The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, formerly known as the Transvaal Museum, is the only natural history museum in Gauteng and one of the largest in South Africa. Founded in 1892 and housed in a sandstone building in Pretoria, the museum’s collections and exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, fossils, skeletons, skins, and mounted specimens of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, reptiles, and mammals. One of the museum’s highlights is the fossil skull of Mrs Ples, which is believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind.
The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History is unique in that it is the only institute in South Africa that offers the local, national, and international community the opportunity to view original fossil material that is usually denied to the public.
Programmes and Tours
• Behind the scenes tour: The museum offers exclusive tours of its collections. The tours are presented by researchers themselves. These tours allow rare interaction between museum researchers and the public.
• Broom room tour: Named after Dr Robert Broom, the Broom room houses many of the most important fossils of early hominids in the world, including the famous STS 5 commonly known as Mrs Ples. This one of the kind tour offers the visitor an opportunity to see original fossils from the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site.
• Educational Programmes: A comprehensive series of programmes and conducted tours are offered to schools, students, and tourists in various South African languages (booking essential).
• Discovery Centre: This hands-on activity centre allows younger learners to explore with their hands as it engages the 5 senses to discover the wonders of nature. The centre is wheelchair-friendly and display texts are also transcribed in Braille.
• Public Programmes: Talks are held by various established researchers and scientists throughout the year.
Booking is essential for all tours.