The Cradle of Human Culture route will be launched in the Western Cape on April 11, bringing a new experience of the ‘dawn of mankind’ to visitors.
Developed through a collaboration between the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Wesgro’s Destination Marketing Unit, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the route encompasses a number of sites and attractions that offer some of the earliest evidence of evolution of modern human behaviour. These include three archaeological sites in the Western Cape: Blombos Cave, Pinnacle Point Site Complex on the south coast, and the Diepkloof Rock Shelter on the Cape West Coast.
These sites are in the process of being nominated for World Heritage Site status.
Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer for Tourism, Judy Lain, said: “The ability to package the incredible offering we have around early culture and how it’s transpired into modern day in the Western Cape, with a globally renowned landmark such as the Cradle of Humankind, is an opportunity to position the destination globally and attract more visitors.”
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverly Schäfer, added: “The Cradle of Human Culture will provide a fascinating journey back to some of the very earliest human behaviours. By highlighting these aspects of our culture and heritage, we are able to provide another layer to our multi-dimensional tourism offering and provide new and unique experiences to a wider range of visitors.”
A micro-site will be developed to launch the Cradle of Human Culture, offering detailed information on the experience; along with a short video, imagery and booklet which will be shared on social media channels and other digital platforms.
Some of the archaeological treasures that visitors can see at the sites include ornately decorated ostrich eggs, marine shell beads, engraved ochre, bone tools, and finely made bifacial points (prehistoric sharpened stone tools, like the point of an axe).
The experience is, however, not limited to these sites only, and stretches across all six regions of the province. It includes other sites such as the West Coast Fossil Park – home to one of the world’s richest concentrations of fossils, dating back five million years; and the Zeitz MOCAA, with its collection of contemporary art.
Managing Director of Maropeng, Michael Worsnip, commented: “It is wonderful indeed to now have established a new showcase for this diversity, complexity and unity of our species, in the newly established Cradle of Human Culture. It is possible that in our arts and crafts, beliefs and extraordinary ingenuity, we can start to uncover some of the defining characteristics of our species.”
“We are hoping that the Cradle of Human Culture will become a tool for all…to enjoy these beautiful sites, explore our common origins, dive into our past and understand what makes us humans,” commented the Director for Museums, Heritage and Geographical Names Services at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr. Mxolisi Dlamuka. “Through this journey, visitors to the Cradle of Human Culture will discover the enormous contribution that South Africa played in making us all humans.”
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, concluded: “South Africa is globally regarded as a place of great heritage significance. Through identifying culturally rich sites in our Province, we become a part of the story of the early development of humankind. We are excited to introduce both local and international visitors to the Cradle of Human Culture and hope to welcome many Easter holiday-makers following the official launch on April 11.”