Thursday, January 18, 2018

The West Coast Fossil Park, Langebaanweg

Travelling back 5 Million years
We have long wanted to visit this interesting place. Lynne studied Gemmology for the FGA in London and we are both fascinated by the environment, man. rocks, minerals and the earth's formation and history. We decided to go on our way back to Cape Town last Sunday and are so glad we did. It seems our delay played in our favour because just two months ago the brand new centre opened and it is almost as impressive as the fossils themselves. It is located on the R45 just off the R27 between Langebaan and Velddrif. And they are a National Heritage site, so they need funding
The entrance
Necessary warnings, especially in summer. We didn't see any of these but they obviously are there, it is wild nature
We arrived in time for the 12 o'clock tour. This was our very well informed guide, Yaseen Whatney, waiting for the group to assemble
Resting in the shade and rehydrating
Yaseen giving us an introduction to the site. We will not spoil your own experience, go and find out for yourselves. There were children on our tour and they absolutely loved seeing the fossils and hearing about dinosaurs (more 10 million years ago) and later animals that roamed this area
It is just a short walk from the new centre in the middle of the picture to the tented fossil site
You walk on boards above the fossils and the guide points out bones of different animals to you and explains how they got there. It is fascinating
This was a phosphate mine for many years and they discovered the fossils underneath the phosphates when they ran out. Digging is still going on. If not the richest deposit of fossils from this period in the world, we were told it is one of the richest
A jawbone of an ancient short-necked, long-horned giraffe, the extinct Sivathere (sivatherium hendayi)
They have found the only fossils of the African bear (agriotherium africanum)  here; the only bear ever found south of the Mediterranean
A picture of what they must have looked like
Pointing to other fossils and answering questions
The archaeologists always dig in a grid pattern for record purposes
Quite amazing things have been found, some are exactly like the present day animal, others so different
You do get a chance to dig through a pile of tiny fossil remains. We were asked to see if we could find some fossils of tiny skinks, frogs and other tiny animals. These are their bones
lose and use the one below The dig is covered to protect it from the weather and wind. The Berg River used to come through here 5 million years ago and this is why there are fossils here
You can then visit the exhibitions (the exhibition venue is under construction, but should be ready soon) and amphitheatre. There was nothing on when we were there on a Sunday. but you might want to check out their programmes
lose and use the one below 2 A sculpture of a Sivathere is being made from fossils
A painting of what the river might have looked like
move up 2
Pollens were found in the dig and they are all plants that still exist, but just not in this area. It was quite sub tropical. They have planted many of these plants, so you can get an idea of what it might have looked like
A nice place to sit
They have a restaurant as well with lots of seating inside and out
And you will find them in social media
What is in the hole? An egg and an animal....
Do visit, we loved it. Tickets cost R50 for adults and less for pensioners and children
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