Two days in Johannesburg allows you enough time to thoroughly explore the city’s historic landmarks—from Constitution Hill to the township of Soweto—and get a closer look at some of the its most culturally rich neighborhoods.
Cradle of Humankind
You can begin exploring the 181-square-mile (469-square-kilometer) Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng Visitor Centre, which hosts a variety of exhibits detailing the formation of the planet and the history of life over 4 billion years. Not all excavated sites within the Cradle of Humankind are open to the public, but travelers can explore the Sterkfontein Caves, one of the world’s most famous fossil sites and the location of the longest-running continuous paleoanthropological dig.
Cradle of Humankind tours leave from Pretoria or Johannesburg and typically visit the Maropeng Visitor Centre as well as the Sterkfontein Caves. Some tours also include a wildlife safari at the nearby Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Maropeng Visitor Centre and all of its onsite restaurants are wheelchair accessible.
A variety of hotels, cottages, and bed-and-breakfasts are available in the area for visitors who would like to spend more than just a day exploring.
While the Maropeng Visitor Centre and Sterkfontein Caves each charge separate admission, guided tours typically provide entrance to both.
How to Get There
The Cradle of Humankind lies west of Johannesburg in South Africa’s Gauteng province. Public transportation is limited in the area, so it’s a good idea to arrive as part of a guided tour or drive independently. The site is located 59 miles (95 kilometers) from O.R. Tambo International Airport and roughly 12 miles (19 kilometers) from Lanseria International Airport. It is situated on the R400, just off the R563 Hekpoort road.
When to Get There
Due to the area’s temperate climate you can visit the Cradle of Humankind year-round. The site is open daily with the exception of major holidays.
“Mrs. Ples” and “Little Foot”
Discovered by Robert Broom in 1947, “Mrs. Ples” is the nickname of the most complete skull of anAustralopithecus africanus ever found in South Africa, thought to be more than 2 million years old. The archaeological community was thrilled by the discovery of “Little Foot” in 1994 in a box of bones thought to belong to monkeys or other animals. When put together, “Little Foot” was found to be a nearly completeAustralopithecus fossil skeleton.
- Things to do in Gauteng
- Things to do in Pretoria
- Things to do in Port Elizabeth
- Things to do in Victoria Falls
- Things to do in Livingstone
- Things to do in Kasane
- Things to do in Harare
- Things to do in Western Cape
- Things to do in Zanzibar
- Things to do in Kilimanjaro
- Things to do in Mahe
- Things to do in Red Sea
- Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
- Aha Lesedi Cultural Village
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
- Hartbeespoort Dam
- Montecasino Bird Gardens
- Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam
- Mandela House
- Johannesburg Zoo
- Origins Centre
- Constitution Hill
- Nelson Mandela Bridge
- Hillbrow Tower
- Museum Africa