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The Mayan Calendar end date (21 Dec 2012) is being hotly debated throughout the world, as many believe that it will have a major impact on our lives globally. Many different view points are being bandied about, from the 'end of the world' doomsday predictions, to many believing in no change at all.
It was a topic I was only 'half' listening to, until I began to read how this event is affecting 'where' people will travel to and also whether they travel at all, as the days count down to the Mayan calendar end date, in fear of what 'may happen'.
Luckily for us, South Africa is apparently one of the safest places to be in 2012 - audible sigh of relief! A seemingly dire situation, presents a marketing opportunity for South Africa. Enter a man by the name of Wren Mast-Ingle, who has come up with a plan to attract tourists to South Africa and specifically to promote South Africa's Cradle of Humankind, in relation to the Mayan Calendar countdown, and events that are 'predicted' for 2012. Why the Cradle of Humankind you may ask? The area has synergies with Wren's philosophical view point, which promotes a shift in consciousness for mankind as the 'change' in 2012, and not a cataclysmic end of the world scenario.
Wren is the brain child of the COME-C campaign - Cradle of Many Experiences Campaign. The Cradle of Humankind is now widely accepted by scholars and scientists throughout the world to be the birthplace of mankind. COME-C supports the theme of 'Where humankind began.... the start of a new era for humanity'. The campaign was launched through the website Mi5 which Wren describes as 'The ultimate 2012 information sharing portal'. The Mi5 website is designed to share a broad vision on all predictions as the last day of the Mayan Calendar approaches - 21st Dec 2012 - without necessarily drawing conclusions.
It also covers the advent of increasingly cataclysmic natural disasters that may play a role in these doomsday predictions. Follow Wren's regular articles and join the online community in discussion of upcoming events. The Mi5 website also promotes travel opportunities to South Africa, with specific emphasis on the Cradle of Humankind... now enter Intriguing Africa (yes us), as we have packaged a simple 2 night holiday getaway within the Cradle which can be added to a 'larger' South African travel itinerary.
The Cradle is roughly a 40 minute drive from Johannesburg - the 'New York' of Africa - so the opportunity to combine The Cradle of Humankind with various destinations throughout South Africa and Africa is easy, as Johannesburg is the gateway to Africa.
However the Cradle itself has a wealth of attractions to warrant a few nights spent in this largely undiscovered area of South Africa. The Cradle of Humankind is found with the Magaliesberg Mountain range, which is a naturally scenic area of mountains, valleys, vegetated kloofs (cliff edges), interspersed with rolling hills and savannahs - picturesque and tranquil are apt words to describe the areas natural beauty.
The Magaliesberg has a developed arts and crafts route, called the Magalies Meander. Restaurants and guest houses within the Magalies Meander are plentiful, as are other exciting activities that entice locals to the Magalies over weekends, from cheese farms, to a micro-brewery, tree-top canopy tours, numerous wildlife reserves - Rhino & Lion Park, Askari Game Reserve, to the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Breeding Centre, where rare and endangered African wildlife species can be viewed, to elephant interaction experiences and the Wondercaves. (Read more about the attractions on the Magaliesberg)
Of course the Cradle of Humankind is a world class experience in its own right and takes centre stage here, as a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its significance to mankind. Visit the exhibition centre at Maropeng - a multi-faceted and interactive display housed within an architectural marvel, called the Tumulus, which is designed to look like an ancient burial mound. An underground boat ride at the beginning of your Maropeng experience builds anticipation to experience the rest of the varied display exhibits. Either before or after the Maropeng Visitors Centre, one can tour (with guide) the Sterkfontein Caves, which is the original site where 'Little Foot' and 'Mrs Ples' were discovered, and certainly areas of the Sterkfontein caves are still under excavation - the Sterkfontein dig is the longest running excavation site ever.
The Cradle of Humankind is an area surrounded by natural abundance as well as two incredible game reserves in South Africa, both home to the 'big boys' of Africa, yes Africa's Big Five - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo - as well as a remarkable diversity of wildlife species including the 'less obvious', like the abundance of reptiles and bird life that make for an incredible safari experience. These are the reserves of the Pilanesberg and the Madikwe. Both the Pilanesberg and the Madikwe game reserves have a number of options for visitors to 'go on safari'. Holiday packages that include both the Cradle of Humankind and a safari are easily combinable, as a self-drive holiday, or a transfer or fly-in and out holiday option.
Take a look at our Cradle of Humankind 2 night getaway self-drive travel packages - we have chosen our 'favourite' properties for their general ambiance and beautiful locations.
Join Intriguing Africa and Mi5 in exploring this remarkable destination, and add on any number of destinations in Africa to create an extensive travel vacation itinerary in South Africa/Africa - get in touch for your tailored travel quotation or guidance on travel in Africa.