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GGo on a fascinating journey of discovery when you follow in the prehistoric footsteps of our hominid forefathers, to get a rare glimpse into our distant past in the region that early humans once called home.
The Taung Heritage Route is an area once occupied by early humans and features many sites that speak to the existence and evolution of our ancient ancestors. Spanning more than 45km, the route takes in several natural wonders, such as a limestone waterfall and the Blue Pools, a collection of natural rock basins, streams and caves in a lush river valley.
TThe route marks a location of significant scientific importance, for it was here, in 1924, encased in limestone in the Buxton quarry, that the 2.5-million-year-old fossilised skull of a hominid child was revealed. Professor Raymond Dart of the University of the Witwatersrand identified the skull as belonging to an early hominid, or ancient human ancestor, and named it Australopithecus africanus, or “Southern Ape of Africa”.
RRecent evidence has solved the mystery of the three-year-old child's death. It was most likely killed by a large bird of prey, probably an eagle. Looking up from the valley at the site's location, you can almost imagine these predatory birds riding the overhead thermals. The Taung skull discovery site is marked by a monument erected to mark the location. Nearby, an abandoned mine tunnel has been opened for exploration, allowing visitors to venture into the age-old limestone mountains.
Located in the Bophirima district of the North West province, the Taung Heritage Route is an initiative of South Africa's National Heritage Council.