The Sterkfontein Caves Johannesburg Reviews
African Anthropology Jun 26, 2011
TravBuddy Nabih (Victor7878) from Jordan came to South Africa on a short business trip and we decided to explore the Caves on a Sunday afternoon.
The sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind are about 50km from Johannesburg & Pretoria, it has been declared a world heritage site after some of the most important discoveries concerning the evolution of man.
Several interesting dripstone formations are to be seen; although, sadly, many of the cave's more spectacular stalactites and stalagmites were removed or damaged by early limestone-mining activities.
Within the caves, scientists have discovered many hominid and other animal fossils, dating back more than 4-million years, to the birth of humanity. The most important and most famous of these fossils are “Mrs Ples”, a 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than 3-million years old.
the caves are awe-inspiring, and a tour into their dark, chill, primeval depths leaves a lasting impression. Discovered by an Italian prospector Guigimo Martinaglia, who was searching for gold and lime in 1896, this labyrinth of interconnected caverns was formed over millions of years by underground waters slowly dissolving the dolomite rock.
A few divers have tried to measure the depth of the underground lake, but one diver got lost and couldn’t find his way back, he died one month later. Diving is not permitted anymore and the depth of the caves remains a mystery.
Part of the complex consists of six cathedral chambers, largest of which is the dripstone-decorated Hall of Elephants, 23 m (75 ft) high and 91 m (300 ft) long. Other chambers include Fairy Chamber, Bridal Arch, Lumbago Alley and the Graveyard.
The tour last for about an hour and a half, costs €11 per adult.
Tip: wear comfortable clothes and shoes, there are lots of steps, a number of tight spots and pathways. If you are claustrophobic or asthmatic its better to avoid this trip.
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