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by Angel Swemmer creator of Angels Mind:

I’m a coffee-addicted, junk-food-junkie; social-smoking’; single-mom to a teenager. My darling Damien (AKA Knucklehead) has ADHD and it makes our rollercoaster slash bumpercar ride very interesting! More about me below but here’s our visit.

Monday being a public holiday, we decided to make the most of the gawjiss weather we’ve been having and took ourselves off to Maropeng, in the cradle of humankind

It’s easy enough to find on any GPS, and the directions aren’t difficult, as I am extremely directionally challenged and need a really good map to get anywhere… thankfully today my Glugster was doing the driving.

Arriving at Maropeng was easy enough, and strolling out of the parking lot into a practically invisible circular group of buildings called “The Market Place”, with a little snack shop and typical touristy curio shop was nice surprise! My son immediately shot into a shop with a HUGE sabre toothed cat skull on display!

You can buy tickets for the tour in the market place, but you can also walk straight up the path and get tickets inside the main building too. I was a little surprised by the ticket price to be honest- R95 an adult or R55 for kids between 4 and 14! You can also get a combined ticket which includes a visit to the Sterkfontein Caves for R150/ adult and R90/ child. Sterkfontein is a short drive away mind you- it’s not all in the same place. And I was a little miffed when we arrived at Sterkfontein this afternoon, waited for the 4PM cave tour, and went through the fascinating exhibition centre only to find a sign saying that if you’re asthmatic or claustrophobic, or battle with your back and such, you should rather not do the cave tour!

But back to Maropeng. I didn’t look at the website or anything before we went, so I had no idea what I was in for, and it made it rather interesting! On entering the building, we got our combined tickets, and then headed down a circular staircase into a long circular passage that made up a timeline going backwards! At the bottom of the passage, you go through a door and wait your turn to get into a little round boat thingy made for 4 people… and its launching and bouncing around a little had me squealing- which had my two men giggling at me! It takes you on a ride through a glacier and then erupting volcanoes replete with noise and smoke- and they even make provision for prams and wheelchairs! You go on the boat and they meet you at the end with your wheels! And trust me- you will need the wheels… it’s a lot of walking!

After the boat ride, there’s a bridge through a tunnel that rotates. This had my two men in hysterics AGAIN because as soon as I took a couple of steps I was sure the bridge was tilting up and to the right and I clung to the rails for dear life! It got me squealing again, and I couldn’t let go! Eventually on my Glugster’s advice I closed my eyes and I could walk through the thing okay… but no worries- you can go around it, though I’m sure the kidlets would love it!

The hall with the displays in it is huge, and all the exhibits are numbered so if you want to you can follow them in order. Me… being big kid I am… I practically ran from one display to the other in excitement!

It’s completely interactive! Buttons and lights and levers and things to look at and look into and feel and things moving and big bubbles with skulls in hanging from the ceiling! The many kids in the place had an absolute blast, and it’s just as interesting for grownups! They even have actual fossils in another hall- under glass with magnifying glasses- so you can have a good look at them!

When we eventually got outside we were ravenous! The fast food place immediately outside the exit was exceptionally reasonably priced- but the service was dreadful! There’s no real signage pointing out other eateries so EVERY body stops right there! By the time we got there they were out of coke and milkshakes! If you keep walking there is another restaurant, back in what they call The Market Place, and there’s the Tumulus restaurant inside the visitor’s centre as well. Walking back to the market place and the parking lot is quite a ways- and if you’re willing to climb some serious stairs there’s quite a nice view from the top of the visitor’s centre. We did the climb, albeit slowly!

Myself and my Glugster, and the knucklehead and his girlfriend- at 18 and 17 years old respectively- all had a wonderful day! Take a day, and take your camera!

Angel Swemmer on Angel Swemmer : I love my cellphone, my camera and my notebook. I’ve never been married, and despite my plans to the contrary- I am now living with a delicious, wonderful man who spoils me rotten! We’re about to get engaged, we’re trying to get pregnant, and I am planning our wedding!

I have seven tattoos and three cats, and when I grow up I want to be one of those strange ladies that people are a little afraid of ‘coz she walks around in public in huge, purple, flower bedecked hats and feather-boas.

Come play on my rollercoaster.

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