Visitors to Cape Town typically want to see the city’s “flesh pots” – Table Mountain, Cape Point, Boulders Beach penguins, Kirstenbosch … which are all very good things to see.

However, I was impressed this past weekend when I went up to Paternoster – about 2 hours’ drive up the West Coast – and saw how many foreign visitors were there at the picturesque Cape fishing village, as well as the nearby West Coast Fossil Park.

The park is a window back into time, around 5 million years ago when the West Coast was covered by tropical forest and the place teemed with massive short-necked giraffes, a gigantic African bear, 3 species of elephant and a giant hyena, to name but a few.

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Photo credit: West Coast Fossil Park

The guided tour of the fossil dig site, the laboratory where everything is processed, and the small museum takes between 1 and 1 ½ hours and is worth every cent (it costs less then 1 cent a minute).

So, if you are planning to stay over in Cape Town, we recommend – no, we highly recommend – an overnight stay at Paternoster and a visit to the eye-opening fossil park.