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take your head out of the sand

The Mzamba Fossil and Petrified Forest can be found at the most northern point of the Wild Coast and is officially known as the Mzamba Cretaceous Deposits. The best, and only, way to visit and explore this trail is with a local guide, booked through the Wild Coast Sun Hotel PR Desk.

The Mzamba Fossil & Petrified Forest is a set of famous marine fossil beds and an exposed 10-metre cliff band that forms a prominent headland about 2,5 kilometres south of the Mtamvuna River. The tour begins at the Wild Coast Sun Hotel reception where attendees can view some fantastic examples of the fossils in the hotels collection. From here your guide will walk you down to the beach, past Thompsons Lagoon, to the first collection of fossils, the petrified trees lying in the shallow waters. The name Petrified “Forest” could be construed as incorrect as the logs did not grow here but were instead carried downstream and became waterlogged and submerged here.

The trail follows the exposed reef from here for more than a kilometre down to a series of cliffs and overhangs known as "White Man’s Cave”. Deposits along this stretch consist of greyish-brown sandstone, as well as limestone rich in fossil material dating back 80-million years. The deposits also include masses of marine shells, among them beautiful examples of tightly coiled ammonites, echinoids (sea urchins) and bivalve shells.

The best time to visit is obviously at low tide as the petrified forest will not really be visible if the tide is in. However, the trail is still worth a visit as the fossils in the upper section are always visible and your guide knows exactly where the larger ammonites lie, usually hidden in the sand, and it takes them just seconds to locate and rinse these incredible fossils for a great photo!

The site is protected under the National Heritage Resources Act so please be respectful and don’t think of taking away a souvenir.

Things to See and Do

  • Fossil Exhibit
  • Guided Beach Walk
  • Fossilised Marine Shells
  • Fossilised Wood Deposits
  • Giant Clam Shell
  • White Man’s Caves

Admission

Tuesday to Saturday, Tours begin at 09h00

Please contact the PR Desk at the Wild Coast Sun for bookings and confirmation on tour rates

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