Taung which means “Place of the Lion”, was named in honour of Tau, chief of the Legoya or Bataung people. In 1924, the eyes of the world’s scientific community suddenly turned to this small village when a small skull, belonging to a hominid “Australopithecus Africanus” was found in the vicinity. The “southern ape of Africa” lived in Southern Africa some 2,5 million years ago. According to scientists the discovery of the skull has provided humankind with many answers to previously unanswered questions concerning the origin of man.
Adventure And Sport
Blue Pools Picnic Area: This popular hiking and picnic site, close to the site where the skull was discovered, is a beautiful scenic spot with streams, rock pools and a picturesque valley with caves.
Taung Dam: The Taung Dam lies on the Kolong River, 17 km from town. It is an ideal site for picnics.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
Dinkgwaneng San Rock Art site: San rock engravings, dating from thousands of years ago, can be seen at Dinkgwaneng, 20 km from the town, near the village of Manthe.
Taung Heritage site: The Taung Heritage site is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the world, since it significantly changed archaeological theory regarding the origin of mankind. Until the time when Prof. Raymond Dart presented his find to the world, most scientists had searched in Asia for the answers regarding man’s origin. The Taung skull was discovered in the Buxton quarries in 1924 and was that of a small child, later to be established to belong to the first early African hominids. Both ape-like and human-like features were discerned and Dart named the fossil Australopithecus Africanus. A commemorative plaque marks the spot where the skull was found. Explore the site and then enjoy the nearby picturesque caves and clear streams at the Blue Pools or undertake a tour to a re-opened mineshaft. Visitors can enjoy picnics, hiking and abseiling on the high cliffs. Plans are being made to return the Taung Skull to its rightful home, as soon as a custom-designed museum is erected at the site. The skull presently resides at Wits University in Johannesburg.
Cultural Calabash Festival: The annual North West Cultural Calabash has grown from a one-day event to a year-round happening. The build-up to the weeklong main event is mini-festivals in five regions with a competitive component. Taung hosts the main Cultural Calabash since the festival started here, where the famous skull was found. Traditional and modern dance, music and drama are just some of the features of this creative and innovative festival.
Mmabana Cultural Centre: The Mmabana Cultural Centre was established to provide the community with an outlet for its artistic and cultural talents. It is a modern social and educational centre that offers courses and sells art and crafts produced by local talent.
Fauna And Flora
Boipelo Game Reserve: In the 150 ha Boipelo Game Reserve, part of the Tusk Hotel complex, a number of scenic hiking and mountain biking trails of varying lengths have been mapped out. The trails take the visitor through untamed bushveld scenery, allowing viewing of seven different types of game and over 100 species of birds.
Makgoro Hunting & Holiday Farm Lodge: 25 km from Setlagole on the Vryburg/Mafikeng road (R27) lies the Makgoro Hunting & Holiday Farm Lodge with its fully equipped thatched large chalet on the banks of a large dam. The lodge offers opportunities for hunting, hiking, walking, game viewing, bird watching and fishing.
Blue Pools: The pools are close to the Buxton Quarry to the west of the village. The constant stream of water that flows from the limestone cliffs at the head of the valley congregate in a series of deep blue pools as it descends the valley. A tourism project that will also benefit the local community involves upgrading the facilities at the pools.