Monday, November 29, 2010

Fossils and angels

The Cradle of Humankind is an hour or so out of Johannesburg and was named as such when it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Apparently about 40% of all we know about our human origins comes from fossils and geological information dug up in this area. There are fantastic caves to explore and museums, game reserves and trout farms to visit - and if you are lucky enough to go fossicking around there, be sure to stop off for lunch at The Cradle, which is a privately owned nature reserve within the World Heritage Site that serves a world class lunch. It is owned by a certain Prospero Bailey who is the grandson of one of Johannesburg's famous "randlords" who became super wealthy through the discovery of gold at the end of the 19th century in Johannesburg. His father was the founder and editor of the magazine Drum.
The first thing you see on the way in is a quirky fallen angel in high heels - a bronze sculpture by Prospero's brother, Beezy Bailey, one of South Africa's well known artists. There is also a large painting of his that hangs on the wall of the restaurant - of the artist as an angel of sorts.
We went on a game drive in a Land Rover (no Toyotas in sight!) and saw some interesting antelope, birds and grassland flowers, and this intriguing piece of rock that has has been polished to resemble a meteorite and has ribbons of lettering in lots of different languages wrapping around the shiny, iron-rich rock. For an interesting article in the NY Times on The Cradle, click here.

1 comment:

  1. I got to visit a couple of years back and loved the Cradle of Humankind's displays. Unfortunately the day wasn't very good and I took very few pictures.