Maropeng’s Hominin House evolves

  • January 29, 2015

Just as human beings evolve, so do their dwellings … which is exactly what's happened at Hominin House, the dormitory-style budget accommodation at Maropeng, the official visitor centre for the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site.

The cafeteria at Hominin House

In addition to the existing dormitory, which provides accommodation for 120 learners, Hominin House now sports six en-suite rooms for teachers, an all-purpose hall and an amphitheatre fire pit. Furniture for the teachers’ rooms was made from locally sourced hardwood timber and manufactured by a local craftsman and artist.

The amphitheatre fire pit is likely to be a popular feature for overnight stays at Hominin House  

The dining area was also enclosed to make it more comfortable in colder weather, and turned into a multi-purpose room that can be used as an additional classroom or breakaway facility when required.

Lindsay Marshall, Maropeng curator, says: “What’s so exciting about these upgrades is that they will enhance the visitor experience here at Maropeng. These upgrades are something that will be rolled out over time throughout the Maropeng property. Other upgrades will include the exhibition and the hotel.”

Hominin House is as much a place of education as it is of accommodation.

The stackable chairs and foldable tables can be packed away to transform the hall into a lecture room or matric dance venue

“When I look at Hominin House today, compared to the picture I once drew on a serviette, I feel very proud,” says Magel van de Venter, Maropeng client relationship manager.

“These additions and renovations provide our visitors with a more comfortable stay at Hominin House. Teachers will appreciate the privacy provided by their own rooms and en-suite bathrooms. The new hall and the enclosed dining area provide us with more space for additional educational and team-building activities.

“Finally, sitting around the new fire pit will encourage some downtime and conversations, and it will afford learners the opportunity to experience the beautiful night skies at Maropeng,” she adds.

Furniture in the teachers' rooms is made from locally sourced hardwood timber and crafted by a local craftsman

Hominin House has gone as green as possible during the renovations, using hardwood timber windows and doors that have a lower carbon footprint and use less energy to manufacture in comparison to aluminium windows and doors. The multi-purpose hall is also completely off the grid and uses solar energy stored in batteries to power up electrical appliances such as lights.

“Sustainability is such an important part of the messaging that we put across here at Maropeng, and this is, in fact, built into the expanded offerings here at Hominin House. The children … will learn while they stay,” says Marshall.

John Banda of Wild Culture Tours and Transfers also attended the much-anticipated launch.

He's been organising trips to the educational site since Maropeng opened nine years ago and is very pleased about the upgrade of Hominin House.

"I think it will bring great value to trips here. One question that schools always ask is about accommodation for teachers. It's been good, but now it's like a five-star hotel," he laughs.

He says the space for children to play and the fire pit are also welcome additions. "After learning, sometimes children just need to run around and play. Now they can do that."

A stay at Hominin House is the perfect base for visits to the official visitor centre for the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site as well as the Sterkfontein Caves.

To make a booking, email Dorcas Tshabalala on or call 014 577 9000.

The registration room doubles as a research room

Solar energy feeds into these batteries and stores the power which is used for the lights and other electrical equipment at Hominin House

The entrance of Hominin House. The fence will become a green wall once the creepers start growing on it

A vegetable and herb garden will also be planted at Hominin House to illustrate to learners the importance of subsistence farming

Hominid House can accommodate 120 learners in two dorm rooms that house 60 learners each

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