If you're curious about human nature, the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa should be one of the first locations you add to your African travel itinerary!
This archaeological haven, located north-west of Johannesburg, is the perfect happy place for any history or archaeology buff. One of the first three South African sites listed as World Heritage Sites, the Cradle of Humankind (also known as Environs in Gauteng) holds some of the most ancient human artifacts known to mankind. The sheer number of artifacts uncovered at the site is enough alone to knock anyone's socks off!
More than 900 hominid fossils, over 300 fragments of fossil wood, and more than 9,000 stone tools have been discovered in the caves of the Cradle – and that doesn't even include the thousands of animal fossils that have been discovered there, too. There are more than 200 caves in the Cradle of Humankind, 13 of which have been excavated. The oldest excavation, Sterkfontein, has been active since 1966 and is the world's longest sustained palaeoanthropological excavation.
This UNESCO site isn't just for exploring the caves of human history – it has over 400 diverse tourist attractions including river rafting, quad biking, ballooning, hiking, and cycling. You can even stay overnight and dine at the site: the Cradle of Humankind boasts over 190 accommodation establishments suitable for any visitors on any budget, as well as more than 120 restaurants! For some of the best food and perhaps the finest dining experience in the Cradle, try The Goblins Cove or Roots Restaurant.
The Cradle of Humankind is just one of many wonderful World Heritage sites scattered throughout Africa. For more information on the site, visit the Maropeng Exhibition website or the Gauteng website. Check back on our blog regularly for more feature posts on UNESCO sites!