Time Travel in Karoo National Park

Karoo National Park Fossil Trail Upgraded

When you visit the Karoo national park, not only will you be traveling to one of the worlds richest dessert flora areas, with more than 9000 plant species, the highest concentration of breeding black eagles, and abundant animal life, you'll also be traveling back in time, and visiting creatures that lived on the earth 35 million years before the dinosaurs.

The ever-popular Fossil Trail in the Karoo National Park has been extensively upgraded. Cape Town palaeontologist Dr John Almond of Natura Viva, has designed 23 new information plaques and added a number of new rock and fossil specimens and casts to the trail. “The aim is to use modern reconstructions and palaeobiological information to bring back to life the amazing extinct wildlife that thrived in ancient Karoo during the Late Permian Period some 255 million years ago,” says Dr. Almond. “At that time – about 35 million years before dinosaurs evolved – the first complex ecosystems appeared on land. A variety of herbivores, lizard-like insect-eaters, and sabre-toothed super-predators are preserved in the Permian rocks of the Karoo.”

The trail was originally established by Dr Roger Smith of Iziko Museums, Cape Town, who with his team, locally collected most of the fossils on display. Over the years, however, the outdoor display cases were severely damaged by the extreme Karoo climate. The Park has now upgraded the stone-paved pathway to facilitate better wheelchair access and built new, better and more weather-resistant display cases. With great winter specials on new reservations of up to 40% from the 19 July 2006 till 31 August 2006 4 October 2006 till 24 November 2006, what better reason do you need to explore the park with it's library of the past?

Together with the displays on Karoo geology and fossils in the new Interpretive Centre, the upgraded Fossil Trail provides an excellent resource for teachers, learners, and the interested public who wants to learn more about the wonderful fossil and geological heritage of the Great Karoo. For more information, please contact Karoo National Park on: Tel +27 (0)23 415 2828 / 9 or e-mail normanj@sanparks.org