Travel brings with it not just the excitement of seeing new and unfamiliar sights but the opportunity of acquainting oneself with the history and culture of a different place. Whether it is a trip to the next province or across the equator, one always learns something new with travel. Thus educational tours and field trips are usually included in history, science or art subjects; what is learned in theory inside the classroom is seen or experienced during such trips.
Most industrial plants provide visitor centers that are not just boring displays of artifacts but are equipped with interactive and engaging exhibits to make the tour more fun and educational. This brings to mind our tour at the visitors’ center in the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Finland few years back; an hour was not enough to learn and interact with the theory and concept behind electric power generation and nuclear energy. It was such a unique experience for us, interacting with some of the exhibits especially those that simulate the interior parts of the nuclear plant.
In South Africa, another interesting place for an educational tour is the Cradle of Humankind. This historical site is located in the province of Gauteng, approximately 50 kms from Johannesburg, and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For those planning to tour here, flights to South Africa usually arrive in Johannesburg, the capital city.
The Cradle of Humankind is not just for kids to learn something intriguing, but for adults as well. What makes it as the ideal destination for an educational trip is its being home to world-renowned major fossil sites and caves dating back to the Stone Age; this is believed to be humanity’s birthplace where our ancestors lived more than 3 million years ago. In this site are two visitor centers – the world-class Maropeng Visitor Centre equipped with interactive and self-guided exhibits, and another one with access to the famous Sterkfontein Caves.
Maropeng offers educational tour packages and they also provide group accommodation facilities for school tours. A downloadable teacher’s resource pack can be accessed at their official site (maropeng.co.za) plus other valuable information such as schedule of activities for stargazing presentations and guided explorations. For instance, there’s a Cooper’s Cave picnic and walking tour scheduled on October 6 for those interested in cave exploration and hunting for fossils.
As an internationally-famous tourist destination, the Cradle of Humankind is a 47,000 hectare site where tourists can find a wide range of options in dining and where to stay. There are varied types of accommodation within the area (hotels, guest houses, self-catering, etc.), numerous dining establishments, as well as venues for special events such as conferences and weddings.