Take a journey back in time and visit one of these suggested sites that offer opportunities to adventure and explore pieces of our past (and present). Learn about prehistoric man and creatures, discover caves that date back hundreds of years, explore fossils and come up close and personal with South African reptiles when you visit one of these awesome, learning-rich sites.

Dino’s Alive

(Cape Gate, WC)

Cape Gate Retail Centre plays host to one of the finest dinosaur exhibitions from tomorrow, 18 November till January 8th 2017. With 25 life-like animatronic dinosaurs, T-Rex rides and so much more dino fun, this exhibit is going to WOW your little dinosaur-loving adventurer. Practical activities at the event provide loads of entertainment and many opportunities to learn more about these enormous prehistoric creatures.

Website: http://dinosalive.co.za/

Hours:  09h00- 19h00 (last entrance at 17h00) Monday-Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R100
               Children- R75
               Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 children)- R320
               School Groups- R50 per learner (1 Teacher enters free per 20 learners).

Iziku Museum

(Cape Town, WC) 

Discover what fossils are, shake hands with an ancient Karoo therapsid (mammal – like reptile) and learn to walk like a Dinocephalian. Investigate the death of an Oudenodon (crime scene). Discover how many children can sit on the body of an enormous fossil crocodile and compare own height to that of a dinosaur! All of this and so much more form part of the fun natural history programmes offered by the Iziku Museums situated in central Cape Town. The South African Museum houses more than one and a half million specimens of scientific importance.

Website: http://www.iziko.org.za/static/page/natural-history-programmes

Hours:  10h00 to 17h00, Monday -Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R30
               Children (6-18 years)- R15  *Children under 5 years enter for FREE
               Pensioners & Students- R15

               Family Ticket (2 Adults & 2 Children)- R75

Cango Caves

(Oudshoorn, WC)   

The 20 million year-old Cango Caves system consists of a series of hidden chambers cut deep into a thick limestone rock layer. It is situated in the Klein Karoo Swartberg Mountains, 29km outside Oudtshoorn. There is more than one section to the caves, but only the main section is open to the public to preserve these majestic formations. Two types of tours of the main area of the caves are offered, with the adventure tour requiring visitors to get on all fours or even crawl around on their stomach, - to get to see all caverns, stalactites and stalagmites.

Website: http://www.cango-caves.co.za/

Hours:  09h00 to 16h00, Monday -Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R100/R150
               Children- R60 /R90

(Rates are valid from 1 July 2016 - 30 June 2017)

*Bookings are essential as a limited number of visitors are allowed into the caves daily

Sudwala Dinosaur Park

(Nelspruit, Mpumulanga) 

Celebrating nearly 40 years of existence, the lush sub-tropical forest Dinosaur Park, situated next to the Sudwala Caves, a mere 30 minutes from Nelspruit is a delight to visit. With live Nile Crocodiles, rainforest creatures and life-size models of pre-historic man and animals (including dinosaurs) as well as other amphibious and ancient reptiles, visitors will be captivated and enthused.

Website: http://www.dinosaurpark.co.za/

Hours:  08h30 to 17h00, Monday -Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R70
               Children (5-18 years) -R40 *Children under 5 years enter for FREE


West Coast Fossil Park

(Langebaan, WC) 

A short 150km drive North of Cape Town will bring you to the world-renowned West Coast Fossil Park close to Langebaan, Western Cape. See the well-preserved fossils of bears, sabre-tooth cats, short-necked giraffes and the many other exotic animals which inhabited the west coast area some 5 million years ago.

Website: http://www.fossilpark.org.za/

Hours:  08h00 to 16h00, Monday -Friday

                Times vary per season over weekends & Public Holidays

Cost:      Adults- R35/R80
               Pensioners- R30/R50
               Children (5-18 years) -R25/R35 *Children under 5 years enter for FREE

Croc City Crocodile & Reptile Park

(Johannesburg, Gauteng

Croc City Crocodile & Reptile Park is fast becoming one of the most exciting attractions in South Africa, where visitors take part in thrilling activities such as holding a baby crocodile, touching exotic snakes and getting up close and personal with a tarantula! The park places great emphasis on educating society on indigenous reptile conservation. For the brave-at-heart, the park also offers the opportunity to zipline over a Nile crocodile enclosure.

Website: http://www.croccity.co.za/

Hours:  09h00 to 16h30, Monday - Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R80
                Pensioners – R70
               Children – R60

Ndlondlo Reptile Park

(Ballito, KZN)

The park boasts 2 underground snake enclosures containing over 15 different species of indigenous snakes (including the infamous black and green mamba) and a python tank, home to a reticulated python and a pair of anaconda’s. Other creatures to view and learn about include: Rock monitors, Nile monitors, Iguana’s, various species of lizards and tortoises, Bearded Dragons and a few freaky frogs! Hourly tours teach visitors to know the difference between venomous and non-venomous, how to avoid and respond to dangerous encounters etc.

Website: http://ndlondloreptilepark.co.za/

Hours:  09h00 to 15h00, Monday - Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R80
               Teens (10-18 years) – R50
               Children – R40 *Children under 3 years enter for FREE
               *ONLY CASH. No Card facilities available

Perry’s Bridge

(Hazyview, Mpumulanga) 

En-route to the Kruger Park or the Panorama Route why not stop in at Perry’s Bridge with their large reptile collection? Crocodile feedings take place each Sunday and there are two daily demonstrations. This is your chance to get up close and personal with some of South Africa and the world's most venomous snakes, as well as large constrictors, crocodilians, lizards, tortoises and frogs.

Website: http://www.perrysbridgereptilepark.com/

Hours:  10h00 to 17h00, Monday – Sunday (*Closed on Fridays)

Cost:      Adults- R120
               Children (5-13 years) – R70
              *Children under 5 years enter for FREE
               (max of 2 children FREE entrance per paying adult)

Crocworld Conservation Centre

(Scottborough, KZN) 

Set on 24ha of beautifully landscaped indigenous gardens with stunning sea views, Crocworld is not just a crocodile farm, it is a complete wildlife experience offering a range of displays and activities to suit all age groups and help them connect with nature. New enclosures are home to a wide variety of bird species and 11 of the 12-deadly dozen venomous snakes in South Africa. Crocodile feeding sessions take place twice daily (except Mondays) and snake demonstrations can be enjoyed on the weekends.

Website: http://www.crocworld.co.za/

Hours:  08h00 to 16h30, Monday – Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R70
                Pensioners- R50
                Children (4-12 years) – R45 *Children under 4 years enter for FREE

                School Groups: R35 per child

Maropeng Cradle of Humankind & Sterkfontein Caves

(Sterkfontein, Gauteng) 

The Sterkfontein Caves in the Maropeng Cradle of Humankind is one of the world’s richest hominid fossil sites and also the site of the longest continuous palaeoanthropological dig in the world. An exhibition through the site introduces visitors to the famous fossils, Mrs Ples and Little Foot that were discovered in the caves.  Highlights of the cave tours include the ‘bottomless’ lake and the small caverns where the most famous fossils were found. After exiting the caves, be sure to pay a visit to the excavation site where scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand are continuing to work on finding more fossils (over 80 years since excavations began.)

Website: http://www.maropeng.co.za/content/page/the-sterkfontein-caves

Hours:  09h00 to 17h00, Monday – Sunday

Cost:      Adults- R165
                Pensioners- R85
               Children (4-14 years) – R97 *Children under 4 years enter for FREE
               School Groups: R90 per child

Please feel free to share your experiences and other favourite "prehistoric" sites in South Africa with us in the comment section below.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the original authors and other contributors.  These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Grow Learning Company (Pty) Lt, staff and/or any/all contributors to this page. The information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author to be reliable and it has been provided to you solely for informational purposes.
While every caution has been taken to provide readers with the most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this article.  The author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this article.
  • November 17, 2016
  • Carmen Kingwill
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