Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999, the splendour of the Cradle of Humankind is undeniable. A trip out of the city and into our birthplace sees an abundance of activities and a long list of luxurious accommodation. To help the avid traveller peruse such a variety of options, we have created a list of the best activities and memorable places to help you get the best out of a trip to the Cradle of Humankind.
CRADLE GIN FESTIVAL
As beautiful as an excursion into the bush can be, nothing beats a refreshing glass of gin under the African sun. The upcoming Cradle Gin Festival is proudly hosted by Riverstone Lodge which lies on the outskirts of the Cradle of Humankind, sheltered from the big city hassles of Johannesburg.
On Sunday 22 September 2019, the Festival showcases 20 different craft and international gins, beers, cocktails and liquors. Visitors can experience various unique brands including Comozzi Gin, handcrafted by Liz Giacomozzi from the Vaal, Black Horse Distillery’s 7 Deadlygins, Durban’s 031 and from Limpopo the non-alcoholic gin, Saint, crafted by Qualito Distilleries. A ticket to the festival also comes with a balloon gin glass and a single gin cocktail, providing great value for money.
Back by popular demand, the Gin Festival has now evolved into an international food fair. With drink in hand, take your pick from a variety of sushi, dim sum, Sri Lankan, German, American and home-grown gourmet braai and biltong, so be sure to come hungry.
The Cradle Gin Festival is held at the Riverstone Lodge in Muldersdrift, an African-inspired lodge on the banks of the Crocodile River, at the buffer of the Cradle of Humankind. It offers a spacious and relaxed ambience, with special Show and Stay packages over the weekend of the festival.
Cost: R100 per person | R250 VIP per person | Tickets available via Ticketpros
Address: Riverstone Lodge, Cnr R114 & N14 Offramp, Muldersdrift, Krugersdorp
Tel: 084 705 1181 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.riverstonelodge.co.za
Facebook: Cradle Gin Festival 2019 | Twitter: @LodgeRiverstone | Instagram: @riverstonelodgemuldersdrift
A calm way to wind down the day, picnics are perhaps the best excuse to get outdoors, especially in surroundings as serene as the Cradle of Humankind.
Sibani Lodge presents a variety of picnic offerings catering for all occasions and diets. Ranging not only from a Meat Feast to Vegan and Vegetarian baskets, it also gives picnic lovers options from a simple sunset indulgence to a romantic soirée. There is even a special Sibani picnic knapsack dedicated to satisfying children’s appetites. To top off the perfect picnic, a bottle of wine or even a foot, hand, or back and neck massage can be added to any picnic purchase.
Sibani Lodge is an exclusive wilderness lodge nestled in the idyllic nature reserve of Mt Savannah. Stretching over 2000 hectares, the game reserve is located in the Cradle of Humankind, providing the perfect scene for picnic pleasure.
Cost: R155 – R225 | Kid’s Baskets: R75 – R90
Time: 10am to 12pm | 2pm to 4pm
Address: Sibani Lodge, 39, Farm Danielsrust
Tel: 087 012 5375 | Email: email@example.com | Website: www.sibanilodge.co.za
Facebook: Sibani Lodge | Instagram: @sibanilodge
CRADLE BOUTIQUE HOTEL AND NATURE RESERVE
The stress of everyday life can sometimes result in forgetting to place a focus on the self. An escape into the Cradle reveals stories of our origins and allows for the chance to rebalance. And what better way to do this than by spending a weekend in luxurious accommodation, within the very centre of the Cradle of Humankind.
The Cradle Boutique Hotel is a unique, luxury destination in the heart of the Cradle itself, providing a range of exclusive experiences for the discerning, the adventurous and the eco-friendly alike.
In addition to the Owner’s Suite, 16 eco-friendly timber and thatch rooms, the hotel also offers a tented camp. Nestled under the White Stinkwood trees, these are fully equipped with comfortable beds, crisp linen, a private veranda and en-suite camp bathroom. Relax in the central camp area in the tented lounge or enjoy a meal in the dining area, while housekeeping services your private tent.
Cradle Boutique’s combination of ancient African landscapes and modern facilities with world-class architectural features results in an ideal setting to cater for a variety of events. Whether for various sizes of conferences – the Motetse and Stone Rooms each catering for different sizes and styles – or for a wedding party or long storytelling evenings, a range of catering venues abound.
Address: Cradle Boutique Hotel & Nature Reserve, R540, Kromdraai Rd, Kromdraai
Tel: 087 353 9599 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.cradlehotel.co.za
Facebook: Cradle Boutique Hotel | Twitter: @CradleHotel | Instagram: @cradleboutiquehotel
To get a fix of the picturesque panoramas on display in the Cradle, consider doing so from horseback. Shepherd’s Fold, in the magnificent Elandsdrift Valley, offers just such an opportunity.
An easy distance from the suburbs of Fourways, Krugersdorp and Honeydew, Shepherd’s Fold offers a variety of trails for any horse enthusiast. Whether avid and adept, or keen but inexperienced, the stables are well equipped to accommodate people of all riding abilities.
Riding lessons, trail rides, or a combination of the two make for a variety of possibilities to experience the promised panoramic views. All rides are supervised by an experienced guide, and grooms are available to lead if necessary.
Rides are limited to 8 riders maximum and rides can last between one and two hours. The trails follow the most beautiful routes through neighbouring farms with chances to stop along the way to take in the stunning views of Johannesburg, the Magaliesburg and the Cradle of Humankind.
Cost: Trail Rides R200 – R500 | Riding School R200 – R1690
Time: 8am to 5pm
Address: Shepherd’s Fold Stables, 55 Sunset Drive, Elandsdrift, Lanseria
Tel: 084 220 2657 | Email: email@example.com | Website: www.shepherdsfoldstables.co.za
Facebook: Shepherd’s Fold Stables | Instagram: @shepherdsfoldstables
The Cradle of Humankind provides unmatched vistas, especially for those ready to be adventurous. The Harties Cableway gives the experience of the Magalies Mountains – the oldest visible mountains in the world – an added shot of adrenalin.
A mere 45 minutes away from Johannesburg or Pretoria, Harties Cableway provides transport to the top of the ‘Mountains of Wonder’, courtesy of 14 state-of-the-art modern gondolas. Each gondola seats 6 guests, and the ride to the top is only the beginning of the experience.
Three private viewpoints are available, each of which seat up to 8 people and provide the perfect opportunity for brainstorming sessions or family get togethers. The top deck is also available for private cocktail parties and is equally popular with weddings.
Partake in one of their cocktail functions – accommodating 150 guests with wine tastings, specialty canapés and live music – or experience the drumming of a Marimba band while relaxing under the African sky.
A 1km Dassie walkway, including informative signs of the historic events of the area, is available for those with a spring in their step and a hunger for knowledge.
Curio retail outlets and four food and beverage venues are also located on top of the mountain, while the base of the mountain offers a full à la carte restaurant, so you won’t go hungry before, during or after the exciting adventure up on the peak.
Cost: R210 | Age 4 to 14 R130 | Pensioners R125 | Birthday Free
Time: Sun to Fri 9am to 4pm (ticket offices close) | 4.30pm last car down | Sat 9am to 4.30pm (ticket offices close) | 5pm last car down | After hour rate R3500
Address: Harties Cableway, Plot 3, Melodie, Agricultural Holdings, Hartbeespoort
Tel: 012 253 9910/1/2/3 | 079 023 3012| Email: Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org | Reservations email@example.com | Website: www.hartiescableway.co.za
Facebook: Harties Cableway | Twitter: @HartiesCableway | Instagram: @harties_cableway
While exploring the ambling beauty of the Crocodile River, consider a trip to the WildWood Brasserie to take advantage of their idyllic picnics. Sip on a glass of bubbly and tune down for a relaxing time spent with good company and good food.
WildWood picnics are packed with 15 delectable dishes and a bottle of wine to share. Snack on delights that include smoked salmon rillette, beef sirloin and roasted lemon chicken. The dishes are served in elegant wicker picnic baskets, and WildWood Brasserie provides blankets and cushions to ensure a relaxed, enjoyable and laid-back experience.
Should unfavourable weather conditions disturb the tranquility of your picnic, WildWood has a Plan B – an inclement weather plan to ensure all goes well.
WildWood maintains a simple aim: to provide great service and good food with friendly staff. Their picnic spots, along the Crocodile River, provide an ideal setting to relax in a wonderfully tranquil setting.
Cost: R400 per person | R900 – R2500 Couples
Time: 11.30am to 7pm
Address: WildWood, Toadbury Country Hall Hotel, Plot 64, Beyers Naude Drive, Elandsdrift
Tel: 010 593 7523 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.wild-wood.co.za
Facebook: @wildwoodrestaurantsa | Instagram: @wildwoodtoadbury
SIBANI TENTED LODGE
Sibani Lodge offers an unfettered escape from the noise of the city – into the calming atmosphere of the beautiful bush that comes with the Cradle of Humankind.
These bush breaks are no longer reserved for the weekend with Sibani Lodge’s new and diverse portfolio, offering a number of accommodation options, only 40 minutes from the city of Johannesburg. These are available for local and international visitors alike, and include the Sibani Lodge, Sibani urban Safaris (camping), Sibani Luxury Tents and Sibani Hills, a private villa.
Alternatively, visitors can get fully immersed in the South African bush experience, with Sibani’s carefully curated home comforts, in its four fully equipped glamping tents, each with their own hot water showers. And if you’re more suited to roughing it, basic camping sites – on a nightly rate – are available for those wanting to enjoy a fully-immersive camping experience on their own terms.
Sibani’s variety of attractions extends to a variety of wellness treatments under the trees, near the watering hole or indoors (where spa-rties, bachelorettes and special event requests are welcomed). Bountiful game, with a diversity of antelope and other non-‘Big 5’ predatory animals, allow for walking trails on site and the opportunity to roam the expansive property at leisure.
Address: Sibani Lodge, 39, Farm Danielsrust, R563
Tel: 087 012 5375 | Email: email@example.com | Website: www.sibanilodge.co.za
Facebook: Sibani Lodge | Instagram: @sinbanilodge
MELONROUGE EATERY, ART AND ANTIQUES
Taking some time to explore the wonders of the Cradle results in interesting finds and unique experiences. MelonRouge Eatery, Art and Antiques, a quirky collective of vendors, offers browsing opportunities to satisfy the curiosity of any customer.
A place to relax, take time off and let the hair down, this hidden gem in Magalies has eating, shopping, laughing and more on the agenda. It is an ideal venue for small functions, weddings, and celebrations, with both indoor and outdoor options.
Tangy Dressing Boutique sells vintage clothing for the fashionista. WormWood Books provides for the bookworm a selection of secondhand literature, while BlueCheese Antiques offers a selection of previously loved memorabilia.
To round off such an eclectic venue, regular art exhibitions, workshops and live music performances create a festive mood for those taking advantage of all that is on offer.
Time: 8am to 5pm
Address: MelonRouge Eatery Art Antiques, T2, Bekker Schools Road, Magaliesburg
Tel: 079 680 6050 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.melonrouge.co.za
Facebook: MelonRouge eatery art antiques