SA's Cradle of Humankind honoured on NatGeo's Best Trips for 2017 list


Cape Town - Our beautiful Mzansi is gaining popularity as a destination year by year. And in 2017, we can expect more visitors checking out South Africa in search of its world-class food offering, spectacular natural scenery as well as the country's one-of-a-kind cultural scene. 

Adding to the many other international travel authorities that recommend SA as a must-see destination, National Geographic has hailed South Africa's iconic Cradle of Humankind as a must-see cultural destination to explore in 2017. 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only a place of reference for South Africans but the source of origin of all humankind on Earth - a sobering and humbling thought. 

It's no wonder NatGeo describes it as 'going home' to your roots. "Rewind any family story way, way back some two to three million years and you’ll arrive at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site," they describe their choice of the new year's cultural must-see. 

"Located under the rolling Highveld grassland an hour north-west of Johannesburg, the sprawling boneyard provides a subterranean window into human evolutionary history.

"Within the Cradle’s limestone caves and dolomite sinkholes, scientists have discovered one of the world’s greatest sources of hominid fossils—including Little Foot, a nearly complete ancient hominid skeleton."


A photo posted by Joelle (@jo_toli) on




In September last year, the Cradle of Humankind made headlines worldwide when a new species of human relative was discovered on the premises by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University), the National Geographic Society and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF). 

The discovery highlighted again the richness of this source of human origin. 

NatGeo recommends doing a guided tour of world-famous Sterkfontein Caves, site of the world’s longest running (five days a week since 1966) archaeological excavation. For more things to do in Maropeng to have the full Cradle of Humankind experience, see: Maropeng Visitors guide: 6 Ideas to make the most of the Cradle of Humankind

NOTE: The Maropeng Visitor Center is closed on Mondays. 

Other inclusions on NatGeo's cultural must-sees for 2017 are Georgia in the US, known for its unique music offering, the five-island archipelago Guadeloupe Islands of the Caribbean, Canton Uri in Switzerland for its unique and iconic Swizz swagger, Chengdu in China for it's delicious and different food offering, the isolated and rugged Papua New Guinea as well as the Mediterranean's Malta

Take a look: 

Georgia





Guadeloupe Islands





Canton Uri





Chengdu 

A photo posted by Mike Mogler (@moglair) on





Papua New Guinea





Malta

A photo posted by LoveMalta (@lovemalta) on



What to read next on Traveller24

Maropeng Visitors guide: 6 Ideas to make the most of the Cradle of Humankind

Pics: Cradle of Humankind

NatGeo expert to share seven lessons from the wild

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