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Address: Corner Yale and Enoch Sontonga Roads | University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
Phone Number:
+27 11 717 4700
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

Africa is where our ancestors evolved into human beings; it’s only fitting...

Africa is where our ancestors evolved into human beings; it’s only fitting then that the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, South Africa, is where the Origins Centre Museum has been established.

Conceptualised by a team of academics and designers from Wits University, the museum aims to provide visitors with a unique experience of Africa’s rich, complex heritage.

The Museum boasts an extensive collection of rock art from the Wits Rock Art Research Institute (RARI), affording visitors the opportunity to view the earliest images made by humans, found in South Africa.

Combining cutting-edge technology with the creative vision of some of South Africa’s foremost artists, the museum’s exhibits take visitors on an extraordinary voyage of discovery, which begins with the origins of humankind in Africa, and then moves through the development of art, symbolism, and technology on the continent.

The Origins Centre Museum restores the African continent to its rightful place in history – at the very beginning of mankind’s journey to humanity.

We are also home to a vast array of palaeoanthropological, archaeological and genetic materials charting the origins of humankind. These include ancient tools, artefacts of spiritual significance to early humans and examples of the region’s striking rock art.

Visitors to our museum can expect to take follow an 80 000-year path in search of the art and culture that has inspired human innovation, as well as delve into the fascinating beliefs of the ancient San, experiencing ritual such as hunting and the trance dance.

Audio guides come with the price of admission and are available in six languages – Zulu, Sotho, English, Afrikaans, French and German.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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The genesis of human kind!

An exhibitions on the history of early humans in Africa, including ancient rock art, with audio tours.

Reviewed 1 week ago
Nairobi, Kenya
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185 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 154: English reviews
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
102 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

An exhibitions on the history of early humans in Africa, including ancient rock art, with audio tours.

Thank hikwam
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

I don't know if it is the original, but you can see Lucy and several other hominids skulls. They tell the story of an ancient ethnic group in many films, utensils, rock drawings. Good, but not marvelous museum... There is very small section of animal fossils. The museum is inside Witts university.

Thank Fabio B
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 March 2017

The content of the exhibition is extremely interesting and important, and the way the exhibit it in the installations is creative and interactive. The area around (university campus) is also cool to explore. Spare some time for the visit, you'll need it.

Thank gabriela b
Level Contributor
89 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2017 via mobile

If you don't have time or the physical ability to visit the larger origins museum outside of Johannesburg with caves etc., you should consider visiting this smaller but fascinating museum on the Witt University campus. The compact exhibits include many artifacts and fossils, written placards, audio guides and short informative films on the birth of mankind and indigenous people of... More 

Thank Christine F
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2017

This is a very informative and interesting museum tracing the origins of civilisation. The exhibits are well set out and you have use of a handheld commentary. I, unfortunately, did not have sufficient time to really see and hear everything. For those interested in the history of the species this is a must.

Thank Barbara C
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
68 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 December 2016

It is a really educational and entertaining visit. The museum is beautifully designed and one can spend hours there.

Thank 408renatac
Level Contributor
371 reviews
310 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 280 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 November 2016

Purchased a entry ticket costing R 40 and made my way towards the main exhibition building a few meters away from the handicraft shop situated inside"Witswatersrand(Wits) University" campus .The "Origin Centre" museum is dedicated to the exploration and celebration of human life and modern humankind with a emphasis on origin of humans in Southern Africa.It is the only museum in... More 

3 Thank MumbaiRiders
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 14 October 2016

An excellent Museum. They provide an audio of the exhibits and we and the children were fascinated. Would recommend it.

Thank margieusa2016
Level Contributor
249 reviews
157 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 October 2016

Located in one of the Wits campuses in Braamfontein, the Origins Center is one museum that explores the origins of Earth and Humankind with well kept and curated artifacts, and professionally produced academic videos that show how much man has evolved over time. Mainly featuring archeological and paleontological dig sites in South Africa, the Origins Museum has an excellent reputation... More 

Thank Luc V
Waterloo, Canada
Level Contributor
51 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 October 2016 via mobile

You need at least 2 hours to wander through. Go early, a couple hours before closing. It is one of the stops in the Hop On Hop Off city tour.

Thank Dananthi

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