Morris Sutton, who is currently excavating there.
Swartkrans has yielded the largest sample of Paranthropus robustus, and it is also significant for the discovery of the earliest evidence of the use of controlled fire in Southern Africa, dating back 1-million years.
The tour commences at 09:00 from the Sterkfontein Caves and is strictly for adults only. Please note the tour will only go ahead if there are a minimum of seven people booked. Guests are also able to combine the event with an overnight stay at the luxurious Maropeng Hotel for a special rate. Costs are R350 per person which include the Swartkrans picnic and walking tour.
Date: July to end October: New Fossil Display
Maropeng has teamed up with the Bernard Price Institute (BPI) of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to give the public a sneak peek into its treasure chest of original fossils. A wide variety of palaeontological gems are on display with the centrepiece of the collection being the 195-million-year-old clutch of dinosaur eggs – the oldest fossilised dinosaur eggs in the world. There are exciting fossils for palaeontology enthusiasts. For the first time at Maropeng visitors will see parts of Aardonyx, which has taught scientists a great deal about how early dinosaurs walked. From big to small all have a wonderful story to tell! Other fossils on display include: Erythrosuchus, Gorgonopsian, Massospondylus, Dicynodonts, Antetonitrus, Saurapodomorph, Therocephalian and Labidosaurus (an amphibian). The display is open to all ages and runs from 09:00 to 17:00 daily.
The costs are adults: R125, children (4-14 years) R70, children under 4 free, pensioners/students are R85 (on production of a valid pensioner/student card)
For bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (014) 577 9000 or visit www.maropeng.co.za and click on shop.
Ongoing: Kiddies Birthday Parties
Maropeng have put together a number of fun and educational kiddies birthday party packages. While parents relax and enjoy the splendour of their surroundings, the children will be entertained by a guided tour of the Sterkfontein Caves or Maropeng Visitor Centre followed by supervised party games. A number of optional party extras such as a birthday cake, lunch pack, lucky packet, jumping castle and childminder are also available.
The party packages cater for all ages. Time and venue being either at Sterkfontein Caves or Maropeng are to be confirmed with the booking. Costs range from R150 to R350 per child, depending on the package and options selected.
COMPILED ON BEHALF OF MAROPENG BY CATHY FINDLEY PUBLIC RELATIONS. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT NICOLLE KAIRUZ ON (011) 463 6372 OR NICOLLE@FINDLEYPR.CO.ZA