The West Coast Fossil Park is located on the ancient Berg River of 5 million years ago. Contrary to the way the West Coast looks today, millions of years ago this area was dominated by riverine forests and wooded savanna, and inhabited by animals that are now long extinct.
Visit one of South Africa’s most unique National Heritage Sites
The start of the West Coast Fossil Park is marked by phosphate mining operations at Langebaan in the 1950’s which exposed one of the richest fossil deposits ever discovered and, since then, the bones of some 200 different kinds of animals, some of them hitherto unknown to science, have been recovered.
In 1993 mining operations stopped, and a 0.14km² area within the former mine property was declared a National Heritage Site, which is recognised as containing the deposit of possibly the greatest diversity of five million year old fossils in the world.
The highlight of the West Coast Fossil Park is the ‘live’ exhibit of an ongoing excavation of early Pliocene fossils. There are daily guided tours which give a background to the fossils and the climatic changes that happened in the region.
The current West Coast Fossil Park Visitor Center also hosts a small Museum with some of the most impressive original specimens on display; a cosy Coffee Shop with delicious home-bakes and an interesting Gift Shop.
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
While here, why not take a guided tour to the dig site display of 5 million year old fossil animals?