Africa is an incredible place to come witness not just if you are a nature lover but also if you are a history buff.
Many anthropologists call Africa “the Mother Continent” because of its numerous archaeological findings that predate all other known evidence of Homo sapiens and our direct ancestors. Additionally, hundreds of different cultures have left their permanent mark around the continent with awe-inspiring structures, cities and monuments. Put together, visiting nearly any country in Africa can quickly transport you many centuries and millennia into the past.
If you are interested in enjoying an African historical safari as part of your next trip abroad, consider seeing some of the following highlights during your visit to the birthplace of humankind as we know it:
Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa
When going on a historical trip to Africa, you might as well begin at where it all began! Located just a short drive outside Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Fossil Hominid Sites contain some of the earliest discovered remnants of human ancestors, dating back around 3.3 million years ago.
The Taung skull, an Australopithecus africanus specimen, was discovered here back in 1924. Even more ancient human predecessors were discovered since that time, including Paranthropus, an extinct genus of human-like apes that first began walking upright and using tools.
Sites in this region also depict some of the earliest evidence of domesticating fire, dating back over one million years ago. Because of these monumental finds, many academics refer to this region as the “Cradle of Humankind,” and it has been designated as one of South Africa’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mamuno Monument — Botswana
The Kangumene Engravings in Botswana are one of the few early human artistic carvings that have survived the test of time. Although the engravings themselves are quite abstract, they show a glimpse into the mind of our ancestors as they sought to express themselves using nature as their canvas.
Other markings depict the sharpening or creation of stone tools, making Mamuno an important location for documenting early human activities.
Olduvai Gorge — Tanzania
Almost as significant to our understanding of human evolution as South Africa’s Hominid Fossil Sites, Olduvai Gorge allows us to trace the evolutionary progression of hominid species to hominins.
Artifacts such as bones bearing gnaw marks and stone tool production sites chart the advancement of early humankind as we first began to move from only scavenging and hunting behaviors to more advanced tool-making and social interaction. Findings here date back more than 1.9 million years ago, and they provide strong evidence for the theory that the human species first evolved in Africa.
Moving Beyond Pre-History on Your African Historical Safari Tour
These three sites are some of the most critical for understanding how humans diverged from our ancestors and began developing the early marks of civilization. Part 2 of this post will describe more recent sites spanning the eras of Islamic migration into Africa and European colonization.
If you are interested in booking the perfect historic African safari tours to visit any or all of these sites, take a look at our available African safari tour packages, or contact us to enquire about a custom-made package for your group.
Jill Liphart for www.rohoyachui.com