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  • Jakes Conradie

Discover the Caves of South Africa: Part 1


A: Makapansgat is an archaeological location within the Makapansgat and Zwartkrans Valleys, northeast of Mokopane in Limpopo province, South Africa. It is an important palaeontological site, with the local limeworks containing Australopithecus-bearing deposits dating to between 3.0 and 2.6 million years BP. Makapansgat Valley has been described as having one of the greatest palaeontological records of human evolution in the world. Collecting at the site began in 1925, when a local school teacher, Wilfred Eitzman, was attracted by the activities of limeworkers. Some fossil material was sent to Raymond Dart, who initiated a systematic investigation in 1947. Eitzman also discovered the so-called "Makapansgat pebble" associated with the bones. Ca. 3,000,000 BCE, the pebble is shaped naturally to resemble a human face, it is thought to have been found by an Australopithecus and carried from its source into the Makapansgat cave. It has been suggested that this pebble represents the earliest known example of symbolic thinking of early hominids.

B: The Cango Caves are located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The principal cave is one of the country's finest, best known, and most popular tourist caves and attracts many visitors. Although the extensive system of tunnels and chambers go on for over 4 km (2.5 mi), only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide. Cave paintings and artifacts indicate that the caves were in use throughout prehistory over a long period during the Middle and Later Stone Ages. The caves were rediscovered in modern times in 1780 by a local farmer named Jacobus Van Zyl. The chamber he first was lowered down into was found to be as long as a football field, and is named Van Zyl Hall in his honor. Further exploration was done and a second chamber discovered in 1792. The caves soon became a popular place to visit. The hour long Heritage Tour, which takes you through 6 magnificent rooms, halls and chambers is visited by www.amatungulu.com. Do not miss this opportunity and book now!


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