The Maropeng Hotel is a 4-star facility, conveniently situated less than one hour's drive from the bustling city centres of Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng, South Africa. From this idyllic location, the gorgeous Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg mountain ranges can be enjoyed.
'Maropeng' is a South African word that means 'returning to the place of origin' in Setswana. During the interior design process, this was the essence of the inspiration. The four elements from which the earth is formed (fire, water, earth and air) feature throughout the hotel in its décor and ambience. 24 beds are available to the discerning traveller requiring 4-star style and luxury. In addition to chic hospitality, the Maropeng Hotel is a mere 5-minute walk from the Tumulus visitor attraction (one of South Africa's favourite tourist spots) and 10km from the impressive Sterkfontein Caves.
Because Maropeng Hotel combines elegance, convenience and a true sense of African hospitality, it is the ideal base for large tour groups, families, couples requiring a romantic haven, or busy executives. The on-site conference venue is a welcomed facility for the business traveller, and the hotel's proximity to the business hubs of Johannesburg and Pretoria are added benefits.
Restaurants at the Maropeng Hotel
The Tumulus Restaurant
The Tumulus Restaurant is suitably situated on the Maropeng Visitor Centre's first floor. Snack on tasty dishes while you enjoy the stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside. The most impressive of these scenes are undoubtedly the Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg mountain ranges. Diners are advised to reserve tables ahead of time.
Market Place Restaurant
The Market Place Restaurant is situated within the Market Place at the Maropeng Boutique Hotel. This restaurant is close to the Maropeng Visitor Centre, making it easily accessible. Variety and delectableness are the order of the day for the light meals that are so carefully prepared at Market Place Restaurant.
The Sterkfontein Restaurant is another great venue to unwind after a busy day spent on guided tours or in important corporate meetings.
Maropeng Visitor Centre - Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
This fascinating tour visits 2500m² of world-class exhibits, including fossils and stone tools dating back 1 million years. This tour explores the origin of mankind and the lives of our ancestors, and is ideal for all age groups. In addition, visitors can look forward to a unique an underground boat ride. This tour won the 2008 Tourist Attraction category at the 'South African Tourism Welcome Awards'. The Maropeng Visitor Centre is self-guided and interactive to ensure that visitors are able to glean as much information as possible regarding our common roots. On arrival, the burial mound (the Tumulus) is on display and is the first stepping stone to the discovery of our ancestry. For visitors wanting to pair this tour up with a visit to the Sterkfontein Caves, combination tickets are available on request.
An archaeological excavation on the way to the Tumulus Building is a Stone Age site. Scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg have
been excavating since October 2005. Hand axes, cleavers, and other early Stone Age tools have been found in this site and are belong to the Acheulean period.
The Maropeng area was valuable to the early humans as the local rock was ideal
for making tools. The expertise used in the making of these tools has dated them to between 1 million and 0.5 million years ago, which places them in the Earlier Stone Age when the modern Homo sapiens are not thought to have been developed. These tools can be seen in the Maropeng Original Fossil Area.
Snippets of relevant information are engraved on rocks along the walkway to the entrance. They include, among others:
The universe was formed about 14-billion years ago. The Earth is about 4.6-billion years old.
Life first emerged about 3.8-billion years ago. Our journey begins in South Africa, where fossils of some of the earliest known life forms on Earth have been found.
All of humanity shares an African heritage. We are one, diverse species across the globe, with our roots in Africa.
The interior of the Tumulus portrays the 4 basic elements of earth, fire, water and air. These elements are the basic components in the formation of the earth as we know it. The many details and facts about these elements are manifest throughout the exhibition at Maropeng. These elements sustain life even today: the air we breathe, the fire that warms us, the earth that sustains us and the water for life.
In 1999, The Cradle of Humankind was declared a World Heritage Site. The main criterion for this declaration was the area's contribution to the understanding of mankind's history and development over the past 3-million plus years. The Sterkfontein Caves are the most famous of the 15 major fossil sites in the Cradle of Mankind. "Mrs Ples" and "Little Foot" are two of the better-known fossils discovered in this area. In addition, myriads of fossils of hominids (our ancestors), plants and animals have also been discovered in this fossil-rich site.
The underground boat adventure at Maropeng is a journey through time, beginning in our present day and travelling back through the various stages of the earth's development. Even the recent Ice Age has been recreated using special snow-making machines. This journey even extends back to the time when the entire surface of the earth was thought to be submerged under water, and even further back to the formation of the earth's crust and the movement of the tectonic plates.
The architecture and design of Maropeng is based on a 'discovery' theme. Seven concrete columns move at the entrance of the centre, and the market place and amphitheatre are sunken. The learning centre and hotel that are being constructed within the centre are also partially hidden by hills, awaiting their 'discovery'. The Maropeng exhibition is a journey through the discovery of several of the stages
that the earth underwent before our present-day state.
The physical trip through the Tumulus also portrays a shift from the ancient world (in the form of the burial mound) to the modern world (as glass and silver in
hi-tech surroundings prevail at the end of the tour). In this way, we have successfully conveyed the sense of our being at the beginning of the future, as opposed to being at the end of history.
The Sterkfontein Caves are only 1 hour's drive from the bustling city centres of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The information gleaned from these caves has been instrumental in breaking new ground in terms of the ideas we now have regarding humans and our development over the past millennia. The Sterkfontein Caves were recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1999 by UNESCO.
Not only are the Sterkfontein Caves rich in historical value, but they are also a great outing for leisure and business travellers alike. A first-class restaurant and numerous conference facilities are available. In addition, new walkways, a boardwalk past the famous fossil site, and improved access to the caves all
feature as added benefits.
A scientific exhibition centre has recently been added, and exhibits models of a mined cave, different formations and geologies of caves, early life forms, fossils of mammals and hominids, and more. Famous fossils "Mrs Ples", "Taung Child" and "Little Foot" are examined in more detail, as are the theories behind fossilisation, palaeobotany and landscapes.
John Gurche is famous the world over as an award-winning palaeoartist. His works are on exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute, the Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He also worked on the Stephen Spielberg production, Jurassic Park. John Gurche is responsible for the production of all of our lifelike hominid illustrations, including the 7-million-year-old Toumai fossil from Chad.
The University of the Witwatersrand has been acknowledged as the primary discoverers of many of the famous fossils. Scientists from this university have been working on this site for many years, and have discovered "Mrs Ples" and
"Little Foot". Inside the caves, these scientists also discovered fossils of hominids and many animals, dating back to the time when humanity was thought to have been born, over 4 million years ago. "Mrs Ples" features as one of the more important discoveries, and dates back 2.1 million years. This is an Australopithecus skull. "Little Foot" is an almost-complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than 3 million years old. These important fossils were both found in the Sterkfontein Caves, and have provided much information on Homo sapiens, which are believed to be the beings in existence before the modern man.
Directions / Physical Address to Maropeng
Maropeng is situated on the R400, just off the R563 Hekpoort Road.