Wednesday, January 14

Pretoria


Today we explored two extremes of human history.  Our day started with a tour of Sterkfontein Caves , 60kms northeast of Johannesburg. The caves are famous for the discovery of early humanoid fossils found inside them. This includes “Mrs Ples”, a fossil skeleton at least 1.5 million years old and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton dating back more than 3-million years.


Mum loved the caves.  They're huge with large spacious caverns.  We even saw an archaeologist examining the rock face and could see an active excavation site carefully mapped out in an orderly grid. A small museum at the entrance houses some excellent exhibits on early humanoids.  Its artifacts include some replica skulls cast from the original fossils found here.



We then made our way to Pretoria.  We spent almost two hours at the monolith Vortrekker Memorial standing on a hill overlooking the city. We also visited Church Square and looked inside the old Parliament Building before making our way up to Union Hill.  This is home to the nation's Administrative branch.  Outside in the gardens can be found a new, giant statue of the late Nelson Mandela.

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