Five million years ago during the early Pliocene era, the dry and dusty West Coast of South Africa was a veritable paradise with lush riverine forests and miles of wooded savannah through which strange animals roamed, including saber-toothed cats, three-toed horses, four-tusked elephants, and short-necked giraffes. Today, the West Coast Fossil Park conserves the remains of these enigmatic beasts in what constitutes one of the world’s richest fossil sites.
The bones of over 200 different species of animals have been recovered in the park, some of which were previously unknown to science. These fossils can be observed at the ‘live’ exhibit: an ongoing excavation of early Pliocene fossils where visitors are informed about the fossils’ formation and the great climate changes that happened in the area. Besides fossil-viewings, visitors can also take to their mountain bikes on trails and explore the now arid but scenic landscape.
Nearby the park the beautiful Langebaan Lagoon shimmers, while the hustle and bustle of Cape Town is less than a two hours’ drive away. The scenic Langebaan town offers a variety of accommodation options and great restaurants. Visit the area during the spring months and you will be treated to the stunning display of spring flowers.
- One of the world’s richest fossil sites
- Houses the bones of over 200 different species of animals, some of which were previously unknown to science
- Visitors can take guided tours through a ‘live’ fossil exhibit
- Mountain bike trails snake through the park
- In proximity to the town of Langebaan with its lagoon and less than two hours away from Cape Town
- In the spring months, the arid landscape in the area is alight with beautiful spring flowers