Things to do with kids in the Cradle of Humankind

  • December 20, 2016 | Sue Blaine

The Cradle of Humankind was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1999 because of its global significance as the richest source of hominin fossils in the world. The 47 000ha site contains a complex of limestone caves where the fossils have been found. But an eye on human evolution is not the only reason to visit. Pack the kids in the car and drive just 90 minutes from Johannesburg or Pretoria to enjoy some of these activities.

(Image: Maropeng)

Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves

Take a trip back in time and visit Homo sapiens’ ancestors at Maropeng, the official visitor site for the Cradle of Humankind. The self-guided tour will show you and your children how the world was born in a burning ball of gas 4.6-billion years ago, with, as far as we know, our hominin ancestors pitching up about 7-million years ago. Once you’ve taken all this in, visit Sterkfontein to see for yourself the caves where a large number of the world’s hominin fossils have been uncovered.

(Image: Ama Zwing Zwing)

Ama Zwing Zwing Zipline Tour

There are seven slides and 10 platforms here, ranging from 2m to 14m in height, so this can be heart-stopping stuff. A highlight is the 240m slide from the highest platform. If you actually open your eyes you will get lovely views of the surroundings. (Suitable for people aged seven and older.)

Horse trails

There are a number of horse-riding opportunities in the Cradle of Humankind. Leave the big city behind you and sign up for a quiet breakfast ride through pretty valleys at Shepherd’s Fold Stables, close to Fourways. Saddle Creek Adventures in the Hekpoort Valley offers horse riding, quad biking, go-karting, archery and more, and Harties Horse Trail Safaris will have you riding alongside wildlife. Harties operates from Ostrich Manor (Hartbeespoort) and La’WiiDA Lodge (Hennops River).

Harties Cableway

(Image: flowcomm)

Climb aboard a cable car and whizz up an impressive mountainside to get great views of the Magaliesberg Biosphere, the Hartbeespoort Dam and the surrounding areas. There are a variety of activities available at the Adventure Centre, including paragliding and abseiling.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

(Image: Maropeng)

Come up close with 30 different game species – there are lions (including white), rhinos, tigers (Siberian, Bengal and white), wild dogs, cheetahs, buffalo, sable antelope, hippos and other antelope. You have drive-through access in your own vehicle.

Munsieville and Kagiso township tours

Introduce older children to South Africa’s riveting political history with Tshuku Transport’s tours to Munsieville and Kagiso townships to learn about the struggle against apartheid, and the smuggling of weapons used in the fight against the apartheid state. You can organise tours with the Munsieville Tourism Association, too

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