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The Cradle of Humankind is a pre-historic site like no other on Earth. Spread across over 45,000 acres, the site is listed as a World Heritage Site because of the findings. The land is a maze of limestone caves where scientists have found many fossils and remains from pre-historic times. The site has an abundance of dolomite, a type of rock formation, that helps with the formation of caves and fossils. Here excavations have found proof of human evolution and life. Among the 200 and more caves, there are around 13 sites where significant fossils have been found. Among the findings are tools made and used by humans at that time and remains of extinct animals. Some of the fossils are approximately 3 million years old and this site is said to have some of the oldest fossils ever found. The Mrs. Ples and Taung Child skull remains were found here at this site. Both the remains are significant findings and nothing like it has ever been found before. Do call the center to find out more.
This area of Johannesburg is filled with mixed themes and rife with history. A symbol of South Africa's journey to a deserved freedom, the Constitutional Court sits where the Old Fort Prison Complex used to house both political and common criminals -- names such as Robert Sobukwe, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were once trapped in these walls until its closure in 1983. This once oppressive site has been transformed into a monument of perseverance and justice. Guided and interactive tours are scheduled regularly.
Built around the No. 14 shaft of Crown Mines, this city is an authentic reproduction of Johannesburg at the beginning of the 1900s. There are fully furnished miner's houses with original furniture and fittings, including pressed ceilings. The museum exhibits include antique clothing and children's toys, which take the visitor back 100 years to the city that was. A train encircles the park and many shops offer interesting curios. You can also visit the original gold mine in a lift that goes down to 220 meters below the surface. An on site casino is open 24 hours daily.
As its name suggests, the Market Theatre was once a fresh fruit and vegetable market. Built in the early 1900s, most of the original architecture still exists as well as a lot of the original signs. Within the huge complex, other than the Market Theatre stages, there are a number of galleries and restaurants. The three theaters at the Market are the Main, Laager and Barney Simon. The venue stages all forms of production from drama, comedy, musical, community, South African to experimental theater. International actor John Kani is the managing trustee at the complex. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are usually cheaper than all other nights. There are various dining and drinking options within the Market Theatre complex. Check website for more details on current and upcoming events.
Featuring park-like surrounds, the Johannesburg Zoo offers a glimpse at over 3,000 animal species. Night-time tours are also offered, giving a fascinating show of the nocturnal behavior of many residents. ‘Behind-the-scenes' tours offer a chance to witness first-hand, the goings-on in a typical zoo such as the feeding and cleaning routines the public seldom see. Children's' birthday parties are hosted (book in advance) and a restaurant/tea garden is open during all normal visiting hours. An approximate time of four hours is required in order to view all the exhibits.
At 228 meters/728 feet tall, the Carlton Centre is the tallest building in Africa, making it one of Johannesburg's most popular landmarks. Built in the 1970's, the center has been an iconic part of the city's skyline ever since, with such additional features as the 50th floor, Top of Africa, observation deck, which offers panoramic views of the city, as well as an underground shopping mall, which connects the center to the neighboring Carlton Hotel (currently closed). Located in the heart of Johannesburg's Central Business District, this conveniently located landmark should be a part of any visitor's itinerary.