The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site which has
been nominated for the rich diversity of fossils found in the area which cast
light on human ancestors and their relatives and the environments which they
The declared area is 47 000 hectares and extends
approximately between Oaktree, Hekpoort, Broederstroom and Lanseria. Most of the
site is in Gauteng with about 10% of the site in North West Province. Most of
the site is on dolomite, a rock type which is slightly soluble in water. This
has two major consequences- the formation of caves and the formation of fossils.
There are currently over 200 caves on the site, with possibly more to be
discovered. There are 13 fossil sites which have been extensively examined- and
some have produced fossils of human ancestors and their relatives.
A variety of stone tools used by human ancestors such as axes
and scrapers have also been identified. The range of other creatures which
co-existed in the area included extinct animals such as short-necked giraffe,
giant buffalo, giant hyaena and several species of saber-toothed cats. Numerous
fossils of extant creatures such as leopards and hartebeest have also been
There are a wide range of activities- perhaps the best known include
Sterkfontein Caves- Both of these venues are suitable for children, but
not easily accessible for the elderly or disabled. (Stairs, bending, crouching
and crawling are involved).
Possible places to eat include the Cradle Restaurant and Bellgables Country.