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Go in search of fun over the long Easter weekend. Maropeng, in the Cradle of Humankind, has some interesting plans for visitors.
THERE’S no need to travel hundreds of kilometres to enjoy a holiday out of Johannesburg this Easter. Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site has organised a line-up complete with a guarantee of finding action to keep all ages occupied.


The Maropeng Boutique Hotel is offering visitorsThe Maropeng Boutique Hotel is offering specials for visitors“Escape the madness of the city to the tranquil Cradle of Humankind,” says the general manager of Maropeng, Erica Jago. “Maropeng has many exciting events planned this Easter for the whole family to enjoy – from accommodation and riveting tours, to fun Easter-themed activities and competitions.”

Five-star food, exciting excavation sites and cave climbing are all on the menu, all while drinking in the fresh country air and stunning surroundings.

There will also be visits by the Easter bunny to regale the children with tasty treats. To work off the extra chocolate, they can explore the playground. They will be able to learn at the same time, with lessons about how our hominid ancestors lived millions of years ago.

The Maropeng Boutique Hotel is offering specials for the period, from 22 to 27 April, to give people the chance to wake up in the heart of the Cradle and to experience all it has to offer. For R1 000 per person sharing, visitors can enjoy a three-course dinner and breakfast on the terrace overlooking some of the world’s oldest mountains in the Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg ranges.

A veritable feast will be on offer, so that even if you miss out on some of the activities you will walk away with at least one thing: a full belly. There is a buffet at the hotel over the weekend and a carvery lunch at the Tumulus restaurant at the visitor centre.

Lunch at the Tumulus costs R135 per adult and R75 for children, with an additional kid’s menu option for R50.

The restaurant is also running a competition for diners, with top-notch prizes to sweeten the deal. First prize is two nights’ accommodation for a couple at the Maropeng Boutique Hotel, including food and tours of Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves.

Second prize is a star-gazing evening for two, with a presentation and yet more food to savour under the night sky. Third prize offers a trip to Cooper’s Cave, where genuine fossils rest in the rocks.


Visitors can also enjoy toursVisitors can also enjoy tours of the Cradle of Humankind offered by MaropengIndeed, star gazing and visits to Cooper’s Cave are regular events on the Maropeng calendar, and will be taking place in April.

Paleoanthropologist Christine Steininger, who leads the excavation at Cooper’s Cave, will give a guided tour on 7 May. “It includes a walking tour to Cooper’s, an interactive talk on the site and fossils still to be uncovered, and a chance to look for fossils, followed by a picnic provided by Maropeng,” says Tshililo Ragimana, from Flow PR.

The tour costs R350 and is suitable for children too. People need to wear comfortable shoes, take sun tan lotion and torches for cave exploration.

Another walking tour set to scintillate is Swartkrans. “It is usually closed to the public and the guided tour includes the rare opportunity to observe an active palaeontological dig,” Ragimana says.

Morris Sutton, a doctoral researcher at the University of Witwatersrand who is currently excavating at Swartkrans, will lead a tour on the fossil finds and their significance. The tour, which does not cater for children, costs R350 and includes a picnic lunch. It will happen on 16 April.

Star-gazing is not just for astrologers writing horoscopes either, as a night with Maropeng’s astronomer Vincent Nettmann will prove. Chase the constellations through binoculars and telescopes as Nettmann takes you on a laser-guided tour of the stars from the comfort of the hotel’s deck. A three-course meal will round off the evening. It costs R295 and, subject to weather, will take place on 30 April.

Maropeng is conveniently located right on Joburg’s doorstep, in the centre of the Cradle of Humankind, just 40 kilometres out of the city. For more information, visit its website.

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