Skip to content

Just a forty-five-minute drive from the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa in Johannesburg, lie the 47,000 hectares of rugged landscapes that comprise the Cradle of Humankind.

Take a step back in time, to the world as it was 2 million years ago. Evocative and thought-provoking, take the opportunity to soak in the fascinating stories about how our species came to be at the splendid Maropeng Visitor Centre. Walking through fossil sites like Malapa and Sterkfontein, it’s hard not to be filled with an intoxicating sense of time and place, along with the thrill of uncovering the mysteries of mankind.

The official visitor centre, Maropeng means “returning to the place of origin” in Setswana, the main indigenous language in this area of South Africa. The centre is set in a unique architectural structure –  the Tumulus. Within this grass-covered, tiered mound, visitors begin their experience to understand man’s origins with an underground boat ride, before emerging into the exhibition halls filled with interactive displays and games.

A popular attraction on site, the Sterkfontein Caves uncovered one of the most profound discoveries relating to early human evolution. Before entering the caves, you will be enlightened on human evolution in the captivating exhibition which showcases fossils that date back 4 million years ago – most notably the well-preserved “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot”. Then explore the labyrinth of ancient limestone caves, showcasing perfectly fossilised bone fragments – a true natural wonder to behold.

Open from 9am – 5pm (closed on Mondays, except public holidays). Please refer to the Cradle of Humankind website ( for more details.

Guests staying at the Saxon should contact the Concierge who would be delighted to help arrange your visit to the Cradle of Humankind. Enquire today:

Tel: +27 (0)11 292 6000