STEENBOK OF THE WEST COAST FOSSIL PARK
WHERE PAST LIFE MEETS PRESENT
Anyskop, an ancient dune, situated within the West Coast Fossil Park and visible from the dig site, has evidence that wild game was brought here during early, middle and late stone age times. This is demonstrated by not only the fossilised remains of large animals such as the African elephant, white rhinoceros, eland and Cape zebra, all of which are no longer present in the West Coast region, but also small game including steenbok.
The Park even today is the host of the steenbok. You might spot some of these small antelope on your way to dig site.
DID YOU KNOW the following about the steenbok?
The Steenbok is a small antelope that has a body length of between 61 and 95 cm, a tail length between 4 and 8 cm, and a weight of between 7 and 16 kg.
Their coat is short and bright fawn in colour with a pale underside, chin and throat. They have a light coloured ring around each of their eyes and they have very large ears with black “finger lines” on the inside.
Only the male Steenbok has horns. They measure 7 – 19 cm in length, they stand straight and parallel and they are smooth in texture.
Steenbok are active throughout the day, however during hotter periods they move to a shaded area where they will sleep, ruminate or groom themselves.
Steenbok are found in the semi-desert, open woodlands and thickets of eastern and southern Africa. They are either solitary or live in a pair and they have territory of 4 – 5 hectares which they mark with dung and they chase away any other Steenbok that enter it.
Steenbok feed on grasses, roots, fruits and tubers. They rarely drink as they obtain the moisture they need from their diet.
Steenbok breed throughout the year although more calves are born in spring, during November and December. After a gestation period of 168 – 177 days, 1 calf (sometimes 2) is born. At birth the calf weighs approximately 1 kg and within minutes of birth they begin to feed from their mother.
They are hidden by the mother from predators for the first few weeks and when they are approximately 2 weeks old they begin to eat grass. They are weaned at 3 months and they are sexually mature with 1 year.
The main predators of steenbok are leopards, jackals, caracal, African wild cat, martial eagle, pythons and humans.
If they feel threatened they will lie low in the grass. If the predator comes too close they will leap up and run away in a zigzag pattern to try to shake off their pursuer.
There are two subspecies of Steenbok, namely Raphicerus campestris campestris (found in Southern Africa) and Raphicerus campestris naumanni
(found in Eastern Africa)
Why not visit the West Coast Fossil Park?
Call us today @ 022 766 1606 or visit our website www.fossilpark.org.za.
Open weekdays 09:00 – 15:00
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: guided tours from 10.00 to 13.00. Opening times vary according to season. (You are advised to phone or email ahead of your visit)
Closed: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day & Good Friday
Distance from Cape Town: 120km
Where: R27 to R45
Coordinates: 32° 57′ 19.4″ S 18° 6′ 49.9″ E
Interesting things to do and see at the West Coast Fossil Park:
Sivatherium Coffee Shop
The Sivatherium Coffee Shop is a little gem at the main building of the West Coast Fossil Park. People visiting just love the unique concept – it has a welcoming atmosphere, where you can sit and enjoy breakfast or a light lunch and don’t forget to order a cup of aromatic coffee and cappuccino. Ask your waitron for our delicious cakes.
Where: R27 to R45
Contact: +27 22 766 1606
Dietl, H., Kandel, A.W. & Conard, N.J. (2005). Middle Stone Age settlement and land use at the open-air sites of Geelbek and Anyskop, South Africa. Journal of African Archaeology 3 (2), 233-244.
Dietl, H. (2004). Die Freilandfundstellen von Geelbek und Anyskop in Südafrika: das Siedlungsverhalten während des Middle Stone Age. (The open-air sites of Geelbek and Anyskop in South Africa: Settlement dynamics in the Middle Stone Age.) Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Tübingen, Germany. 194 pp.
Take the road less travelled in the West Coast Way
For more information on West Coast Way Routes and the list of 101+ Things To See And Do in the Cape West Coast, visit our eventspage. Choose to go on a self-guided adventure drive by following the routes, or book an air-conditioned trip to top West Coast attractions in South Africa.