Sunday, October 3, 2010

South Africa 06.28-07.29 - Johannesburg and Cradle of Mankind

Upon leaving Kruger we headed straight for Johannesburg to stay with some friends. We only stayed for two days but were able to see some of the Cradle of Mankind by taking a tour of the Sterkfontein caves and a little museum in Maropeng complete with a ride through time. We were also able to check out the casino in hopes of getting a kilo of shrimp for 66R (less than $10!) but went on the wrong day :( fortunatley, there was some delicious Indian food next door.

Cradle of Mankind is a region where many notable hominid fossils have been found, including the Taung child, Mrs. Ples, and Little Foot (which they had just finished excavating the week prior to our tour after a 10yr endeavor). The cave was originally mined for limestone so most of the typical cave architecture was not present (very few stalagtites and stalagmites). However, the caves were still incredibly beautiful.
Gate blocking the Little Foot excavation.

After the cave tour we headed toward Maropeng for the 'theme park' we had been told existed. We ended up sneaking into the ride through time and the museum. The ride was pretty ridiculous and at one point our raft got stuck between the ice (presumably from the ice age) and we had to work to get it free! After the ride through time you had to walk through the Black Hole which was incredibly disorienting and dizzying, but super fun! We then headed out toward the museum part of the theme park.

On the way back to Cape Town (yes, we made the 15hr drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town in one day) we stopped by Soccer City. From here we began the journey back to our starting point, to wrap things up and finish seeing the sites.

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