West Coast Fossil Park

The highlight of the West Coast Fossil Park is the ‘live’ exhibit of an ongoing excavation of early Pliocene fossils (fossils from 5 million years ago)

Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe West Coast Fossil Park

Contrary to the way the West Coast looks today, millions of years ago the area was dominated by riverine forests and wooded savanna, and animals that today are long extinct wandered the land.

Where? West Coast National Park, Langebaan, Cape West Coast

When? Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 16h00
Saturday and Sunday from 09h00 to 12h00
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday

How? Call +27 (0)22 766-1606

Overnight? See Langebaan accommodation, in Cape West Coast

We know this because phosphate mining operations at Langebaan during the late 1950s exposed one of the richest fossil sites the world has ever seen, and since then the bones of some 200 different kinds of animals, some of them hitherto unknown to the world of science, have been recovered.

In 1993 mining operations stopped, and a 14 hectare area within the former mine property was declared a national heritage site, run today by the Iziko Museums of Cape Town. The West Coast Fossil Park lies on the R45 close to the Langebaanweg Air force base, roughly 120 kilometres north of Cape Town.

Today the heritage site is recognised as containing the deposit of possibly the greatest diversity of five million year old fossils in the world, and over 70 scientific papers have been published about the fossils.

For the visitor, the highlight of the West Coast Fossil Park is the ‘live’ exhibit of an ongoing excavation of early Pliocene fossils (fossils from 5 million years ago). There are daily guided tours that give a background to the fossils and the climatic changes that happened in the region.

But the park is not about fossils alone...

There are also several mountain bike trails in the park that include rides for the whole family. Four different trails cover varying distances, and there are some tricky sections for those intent on adventure. It is a great way to appreciate both the prehistoric aspects of the park, and the views from the northern end over Saldanha and Vredenburg.

Popular Attractions near to the West Coast Fossil Park

West Coast National Park

Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay one finds the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly...

More info and contact details: West Coast National Park

Bird Island Nature Reserve

The three hectare Bird Island Nature Reserve is an important breeding and roosting site for this cacophonous and, on the face of it, unruly bunch of birds that serves as both an environmental educational opportunity, and a tourist attraction...

More info and contact details: Bird Island Nature Reserve

Did you know?

Head to Postberg where you can do the Postberg Flower Trail – a wonderful walk through a section of the park open only for a couple of months every year (August and September) during the flower season.

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