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Maropeng (Cradle of Humankind) - Everything You Need to Know

Maropeng (Cradle of Humankind) – Everything You Need to Know

Maropeng, also referred to as the Cradle of Humankind is one destination you shouldn’t miss when in South Africa. It’s the holy grail for ancient history buffs and budding palaeontologists thanks to the fossilised human remains housed onsite.

What’s more, the exhibits at Maropeng aren’t just about ancient history but also about science in general—tackling topics such as the formation of planets and biology. 

Are you excited to see this marvel? Before you get on that plane, let us give you a rundown of what you need to know about Maropeng!

Things to Know

Address: R400, 1911, South Africa 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Contact Number: +27 14 577 9000 


  • ZAR 175 for adults
  • ZAR 102 for children 


How to Get There

By Plane and Taxi: To get from Johannesburg city centre to Maropeng, you can take a plane and taxi combo. This is the more expensive option and will cost you around ZAR 6,300, but it will also be the fastest one at around 4 hours’ worth of travel time.

To do this, you need to take the train past Marlboro, Sandton, and get off at Tambo Airport. Book a plane ticket, and fly from Johannesburg to Sishen, Kathu for around an hour, and take a taxi to Maropeng once you disembark from your plane.

By Car: Another option you can take when going to Maropeng is to drive your own car. This is significantly cheaper, as it will only cost you around ZAR 2,100 but it will also be less convenient, as you need to drive around 7 hours and 30 minutes.

What’s great about going to Maropeng by car, though, is that aside from being much more affordable, you can also do some sightseeing along the way, especially if you do stopovers. Plus, it’s a convenient way for families or groups to travel together!

Best Time to Visit

While you can certainly visit Maropeng all throughout the year, we recommend that you visit during the dry season (or from June to September). During this period, you get sunny days and relatively cool weather with little to no risk of rainfall.

This will give you two benefits during your visit to Maropeng. The first one is that you get to visit the location (along with the excellent Sterkfontein Caves) without fear of getting soaked. 

Second, is that sunny days mean great views of that African sunrise over Maropeng! It’s a breathtaking sight owing to the wide open space of the area and one that definitely shouldn’t be missed when in the Cradle of Humankind.

What to Do: Activities Offered by the Cradle of Humankind

A visit to the Maropeng Visitor Centre is a simulated journey through our ancient history. To say that it’s awe-inspiring is an understatement! 

Here, you and your family can enjoy two different exhibits—one about the development of the planets and the second one about human evolution.

What’s truly amazing about the latter, though, is the actual fossils of ancient humans on display such as Austrolopheticus. We can’t help but get goosebumps while walking past the fossil thinking that this is our ancient ancestor from millions of years ago!

Pro Tip:
Check Maropeng’s website before you visit to learn more about their seasonal exhibits. A notable exhibit in the past was put up by Wits University, and it was called “Almost Human,” showing a unique set of early human fossils.

From missedara

The Sterkfontein Caves hold a significant place among palaeontologists, as this is the site where most of the fossils at Maropeng were originally found. A visit to this spot will let you explore these very caves and marvel at the grandeur of the ancient location!

Before you head on down to the caves, you’ll go through an exhibition where Maropeng guides will talk about the different rock formations and curiosities you will encounter in the cave. 

Once inside the cave system, the tour guide will then lead you to points of interest such as where the fossils were found, the location where ancient stone tools were recovered, and the exact spot where early man was believed to have used fire!

Pro Tip:
If you want to get your money’s worth, you can also check out their website for their specials and packages. 

Maropeng usually offers bundles and packages with discounted pricing (such as accommodations, activities, and dining experiences).

Aside from the history and science lessons you and your kids can get from Maropeng, the centre also provides interesting educational puzzles for young children to accomplish. 

Some of these puzzles come in the form of mazes or connect the dots and are definitely a fun way to bond and engage with your young kids. 

You can download these educational worksheets in advance via their website so you have something to do while lined up at the centre’s exhibits or the caves.

Pro Tip:
You can also ask your kids to answer the different science-related questions on their website. 
These deal with biodiversity and scientific classification and are designed to further ignite your children’s passion for the sciences!

Nearby Attractions

Address: 2 Ivan Smuts Ave, Silverfields, Krugersdorp, 1739, South Africa

Distance from Maropeng: 29 minutes


Contact Number: +27119553845

Operating Hours:

  • Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Closed from Monday to Friday

After an educational journey through our ancient history, you can bring your family along for some fun water activities at the nearby Pines Resort. It’s less than half an hour away from Maropeng and is designed to entertain kids and adults with its amenities.

Aside from its cool and clean swimming pools, you can also enjoy the excitement of its water slides and its rope course adventure. Then, you can also picnic or gather around a fire for a braai and bond with your loved ones.

From: landi_91

Address: Veronica St, Kloofendal, Roodepoort, 1709, South Africa

Distance from Maropeng: 32 minutes


Contact Number: +27117126600

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Kloofendal Nature Reserve is a great spot for you to visit if you want something relaxing after your educational tour of Maropeng. It’s a sprawling nature reserve filled with trees, greenery, and open spaces inhabited by small mammals like hedgehogs and duikers.

You can also experience the great outdoors here and get your adrenaline pumping by hiking around Kloofendal Nature Reserve. The site has different trails for you to hike on, but we recommend going through the Kloof Trail or the Miners Walk for a challenge!

Address: 1 Nightingale Cres, Rant-En-Dal, Krugersdorp, 1739, South Africa 

Distance from Maropeng: 21 minutes


Contact Number: +27116604365 

Operating Hours:

  • Tuesday to Sunday, 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Closed on Monday

If you’re up for a round of golf with your buddies, then Krugersdorp Golf Club is the best place to drop by after your visit to Maropeng. At just around 20 minutes away from the Cradle of Humankind, this golf course offers 18 different holes for varying skill levels.

On top of these challenging course holes, they also have a ton of amenities that you will surely appreciate after a long day under the sun. These include the Lapa (the golf course’s social hub area), the upstairs bar area, and the Hole in One Restaurant!

From yolotando 

Address: Nooitgedacht, Muldersdrift Johannesburg 1748 111B Sunset Dr, Elandsdrift, Johannesburg, 1478, South Africa

Distance from Maropeng: 29 minutes


Contact Number: +27812378792

Operating Hours:

  • Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Sunday, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Closed on Monday

Once you have your fill of ancient history and prehistoric ancestry at Maropeng, you can then check out the nearby indoor shooting range simply called The Shooting Range.

If you’ve always wanted to hone your shooting skills or experience what it feels like firing live ammo, then this is the place you need to be!

You can choose from their different packages such as the Equalizer (handgun practice), SWAT (automatic rifle practice), and Sniper (sniper rifle practice). 

What we like, though, is that each package includes a safety briefing and basic firearms training to get you ready for some heavy artillery action later on!

Where to Eat: Best Restaurants Near Maropeng 

Address: 3250, South Africa


Contact Number: +27 14 577 9000

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday, 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Sunday, 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM 

The Tumulus Restaurant is located inside Maropeng itself and offers amazing light meals (e.g., burgers, fries, and sandwiches) and drinks (such as cocktails and beer) at the cocktail bar

If you visit during a Sunday, you can also try out their carvery offerings for a more filling meal.

Address: 3250, South Africa


Contact Number: +27145779000

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Located near the Maropeng Visitor Centre, this restaurant offers a great respite to tourists who just want to eat something light or drink something refreshing (like an ice-cold soda). 

The setup is also fantastic with outdoor dining areas that will give you and your group an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape and the visitor centre itself.

Address: Kromdraai Rd, Mogale City, Krugersdorp, 1732, South Africa

Distance from Maropeng: 21 minutes


Contact Number: +27116687000

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday, 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Forum Homini & Roots Restaurant is an elegant and quaint restaurant out in the middle of Mother Nature in Krugersdorp. It has elegant interiors with minimalist but modern decor and furniture and is surrounded by the beauty of the surrounding African plains.

We recommend their best-sellers like short rib ravioli, red curry risotto, ashed venison loin, and malva pudding. You can also order these items with their wine pairing packages, which cost around ZAR 135 to ZAR 295.

From shacreative

Address: Hekpoort Road R563 Hekpoort, Krugersdorp, 1790, South Africa

Distance from Maropeng: 7 minutes


Contact Number: +27738057731

Operating Hours:

  • Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Closed on Monday and Sunday

Just 7 minutes away, the Bru House is one of the most convenient restaurants to visit after a trip to Maropeng. They mostly serve light fare, which we think is perfect if you want something to grab and go.

The Bru House serves delicious gourmet pizzas (with variations like meat, a spicy mince, and blue cheese) along with gourmet hot dogs with ham, relish, bacon, or chilli. 

They also have tons of beverages like coffees, milkshakes, ciders, and spirits.

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