We recently took a tour of South Africa and we had a chance to sign up for Palaeo-Tours. This program is managed by Ms. Marianne Robertson and Colin Menter (a professor of hominid paleontology at Witwatersrand University). The tour takes place at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve outside Johannesburg which also contains the Drimolen anthropological excavation site where a team from Wits is unearthing infant hominid fossils that date back about 1.6 million years. The tour begins with a presentation by Wits staff of the various hominid fossils that have been found over the last two centuries with the emphasis on those that have been found in Africa. The team has made models of each of the major finds which they use to demonstrate the current thinking on the development of hominids up thru homo sapiens. After this presentation you are taken to the actual site where the excavations are taking place. You stand as close as 10 feet from the fossil hunters unlike most anthropological excavations where you can barely see what is going on. It was an interesting and informative visit if you are into this kind of thing. Marianne also prepares a wonderful breakfast of delicacies--far more than we could possibly eat. The program was a little pricey at $120 per person but I'm sure that with a larger number (we were just two) the price per person would probably come down. I think, though, that the maximum number in a party should be no more than six people. Otherwise it gets a little awkward. You do have to get yourself there but I'm sure that Marianne could help out on that front. Afterwards we had lunch (not included) at an incredible hotel called Forum Homini in their Roots restaurant. An amazing hotel built at ground/underground level which gives you the feeling of being at an ancient hominid site as it must have looked 2 million years ago. A four-course lunch with wine pairings for $US18!! I would highly recommend this experience. Phone: 27 11 023-4234 and email: email@example.com
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