In June 2015 UNESCO declared the greater Magaliesberg region, including the Cradle of Humankind, a globally recognised biosphere reserve. The declaration is described in a new booklet about the area as ‘a proud accomplishment for South Africa and a fine moment for the world’. The designation as a Biopshere Reserve was celebrated with the ceremonial unveiling of a granite plaque on the summit of the Magaliesberg on 28 October.
The day was hosted by the Harties Cableway and commenced with a presentation by Vincent Carruthers. Vincent has a long history with the Magaliesberg, and is a member of the Magaliesberg Initiaitive Group which motivated for the Biosphere to be designated. Professor Lee Berger gave an entertaining and informative presentation which told of his journey of exploration in the Cradle of Humankind. This World Heritage Site if a core area of the Biosphere Reserve.
Two hundred guests were transported by cable car to the top of the mountain.
A granite plaque commemorating the declaration of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve was unveiled at a site overlooking a spectacular view of the Magaliesberg and Hartbeespoort Dam. Prof Lee Berger did the honours.
Biosphere Reserves are especially important regions that must fulfil three functions: 1) conserve landscapes and ecosystems, 2) foster sustainable development and 3) support research, education and information exchange. They are subject to regular monitoring.
In the new booklet to be published by the Hartbeespoort Tourism Association, Charles Ndabeni of the North West Department of Tourism says, ‘the declaration of the Magaliesberg Biosphere throws a global spotlight onto this remarkable part of the country and will draw tourists into the area.’
Tourism is widely recognised as a principal stimulus to the ailing South African economy and a major contributor to employment opportunities.