The exciting discovery of a new species of human relative, Homo naledi, was revealed on 11 September at the Cradle of Humankind Visitor Centre, Maropeng.
Consisting of more than 1,550 numbered fossil elements, the discovery is the single largest fossil hominin find yet made on the continent of Africa.
The new species, Homo naledi, appears to have intentionally deposited bodies of its dead in a remote cave chamber – a behaviour previously thought limited to humans.
The initial discovery was made in 2013 in a cave known as Rising Star in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, some 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, by Wits University scientists and volunteer cavers. The fossils, which have yet to be dated, lay in a chamber about 90 metres from the cave entrance, accessible only through a chute so narrow that a special team of very slender individuals was needed to retrieve them.
So far, the team has recovered parts of at least 15 individuals of the same species, a small fraction of the fossils believed to remain in the chamber.
Homo naledi was named after the Rising Star cave — “naledi” means “star” in Sesotho. It had a tiny brain, about the size of an average orange, perched atop a very slender body. The research shows that on average Homo Naledi stood approximately 1.5 metres (about 5 feet) tall and weighed about 45 kilograms (almost 100 pounds).
Homo naledi’s teeth are described as similar to those of the earliest-known members of our genus, such as Homo habilis, as are most features of the skull. The shoulders, however, are more similar to those of apes. The hands suggest tool-using capabilities and have extremely curved fingers which clearly demonstrate climbing capabilities.
This contrasts with the feet which are virtually indistinguishable from those of modern humans. Its feet, combined with its long legs, suggest that the species was well-suited for long-distance walking.
Homo naledi is on display at Maropeng for one month only from 11 September to 11 October. Visitors will receive a 25% discount on their entry tickets to the Visitor Centre and Sterkfontein Caves.
Now is your chance to come and see this amazing discovery made just on our doorstep! Make a weekend of it and explore some of the wonderful surrounds and specials on offer. Visit www.magaliesbergmap.co.za to find other attractions in the area.
On the 27th August 2015, Valley Lodge and Spa hosted two comapanies’ team building activities. An early morning hot air balloon launch was arranged and 70 guests were launched from the Safari Boma’s field via 7 balloons.
As the balloons were being raised, other esteemed guests enjoyed refreshments and freshly baked pastries by the bonfire. Those who witnessed the event stated that seeing that many balloons gently rising into the air was an amazing experience. While those who were riding the balloons also commended the thrilling experience plus the view overlooking the property.
Upon descending, our guests were treated to a hefty breakfast buffet to close the occasion. All in all, this was another successful event managed by Valley Lodge and Spa.
Says Laurence McGrath, General Manager at the lodge: “This award serves as further encouragement to our dedicated team; we also appreciate the input from our new as well as regular diners for their always welcome suggestions to constantly improve our wine list to complement our service.”
Looking at the quality of this year’s competition, Diners Club Winelist head judge JP Rossouw, publisher of Platter’s by Diners Club SA Wine Guide, pointed to the “pleasing and varied entries” the adjudicators received.
Twenty-two restaurants achieved Diamond status, the highest accolade, while 44 restaurants were awarded Platinum. Gold winners tallied 38 and Silver, three.
If you have not visited Valley Lodge & Spa and spa for some years, you are in for a fabulous surprise as this garden property on the private banks of the Magalies River has evolved into a graceful swan in past years, offering rejuvenating leisure and corporate packages designed to thrill and pamper any deflated body and soul. From the world-class Spa, luxe accommodation choices to delectable gourmet country dining – and an award-winning wine list to titillate the most discerning palate.
The hotel received four Platinum and one Gold Award, as well as a Floating Trophy in the 8th West Rand Tourism Awards for 2015, whilst TripAdvisor reflects superb guest experiences at the lodge this year.
The region offers a wealth of historical attractions, such as The Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfontein Caves, while hot-air ballooning is a popular added attraction.
Contact Valley Lodge & Spa at (27-14) 014-577 1301/5; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.valleylodge.co.za
Must-love Magaliesberg One minute you’re hooting your way through Joburg traffic, the next you’re on a quiet twisting road and find yourself in the middle of the countryside. That’s right, you’re just one Josh Groban CD (60 minutes more or less) away from a wonderful country affair. The original stone-clad house, built donkey’s years ago, looks as if it’s been around forever.
Think a massive interleading sitting room and bar area complete with fireplaces, a dart board and a billiard table. The lodge is set in a nature reserve which has a river, indigenous vegetation and prolific birdlife … just the place to rack up hours of me-time.
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