Our Karoo Paleontology Trip 2020 travel blog

After about a two hour drive, we arrived at the West Coast Fossil Park and met our guide Pippa Haarhoff who gave us the run down of the site. The West Coast Fossil Park opened in 1998 due to the growing awareness and interest in paleontology by the general public. The main aim of the park is to communicate science to the public, and it attracts visitors of all ages as well as tourists. The West Coast Fossil Park is now a National Heritage site and it is one of the richest fossil sites in the world.

Pippa explained to us that approximately 5 million years ago, we would have actually been standing in the ancient Berg river instead of the dry area which we found ourselves in (see picture 2). Back then, the vegetation was rich, there was higher rainfall and it was warmer. It is believed that there were riverine forests which is very different to the small bushes we saw.

Before the this area became a preserved fossil site, it was originally a phosphate mine. During the mine's operation, fossils were found.

We then walked to the "E" quarry tunnel, a site that was chosen by the paleontologist Dr Brett Hendley in 1976.

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