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Makapansgat Caves

Makapansgat, Makapansgat limeworks, Cave Of Hearths & Hyaena Cave, Rainbow Cave, Ficus Cave & Iron Age Site, Pepperconnes Cave, Buffalo Cave. Now that's a list of caves to be found is one area! These caves and archaeological and fossil sites are situated on the farm Makapansgat 19km north of Potgietersrus in the Northern Province. All of these cave have important roles to play in the historical existance and habitats of both pre-historic human and ape-man dating back to over 3 million years (in the case of the Limeworks). The Cave Of Hearths however houses evidence of human history dating through the Early Stone Age in the oldest layers of sediment, through the Middle Stone Age, the Later Stone Age and up to the Iron Age. For those interested in the history of mankind as we know it, this is an ideal place to spend some time "digging" into our history.

One of the caves, Historic Cave or Makapansgat, has a role in the more recent history of South Africa. After the murders of Voortrekkers at Moorddrift, Mapela and Pruizen, in 1854 a clash between a Boer Commando and local Langa and Kekana people. Along with a group of tribesmen and cattle, the Chief Makapan laid the Boer Commando siege in the cave for over a month between October and November 1854. Many of the Commando died of hunger and thirst during the siege but none was more greatly noted than the death of Piet Potgieter who was shot during this siege. The nearby town of Vredenburg was later renamed Potgietersrus, and the cave was declared a National monument in 1936.

Visits to the Makapans Valley must be arranged in advance by contacting the Mogalakwena Bushveld Community Tourism on Tel: +27-14-7632193
or Email: bushveld@nptb.co.za

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