Johannesburg - The Cradle of Humankind

Old Jul 31st, 2004, 06:14 PM
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Johannesburg - The Cradle of Humankind

My wife has a keen interest in unique sites such as Sterkfontein. I agree that it would be foolish to go all of the way to Johannesburg, S.A. without visiting such an important palaeo-anthropological site. So -- we are going. The problem is that my wife has focused on a scientist-led tour (@ R1250 p/p), while I have noticed that general public tours at the caves are only R20 p/p. Has any Fodorite had any experience with these scientist-led private tours of the fossil sites at Sterkfontein? Have they proven to be incrementally worthwhile?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 05:28 PM
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After of good deal of searching and inquiring, we ultimately booked a scientist-led tour of Sterkfontein and "The Cradle of Humankind". We did not use Palaeo Tours (@R1250 p/p), however. Instead, we engaged Dr. Thomas Wallmach (a geologist) of GeoTours ([email protected]) for a tour on Sept. 4th (@ R495 p/p). Although my wife did have some knowledge about these palaeological sites, I had none. Nonetheless, our guide made the subject matter quite interesting for both of us. He picked us up at our hotel and began the day with a trip to the Transvaal Musuem in Pretoria. There, he was able to use the various exhibits to provide the background information. Also on display was the skull of "Mrs. Ples", dated at 1-1/2 million years old. After the Transvaal Museum, he took us to the dig sites in Johannesburg where we were given a tour of the Sterkfontein cave. At these sites (Sterkfontein, Drimolen, Kromdraai & Swartkrans), they also unearthed the fossilized remains of "Little Foot", a pre-human believed to be 4 million years old. All-in-all, the tour provided by Geo Tours was an excellent tour, and the best "value" as a tour during the entirety of our stay in S.A. I recommend these dig sites and this tour as a "must" for anyone looking for something to do while in Jo'burg.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:30 PM
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That sounds very interesting, indeed!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 03:19 AM
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What a great report Jrruff. Exactly the sort of writings that I feel the Fodors Africa webforum is well known for when it comes to African travel.

Next time I am in Johannesburg I am definitely going to contact Dr.Wallmach for a tour.

Once again thanks a ton for this info jrruff.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Old Sep 27th, 2004, 06:53 PM
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Jruff. How exciting. We had decided that we would never return to Johannesburg as the city didn't seem that interesting last time. We took a tour of Pretoria and Sowetto which was adequate but nothing special. Now you have me intigued. Next time I think we will be forced to make a stopover just to try this tour. Thanks for the info!
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Old Oct 24th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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