The Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind, Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site: Address, Phone Number, The Cradle of Humankind Reviews: 4.5/5

The Cradle of Humankind
4.5
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2-3 hours
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from $134.78
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
466 reviews
Excellent
231
Very good
163
Average
50
Poor
15
Terrible
7

RovingCivilEngineer
Gloucestershire, UK143 contributions
Jun 2019
The Cradle of Humankind comprises fifteen individual visitor sites, over an area roughly equivalent in size to an English county or a French commune.

You cannot see them all in one day.
I've attached a photo of the info board that shows the distribution.

The two 'big' sites are Maropeng Visitor Centre and Sterkfontein Caves.
These can easily be seen on the same day, and welcome tourists.

Visits to the some of the secondary sites have to be booked, otherwise you will find the gates locked.
Most (all?) of the current excavation sites are closed to the public.

But it's still well worth going, to Maropeng and Sterkfontein, to imagine what life was like for the first humans.
You don't need a guided tour to get there, the roads are good.
Maropeng, you can just walk round, but Sterkfontein you have to join a ranger tour.
You can buy tickets online, but we just turned up, bought a 'combo' ticket to both sites, and joined a tour half an hour later.

Find websites for 'The Cradle of Humankind' on the Gauteng Tourism Authority or 'Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves Official Visitor Centre'.
Written May 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Maneesh K
Milton Keynes, UK122 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
What a great place to visit! A must see location for anyone visiting Johannesburg. The cave system is mind boggling, educational and worth the time. There are lots of educational content in the visitors center and the museum. This is a place I would recommend highly.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Joao carlos
Sao Paulo, SP36 contributions
Dec 2019
We did a combination: first, in the morning, we spent 2 hours inside the Cradle Center, learning lots of important issues and soon after we head to the main Cave , where many fossils were found. I would include The cradle of Mankind as one of the MUST-DO things to see in Joburg.
Then we had lunch at Lions park, a nearby attraction. Awesome!! We saw MANY animals and we could interact with them! Fantastic!!
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

CatStevensUK
Johannesburg, South Africa6 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
The scenery here is worth the drive alone, but the museum is very much aimed at school children. There is also a somewhat pointless boat ride with no narration or explanation as to what is going on. The staff here however are very friendly, especially the security guards.
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Corinne
Johannesburg, South Africa37 contributions
Dec 2014 • Family
Very informative and well organized. Even for my mother who was on crutches she could get around. I just feel they should have a golf cart type of transport for the aged . Very interesting place
Written April 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

BritTravller
Toronto, Canada68 contributions
Jan 2015 • Friends
The Cradle of Humankind is located in Maropeng, East Rand. It is located underground but is not claustrophobic. It is interactive and there is so much to see, do and experience, from the boat ride taking us through volcanoes, icebergs, curtains of water, lightning and fire., to the walkway, to the various displays showing the beginning of time to the present day, explanations for various happenings and also an insightful projection for our future. The exhibits are well thought out and there is plenty of space in which to move around to see the exhibits fully. Do plan to take some time to visit; a couple of hours is really not enough.

Also, a visit to the Sterkfontein Caves should be on the agenda for the same day as they are nearby. The guides are most informative and carry first aid kits. I recommend taking a good look at all the displays before one continues with the guide to the caves. I found I was able to do so while waiting for the guide. One is given a head covering, then hard helmet for safety reasons. There are mats covering most of the caves' floors and I recommend sturdy walking shoes/sandals as I found some places quite slippery. The caves are intriguing. So much to look at and wonder. Stalactites and stalagmites, lakes are just some of the things to be seen. Some have very high ceilings, reaching to the sky above. They are also the place where some of the most important discoveries have been made regarding the evolution of mankind.
Written March 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

kayehm
Toronto, Canada50 contributions
Apr 2012 • Friends
We made the mistake (like many other people driving around) of thinking that Cradle of Humankind was a place as opposed to an area. The whole area is called "Cradle of Humankind" with 2 key attractions - the caves and the maropeng site. The cave tour was really interesting (prepare to get a bit dirty) - and Maropeng was very educational (great museum, entertaining boat ride!) with a spectacular view point from the top.
Written June 21, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jpcheshire1615
Wilmslow, UK353 contributions
Feb 2020
The Cradle of Humankind, norththwest of Johannesburg, is an extremely important area for paleontology. Many of the oldest hominid remains in the world were found here. It has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site. We had high hopes but unfortunately were disappointed by our visit in a number of ways.

We got tickets for the Maropeng visitor centre and the Sterkfontein Caves. Visitors should plan their route carefully: the signposting on the nearby roads is surprisingly poor.

First the visitor centre. We got the feeling that it did not really know who its target audience was. The boat ride with which we started our tour of the museum was quite enjoyable (though aimed at children) but there was no expanation of the link between it and the rest of the museum. In the museum proper there were plenty of buttons to press and objects to set in motion, but there were also very detailed written explanations on the walls, some of them not well lit and as a result difficult to read. We longed to find a narrative linking the various stages of human development and perhaps a family tree making the relationship between the different hominids and modern humans clear, but we found none. There was so much potential in this museum but frustratingly it was not realised.

The Sterkfontein Caves are a distance away from the museum (you need your own transport). It is in these caves that many of the hominid fossils were actually found (including the celebrated "Mrs Ples"). The finds are not on view in the caves. The hourly tour shows you tound the caves which are rather atmospheric but not very different from many other caves around the world. The guide brought the story of the searches and discoveries to light, though. We came away impressed by amazing stores of how many of these fundamental discoveries were found by accident when experts came across unexpected objects.

We enjoyed our visit and it was good to see such a significant archaeological site. We thought, however, that the museum could have made the visit a much more enriching experience. It was such an interesting subject but it was not presented well even to an audience that was eager to find out more.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mazisi
Pretoria, South Africa80 contributions
Dec 2019
I visited the Cradle of Human Kind (Maropeng Museum) on 11 November 2019. it is advisable to buy tickets for both Maropeng Museum and Sterkfontein Caves because it is cheaper that way. Maropeng ticket is R120.00 and Sterkfontein Caves tickets costs R165.00. However, a combo ticket (both places ) costs R190.00. The tours start at 09H00 and close at 17H00. in this place you learn about evolution of humanbeing from the ealiest species. You also go on a journey of the types of tools/equipment humans have been using from olden days to morden. There are also viewing statins where one can sit and view movies about human evolution, planets etc. There is also a mini bout ride that takes you through some underground activites and I really enjoyed this one. it is wise to have guide with you to get the best out of this place.
Written December 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AstroBBoy666
Sydney, Australia27 contributions
Aug 2019
We took an uber from our hotel and mistakenly just put in "Cradle of Humankind" as the destination. The driver didn't know where it was either so we all followed the map. Unfortunately we didn't realise we had to enter "Maropeng" or "Cradle of Humankind Visitor Centre Maropeng" as the destination.
We ended up going around and around and finally a local pointed us in the right direction.

We got there in the end.. just a friendly note so others don't do what we did.
Written September 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind admission prices can vary. Entrance tickets currently cost $132.85, while a popular guided tour starts around $84.29 per person. See all 14 The Cradle of Humankind tickets and tours on Tripadvisor

The Cradle of Humankind 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 14 The Cradle of Humankind tickets and tours on Tripadvisor