Visitor Centre for the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site

Useful Information

Location: R400, 1911.
From Krugersdorp follow N14 northwest for 5 km, turn right on R563, after 7.5 km turn left, after 2 km turn right, 1.5 km to Maropeng.
(-25.968331, 27.661911)
Open: All year daily 9-17.
Online booking mandatory.
Fee: Adults ZAR 100, Children (0-6) free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Replica
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: Self guided, D=3 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Maropeng, R400, 1911, Tel: +27-14-577-9000. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


DEC-2005 opened by President Thabo Mbeki.


Maropeng is a rather new center, a sort of Visitor Center for the archaeology of Gauten, somewhere between museum and theme park. While it stresses the Cradle of Humankind even with its name, the Setswana word Maropeng translates return to the place of your origins, it seems to be primarly an entertainment business. The centre was built in the middle of the excavation sites, 12 km from Sterkfontein, on a 100 ha property. It includes a conference centre, a boutique hotel, a budget accommodation for students named Hominid House, and numerous restaurants.

There are various reasons to list this site, although it is not a cave or mine. If you remove all the entertainment stuff, it is an important museum and exhibition center. And there are various underground attractions, which make it a subterranea.

The center is entered through a huge artificial hill called the Tumulus, as it is an imitation of an ancient burial mound. We are not sure what culture they copied, but we guess it's the Megalithic culture of Europe. From this impressive entrance, an underground boat ride brings the visitors to the exhibition. This is a typical fun park attraction, with icebergs, volcanoes, molten lava, curtains of water, sheets of lightning and fire walls. The exhibition is a combination of dioramas, animatronic and interactive displays.

The exhibition starts outside the tumulus with a Stone Age site, which has been excavated since October 2005 by scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand. They discovered handaxes and cleavers of Acheulean age (between 1 and 0.5 Ma old) created by Homo erectus. The findings are on display in the Maropeng Original Fossil Zone, which is a little strange. Archaeological remains are no fossils, the exhibits change regularly, so it is necessary to ask a guide, and it is placed at the very end of the exhibition.