Sterkfontein Cave

Sterkfontein Cave, Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site: Hours, Address, Sterkfontein Cave Reviews: 4.5/5

Sterkfontein Cave
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Sit­u­at­ed an hour’s dri­ve from Johan­nes­burg and Pre­to­ria, the Sterk­fontein Caves are world-famous for their fos­sil finds and are a pop­u­lar vis­i­tor destination. After an exten­sive facelift in 2005, the Sterk­fontein Caves site is now home to a top restau­rant and con­fer­enc­ing facil­i­ties, offer­ing easy access to the caves with mod­ern walk­ways and a board­walk past the exca­va­tion site where glob­al­ly acclaimed fos­sils have been discovered. The Sterk­fontein Caves are owned by the Uni­ver­si­ty of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, whose sci­en­tists have been respon­si­ble for the main exca­va­tions at this World Her­itage Site. They are cred­it­ed with many of the most notable dis­cov­er­ies in the caves, includ­ing the world-famous fos­sils of Mrs Ples and Lit­tle Foot, the lat­ter being an almost com­plete Aus­tralo­p­ithe­cus skele­ton dat­ing back more than three mil­lion years. The tours at the Sterk­fontein Caves, which start above ground and then take vis­i­tor
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Admission tickets
from $136.61
All you need to step foot in the door.
Top ways to experience Sterkfontein Cave
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
607 reviews
Excellent
299
Very good
230
Average
63
Poor
10
Terrible
5

RovingCivilEngineer
Gloucestershire, UK143 contributions
Jun 2019
You have to join a ranger tour to go underground.
You can book online, but in mid winter we just rocked up, bought a combo ticket for the Visitor Centre, and after half an hour met our tour guide 'Romeo'.

First a short walk, that would be very hot the rest of the year, as there is no shade.
Then the manhole cover is unlocked, and you teeter down into the cave.
It's a bit of a scramble in places, no problem if you are fit.
But being more than overweight, I only just squeezed through, and had to really suck my belly in.
Some bits are crawling only, so you could get a bit grubby.
Oh - and no open toed shoes / sandals, long trousers a good idea. It's cooler than on the surface, still warmish, but a bit too cold for tee shirt.

Great fun though.

Great to see where they found (what were at the time) the first proto humans.
3 to 2.6 million years ago, a female fell into a hole, she could have been injured, or could have starved to death, and another was found that is about 2.2 million years old. The have also found several sub species of Homo, and a Human that is 1.7 million years old.

Great tour and very informative guide....
Written May 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Prega N
Scottburgh, South Africa11 contributions
Dec 2019
We opted for the caves and museum combo.The cradle of humankind is a world heritage site. The oldest humanoid fossil was found here. Before you enter the caves displays of fossils, ancient tools and stages of the evolution of modern day human can be viewed.The tour guide was very knowledgeable,humerous and warm. The lime stone and rock formations were amazing. The tour takes an about an hour, a must do for everyone, but be warned that you have to go through some tight spaces in and out. Not recommended for visitors with mobility problems and parents with little babies. The museum in Maropeng was an absolutely incredible experience, not a typical museum, really educational and thought provoking. It is really of first world standard. Mind boggling for both adults and children. There are restuarants, a hotel and grassy parks to relax. Beautiful scenery,do take a camera along. The drive from JHB is approximately an hour,perfect trip for a family day out.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks for this really great review, Prega N. Glad you enjoyed your day out with us!
Written January 29, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

prani2016
Johannesburg, South Africa36 contributions
Feb 2019
If you want to see caves at least once in your lifetime.... do visit this cave. We opted for the caves and museum combo.The cradle of humankind is a world heritage site. The oldest human fossil was found here. Before you enter the caves displays of fossils, ancient tools and stages of the evolution of modern day human can be viewed. You get ready with your helmet and walk outside, where the tour guide explains items en-route to the cave. It was a long walk to the inside of the cave. There were tight spaces that you have to enter through and on your knees. Good clothes are not recommended. It is a beautiful sight to see. The Cradle of Humankind had a short boat ride that you can take over and over if you wanted to. You experience natural elements as the boat goes through- wind, rain, snow and fire. It was a very interesting trip.
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks for this review, prani2016. Yes, comfortable clothes and shoes are a must for the Sterkfontein Caves!
Written January 29, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TKriek01
Durban, South Africa15 contributions
May 2022
We had a very knowledgeable guide. He was excellent and patient with all the people on the tour. He made the entire experience uplifting and worth every moment. This Cave Tour is not recommended for people with walking disabilities or back issues. I'm relieved that I did not take my elderly Father on this tour, as there is a fare amount of up and down stairs and crawling through short tunnels in the cave walls. You have to be careful to not bumping your head. Everyone is provided with a Construction Site style helmet, to wear while in the Caves. We would certainly recommend the Cave tour. The Moropeng Tour Exhibition is the one to take your disabled or elderly family to instead, this is only 8 km away at their other site, much safer mobility option.
Written May 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Paul
Windhoek, Namibia13 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
We bought a combo ticket to get into the cave at Maropeng, Cradle of Mankind, after the tour the, we drove down to the caves it's a few minutes away.

The guide takes us through the cave and gives us a great lesson, on the formation, we were allowed to ask questions and he was very helpful. It takes about an hour to go through it. It's a pretty awesome experience.
Written January 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GeneralShamu
New York City, NY721 contributions
Dec 2021
Goes perfectly with a visit to the Maropeng Museum a short drive away. The tour to the caves last ~1 hour and hen you need about another 60-90 minutes to read everything in the welcome area they have on the topic. This was super informative and eye opening to see just how much ancestral history has been, and is yet to be, found in this area.
Written December 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Curious Herbivore
Bloemfontein, South Africa47 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
The tour runs every hour. I'm glad that I bought the combo ticket for the cave and the museum. Much cheaper like that!
The cave itself is not as spectacular as Congo cave, but rich in history and lot more fun!
Written January 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glad you had fun, CathyH2369!
Written January 29, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

anirbanb
Mumbai, India311 contributions
Overwhelming probably is a great way to describe it - no it doesn't dazzle, no it is not something out of the ordinary - it is simply the Cradle of Humankind and that's what is overwhelming - two oldest human forms were found here - the earliest known man-ape...
Great guides take you through the cave - up and down and tell you the wonders of it all. You need to be fit not super fit to do this - it's not scary - if you are asthmatic just carry your pump. There is only one section in which you have to crawl through a small space - and it's over before you can say jackrabbit!! Quite a few steps to climb up and down. A must visit if you ever felt like knowing from where we all began... The caves have never been lived in - the two people found probably fell into the caves and died there only to be discovered billions of years late!!!
Written May 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your incredible feedback. You have captured exactly what the cradle of humankind is all about and what is represents to humankind. I do hope you will visit again soon. Kind Regards Lindsay Marshall
Written May 25, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Practicality
49469424 contributions
Aug 2011
This is a site to be missed. The above reviews discuss the area as a whole and not the Cave specifically; a visit to the Maropeng Center can and should be done without a visit to this Cave. The Cave itself really has little to offer. A visit to the cave is a somewhat lengthy walk in and out of a cave (down and up several sets of stairs, tights spaces, ect., as discussed above) with nothing special to see. There are some cave formations that you could see at any cave any place in the world, and these are not particularly wonderful examples of them. There are NO fossils and nothing anthropological . The site for finding Mrs. Ples is here but that is not part of the tour; you can go see it on your own but there is not much to see.
Written September 5, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

amm1u
Glasgow, Scotland159 contributions
Jan 2014 • Solo
It's a cave...... Not even a large cave, with very few interesting rock formations and no attempt to put the fossil remains found here in any kind of context. The guides are good, but the tour itself consists of walking down some stairs, a short walk in the caves themselves looking at the "elephant" rock and trying to make out the underground lake in the dark, finishing with a narrow climb out. If you want to know more about human fossils and cave art which the region is rich in, go to the Origins Centre in Johannesburg (or any decent natural history museum in the world); if you want to see stalactites, stalagmites etc, there are umpteen everywhere. An opportunity missed to make a the most out of some of the most important finds in human history and the organisers should visit eg Lascaux to see how this could be done.
Written January 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear amm1u Many thanks for the review posted on TripAdvisor. I am truly sorry that the Sterkfontein Caves experience was not enjoyed. The Caves are not spectacular in that there is not much lighting in the caves, but this was never the intention. The caves are part of the World Heritage Site, and we are charged with the responsibility of protecting this valuable resource. Kind regards Tony
Written January 21, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 532
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Sterkfontein Cave

Sterkfontein Cave is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

Sterkfontein Cave admission prices can vary. Entrance tickets currently cost $135.16, while a popular guided tour starts around $95.00 per person. See all 40 Sterkfontein Cave tickets and tours on Tripadvisor

Sterkfontein Cave can be crowded, so we recommend booking e-tickets ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund. See all 40 Sterkfontein Cave tickets and tours on Tripadvisor