The Cradle of Humankind

A site rich in archaeological discovery and history, the Cradle of Humankind has become a special place for people to come together, learn, rejuvenate and connect with nature, the way we all once did.

A place of significance

Covering a vast 47 000 hectares across the Gauteng and North West provinces, the Cradle rests about 50 km from Johannesburg.

There are 15 fossil sites to date, each offering different keys to stories of the past. Out of these, Sterkfontein is one of the most well-known, due to the abundant hominid findings it has shared with the world. Hominids refer to all Great Apes, including modern humans. 

In 1999, UNESCO declared the Cradle a World Heritage Site, making it one of the first in South Africa.

A landscape brushed by fire

The Cradle of Humankind forms part of the Highveld Grassland ecoregion, home to our national bird, the Blue Crane, and a place where fire is necessary to propagate the diverse flora that grows there.

Grasslands, rocky outcrops and natural springs characterise the land, with limestone caves holding the historical secrets that have been and continue to be uncovered.

Summer rain is relatively high, bringing the bellows of thunder and prevalent lightning strikes, which are likely to have inspired and served the start of controlled man-made fires. 

An archaeological treasure

In the late 1800’s, after some of the caves had been blasted to harvest lime for gold extraction, the first fossils were found.

It was only in the 1930’s, however, that scientists began to take real interest in the area, embarking on what has become a world-renowned journey through history and the clues it left behind. Thousands of fossils have been excavated since. The most complete Australopithecus skull, which was nicknamed ‘Mrs Ples.’, was found and recovered in 1947 by palaeontologists Robert Broom and John. T. Robinson.

‘Little Foot’, a nearly complete Australopithecus fossil made headlines, due to its extremely old age, alongside the rarity of finding so many bones belonging to one skeleton, so well preserved. Started by Professor Ron Clarke and his technical assistants, Stephen Motsumi and Kwane Molefe, it took 15 years to excavate and carefully clean Little Foot, before her preserved museum-reveal in 2017.

And, groundbreakingly, a newly declared species, Homo naledi was discovered in the Rising Star Cave System. Here, over 1,500 fossil bones have been found, belonging to a wide range of individuals from different age groups.

A union-point

Today, the Cradle attracts people from all over the world. People who not only want to engage in the past, but who want to drink in the beautiful present.

It has become a place where weary souls have the space to rest, curious minds can discover, and crowded hearts have the freedom to be refreshed. Many come to explore the mystical Sterkfontein caves through specially curated tours. A true sight to see, the caves will open up a whole new world you may never have known existed.

In recent years, the collective, 58, has been established as part of a cultural transformation, catalysed by NIROX. From here, FARMHOUSE sprouted – a haven for reconnecting to nature.

The Cradle of Humankind: A home for all

FARMHOUSE is a place where people can come together, shut out the noise of a very loud world, and be enriched by nature and all it has to offer. Being about experiences – sharing them, learning through them, and growing with them – FARMHOUSE offers a holistic approach to awakening consciousness and practicing mindfulness.

We have designed minimalist spaces for our guests to stay in, while they engage in guided hikes to inspire a consideration and reflection of ourselves in nature, celebrating creativity with art installations and performances, relying on the land with a farm-to-table menu, and finding healing in integrative methods of restoring body health. Book your stay with us and find peace in a historical wonder.

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