A moment at The Maropeng Visitor Centre
The beautiful drive is quick and filled with a stunning outback landscape which is a wonderful escape from the concrete buzz of Jozi. Welcomed by the Maropeng Pillars and friendly security, we checked into the luxurious and intimate Maropeng Hotel. As you enter the hotel, you are immediately drawn to the infinity pool overlooking the lush mountain ranges. This phenomenal view is an iconic feature of the elegant boutique hotel.
The stunning infinity pool at the Maropeng Hotel
After settling down in my exclusive room with more stunning views. It was time to explore and discover all that is The Cradle of Humankind and the only World Heritage site in Gauteng. The site is widely viewed as the place from which all of humankind originated. The Maropeng Visitor Centre is certainly a haven for the tourist who appreciates complex journeys into archaeological and historic research.
The magical Maropeng Exhibition Centre is simply fascinating regardless of your beliefs on human origins and migration. The Exhibition is housed in the Tumulus Building which has some rare and brilliant architectural features. From the amazing walls, a grass amphitheatre to futuristic spaces.
Taking in the displays at the Visitor Centre
The impressive work, displays and research done at the site makes you curious about our origins and encourages discussion around our evolution and future as humans. There is something quite spiritual about the tour. More particularly, for some guests the journey in the Exhibition can bring feelings of a homecoming or at least make you question our sense of belonging and where home really is?
Fossil discoveries on display at Maropeng
The tour of the Maropeng Exhibition Centre also consists of fossil discoveries and multimedia displays of the history of the earth and humankind. By far the most memorable feature of the tour personally was the underground boat ride at the Visitor Centre. What an adventure for visitors! The exciting boat ride explores the creation and development of the earth. The voyage consists of several stages of the creation of the earth from the ice age (very cool snow making machines) to fiery balls of molten rock (with some even more impressive steam machines). The whole ride is simply majestic and fascinating. The development and impressive features of the Visitor Centre at Maropeng is astounding.
Underground boat ride
After taking in the impressive exhibition display and beautiful outdoor views , it was time for another adventure. The famous Sterkfontein caves located 10 km from the Maropeng Visitor Centre proved to be both an informative and physical tour. With our orange helmets on and our knowledgeable guide, Courage we set out to explore the Sterkfontein Caves. The caves are home to the oldest and ongoing palaeontological dig in the world. The Sterkfontein Caves are also known for the discovery of the pre-human skull, known as “Mrs Ples” and the hominid skeleton “Little Foot”. The tour of the cave includes some kneeling and crawling so this is definitely an activity for the more outdoors inclined tourist. Courage’s storytelling and humour added to the tour and made me less concerned about the 186 uphill steps we had to climb to exit the caves!
After a jam, packed afternoon of tours and exploring of the Maropeng Exhibition Centre and Sterkfontein Caves. It was time to unwind in the iconic infinity pool at the Maropeng Hotel (not,that it had been on my mind all afternoon). The sunset view overlooking the charming Witwaterberg and Magaliesberg range was the sweetest end to the weekend away in the isolated Maropeng.
The hidden Maropeng, is a traveller’s haven for the tourist keen to explore the earth and human creation. The discoveries and exhibition journeys certainly get you questioning creation and life. The experience is unique regardless of your beliefs and the Maropeng Hotel is the perfect way to unwind from the city surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges and memorable sunsets. Definitely a homecoming to be experienced!