Cradle of Human Culture

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Cradle of Human Culture
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Image: Shaen Adey
Cradle of Human Culture
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Discover where we came from: Discover the origins of human culture

Africa is the continent that gave birth to humankind. Some of the oldest human fossil bones were discovered in Gauteng province, South Africa, in an area north of Johannesburg now called the Cradle of Humankind. While the dawn of biological humankind began in the limestone caves of northern Gauteng, our human story continued and developed more south, in the Western Cape Province.

It is here that we have some of the first evidence of humans starting to explore their potential for social, behavioural and cultural innovation. Archaeological evidence shows that this was one of the first places where our ancestors worked with fire to create better tools, where we started regularly eating seafood that may have allowed our brains to develop, and where we started to express ourselves creatively and express spirituality.

This is where our modern-day culture began and where our ancestors started shaping our future through their behaviours.

This is the Cradle of Human Culture, and it is not just a place or even a destination, but a journey of self-discovery.

The Cradle of Human Culture is rooted in three main archaeological sites in the Western Cape. Diepkloof Rock Shelter, Blombos Cave and Pinnacle Point.

The Cradle of Human Culture comprises of two routes The Artist’s Journey along the Cape West Coast (Weskus) and The Coastal Journey along the Southernmost Cape Coast, with the Karoo forming part of phase 2.

Discover yourself

A trip to the Cradle of Human Culture in the Western Cape does not start or end with these three sites only. The evolution of our human culture can be experienced across the whole province. So take a road trip and time travel through the Western Cape. Explore sites like the West Coast Fossil Park (which has the largest concentration of fossils dating back 5-million years) and the famous Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn. Then experience the present and immerse yourself in the incredible collection of contemporary African art at the Zeitz MOCAA at The Waterfront in Cape Town.

These are just a few of the many amazing attractions in the Cradle of Human Culture that will fascinate you and change the way you see yourself. So start planning your road trip of a lifetime today. These sites preserve some of the world’s earliest evidence of the evolution of modern human behaviour.