Malapa Human Origins Tour

The Malapa Museum Experience

Game Drives

Guided Walks and Hiking


Death traps and bone collectors and streams that disappear into vast underground lakes …. Plus, rock eating termites with magnesium mandibles! All this and more on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Malapa Human Origins Tour is an exclusive private guided tour in an open game drive vehicle that affords guests the unique opportunity of experiencing first-hand two famous fossil dig sites – Gladysvale and Malapa – in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind.

It is an exclusive and unforgettable journey of storytelling as you walk in the footsteps of our hominin* ancestors and learn more about the story of human origins.

These sites are situated in a pristine 9000 hectare nature reserve which protects some of the largest and most pristine areas of the remaining high altitude dolomitic grasslands which are second only to the Cape Floral Kingdom (fynbos) in terms of floral diversity. The reserve is home to leopard and brown hyena and antelope such as the magnificent eland, blesbok, kudu, blue wildebeest and red hartebeest amongst other species. Amazingly, all this within sight of the second largest urban area on the African continent.

The area is an ancient landscape – truly primordial geology protecting and slowly revealing the ancient origins of the human race.

* hominin, any member of the zoological “tribe” Hominini (family Hominidae, order Primates), of which only one species exists today—Homo sapiens, or human beings. The term is used most often to refer to extinct members of the human lineage, some of which are now quite well known from fossil remains

Four-hour long morning and afternoon tours are offered from Monday to Sunday including an introduction held at the Cradle Boutique Hotel restaurant. Each open game drive vehicle can seat six guests. (Up to eight guests can be accommodated per vehicle for a block booking). This private, guided tour is a unique “bucket list” experience to active fossil digs.

Morning Tours

Commence at the Cradle Boutique Hotel Restaurant with coffee and an introduction at 08h45. Departure is scheduled at 09h30. Guests return to the restaurant at 12h45. A pre-tour a-la-carte breakfast and/or a post tour a-la-carte lunch can be booked through the Cradle restaurant

Afternoon Tours

  • Commence at the Cradle Boutique Hotel restaurant with an introduction at 12h45. Departure is scheduled for 13h30. Guests return to the restaurant at 16h45. A pre-tour a-la-carte lunch and/or a post tour a-la-carte dinner can be booked through the hotel.

Tour Pricing

  • R1 985 per person for minimum 2 people and children are at R750 (VAT inclusive), up to a maximum of 8 guests per vehicle.


  • R1,500 per person for 3 people or over and children are at R750 (VAT inclusive), up to a maximum of 8 guests per vehicle.


  • Private vehicle: R8 000

Tours are offered Monday to Sunday.

Morning and afternoon tours are scheduled to last 4 hours, which includes an introduction at the Cradle Restaurant.

Each open game drive vehicle can seat 9 guests.

The Tour can be booked directly on +27(0)87 353 9599 or at Reservations@thecradle.co.za


The Malapa Museum is located adjacent to the Cradle Boutique Hotel. This unforgettable experience takes visitors on a journey into the past, exploring some of the most important discoveries that have made this region famous for helping us understand humankind’s deep African origins.

Visitors will explore the geological origins of the region and gain a deeper understanding of the three million year fossil bearing history of this wilderness. They will also learn about such famous fossils as Australopithecus sediba and view reconstructions of the ancestors of wild dogs, false sabre tooth cats and giant hyenas that once roamed the dolomitic hills of the Highveld and whose fossils have been found in the caves of the region. With films, interactive displays, dioramas and reconstructions of the landscape and animals of the past, the Malapa Museum Experience is a not to be missed introduction to our deep human journey.

The museum was built in partnership with renowned paleoanthropologist Lee Berger’s Foundation for Exploration, the Malapa Motsetse Foundation and National Geographic.

Malapa Museum Pricing:

Adults R120

Pensioners R80

Children aged six to 12 R60

Children under six Free

School groups welcome, R50 per scholar, minimum 10 per party.


Morning and afternoon game drives are by booking only. The game drives last approximately two hours and include the wooded valleys and the diverse high altitude dolomitic grasslands of the reserve.

Tours are offered from Monday to Sunday and depart from the Cradle Boutique Hotel restaurant. Each open game drive vehicle can seat nine guests.


Game Drive Pricing:

Minimum 2 guests: R425pp for 2 – 4 guests, R375pp for 5 – 9 guests Private vehicle: R2000


Guests can also explore the magnificent landscape on foot. Two hour morning and afternoon guided walks are offered by prior arrangement from Monday to Sunday and depart from the Cradle Boutique Hotel Restaurant.


Minimum 2 guests, R350pp for 2 – 4 guests, R300pp for 5 – 8 guests.

Both 2 hour hike and a 4 hour hikes available. 

Bookings by prior arrangement only for all tours.


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