About Mzamba fossils and the Petrified Forest

The Mzamba fossils and Petrified Forest are on the beach, about 2 km from the Wild Coast Sun, near Port Edward, in the northerly reaches of the Wild Coast.

You'll find the Petrified Forest - a series of marine fossil beds, which are actually fossilised logs embedded in rocks - exposed in a series of prominent reefs just south of the Mtamvuna River, passed Thompson's lagoon. The wood was once part of a forest, carried downstream by rivers and waterlogged here in the shallows of the coast.

You can hike to see the fossil beds, although you'd best do so with a local guide as not only do you need to time the tides (low tide is best) but the guide knows exactly where they are. That said, one can still see larger fossils hidden in the sand even at high tide.

The reefs in which the forest is embedded stretch along the coast to a series of cliffs and overhangs, known as White Man's Cave. In this stretch are another series of fossils known as the Mzamba fossils.

These are sandstone and limestone deposits containing fossils that date back 80 million years to the Upper Cretaceous period, and include marine shells, bivalve shells, coiled ammonites, echinoids (or sea urchins) and, incredibly, a fossilised sea turtle and enormous clam shells.

White Man's Cave is a fossilised overhang. You can sit beneath it and study a series of further fossils from below. The forest and the fossils are collectively known as the Mzamba Cretaceous Deposits.

Need to Know

Where5 km from Port Edward, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchFree

TelephoneNot applicable

OvernightThe closest town is Port Edward, in KwaZulu Natal

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