The history or the origins of mankind has different tales. Religion will tell you one story while scientists/ archaeologists will also give you a different narrative.
In telling that history, one thing that is for sure is, Africa, particularly South Africa, played a key role in the evolution of human beings.
For a vivid proof of how human beings have evolved over millions of years now, one needs to visit the Cradle of Humankind, a paleoanthropological site about 50 km northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, in the Gauteng province.
The Cradle of Humankind is a beautiful melting pot of a carefully discovered and preserved area of archaeological evidence of how ‘human beings’ even started to walk.
The area houses Swartkrains where the oldest evidence of fire was discovered. There is proof that the first fire was lighted a million years ago there.
The Cradle of Humankind is made up of the Sterkfonein Caves, located in the Muldersdrift area close to the town of Krugersdorp, and the Cradle of Humankind Museum is at Maropeng.
A delegation of Ghanaian and Nigerian tourism services providers as part of this year’s South African Tourism Specialist Hosting made a life-changing trip to these pivotal sites on Tuesday.
The delegation of 26, made up of tourism agency owners, tourism service providers and media persons, had an all-access pass to the Cradle of Humankind which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.
The site, which has the registered name of Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, currently occupies 53,000 hectares and contains a complex of over 200 limestone caves. These caves, according to Lindiwe Mahlangu, a senior tour guide, are 10 to 20 million years old.
It is important to note that, the Sterkfontein Caves were the site of the discovery of a 2.3-million-year-old fossil Australopithecus africanus, nicknamed "Mrs Ples". It was found in 1947 by Robert Broom and John T. Robinson. (“Mrs Ples”, classified by its founders as a female, later turned out to be a young male between the ages of 12 and 14.)
This very important find helped corroborate the 1924 discovery of the juvenile Australopithecus africanus skull known as the "Taung Child", by Raymond Dart, at Taung in the North West Province of South Africa, where excavations still continue.
There is also the Rising Star Cave system which contains the Dinaledi Chamber (chamber of stars). 15 fossil skeletons of an extinct species of hominin, provisionally named Homo naledi were also discovered there.
Sterkfontein alone has produced more than a third of early hominid fossils ever found prior to 2010. The Dinaledi Chamber contains over 1,500 H. naledi fossils, the most extensive discovery of a single hominid species ever found in Africa.
Lindiwe Mahlangu was quick to clarify that “when we say Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, people assume that we South Africans are saying that we have birth to humanity and they fail to understand that South Africa is recognised as a World Heritage Site. Cradle of Humankind, the birthplace of humanity, credit is going to the whole of the African continent. We are able to scientifically prove it...[in] most of the regions in Africa and we are able to pick up fossils that prove the existence of our ancestors.”
A visit to the Cradle of Humankind Museum is an eye-opener for any tourist. There, there are clear visuals of human evolutions over the years. There is also a rare display of the skeleton of Homo naledi.
With real-time experiences of how different events and weather patterns has affected the evolution of man, the Cradle of Humankind Museum is the perfect place for anyone to experience real hand how the first human-like species lived in Africa.
The South African Tourism Specialist Hosting is a constant feature of South African Tourism’s approach to marketing its tourism. This year’s SA Specialist Hosting will see the 26 persons visit sites across Gauteng and Western Cape in South Africa from November 19 to November 26, 2018.
The team is set to also visit the Ama Zwing Zwing Zip Line adventures, Sundown Boat Cruise and Soft ride on Big Wheel at V & A Water Front.
They will also Explore Cape Town on Red Bus to Table Mountain, Ride through the Winelands on a Wine Tram, have Eagles Eye View of the Mother City (Cape Town) – Paragliding, Visit to Cape of Good Hope and Experience Bo-kaap & Township Tour.
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