Top choice in Gauteng

Partly housed in a building that looks like a giant grassy mound on one side and shiny modern steel on the other, Maropeng is an all-in-one information centre, visitor attraction and entertainment complex. The fascinating series of interactive exhibits here cover the history of the human race since its very beginnings. A new exhibition showcases the 2013 discovery of the Homo naledi species in the Rising Star caves.

Following this the fun really starts with a three-minute Disneyland-esque boat ride that transports you back in time through the Ice Age and even to a simulated black hole. Also on the site is a 2km walking trail, great for bird spotting; the Tumulus restaurant (which offers a buffet lunch on Sunday for R190); a cafe; a gift shop; and an amphitheatre for outdoor events. A joint ticket covers this and the Sterkfontein Caves.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gauteng attractions

1. Sterkfontein Caves

4.96 MILES

One of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, Sterkfontein Caves include a permanent hominid exhibit and a walkway down into the…

2. Old Kromdraai Mine Museum

7.18 MILES

For over two decades the same family has run tours at the first official gold mine on the Witwatersrand – operations started in 1881. Guided tours leave…

3. Nirox Foundation

7.45 MILES

This gorgeous sculpture park marks an evolutionary advancement for South African creative arts. Leading local and international sculptors, painters and…

4. Welwitschia Country Market

20.17 MILES

Stock up on ’Boks tops and biltong, leather goods and wirework. Located just west of the four-way stop in Damdoryn, near the northwest corner of…

5. June 16 Memorial Acre

22.43 MILES

Opposite one of the schools from which students marched on 16 June 1976 is this stunning open-air memorial to the bloody events that presaged the Soweto…

6. Hector Pieterson Museum

23.21 MILES

This powerful museum, named after the 12-year-old boy shot dead during the student protests in Soweto on 16 June 1976, illuminates the role of Sowetan…

7. Hector Pieterson Memorial

23.22 MILES

North of Vilakazi St is Hector Pieterson Sq; it’s named after the 12-year-old who was shot dead in the run-up to the Soweto uprising in 1976. The poignant…

8. Mandela House Museum

23.42 MILES

Nelson Mandela lived with his first wife, Evelyn, and later with his second wife, Winnie, in this four-room house, just off Vilakazi St. The museum…