South Africa Table Mountain

The rich West Coast National Park history is
amazing, dating back 117.000 years

The rich West Coast National Park history includes amazing historical events that have occurred over many centuries, with evidence of human presence dating back 117.000 years.



From the original inhabitants, the Khoikhoi and the San people, to the arrival of the Europeans by sea and the black tribes from the interior of the African continent.

In the West Coast Fossil Park just outside the town of Langebaan you can view an exhibition of the region's history.

A museum scene of the ancient San people depicting the way they used to live - West Coast National Park History, South Africa National Parks
A museum scene of the ancient "San" people depicting the way they used to live
West Coast National Park, South Africa National Parks
copyright © South African tourism

The earliest signs of human existence in the park are a couple of footprints on a rock, known as "Eve's Footprints". Paleoanthropologists have calculated that they must have been left there about 117 000 years ago by a female human being of about 1.5 metres tall, when walking up a steep, damp dune. The indentations were preserved by blowing sand that later hardened. To safekeep it from erosion the rock with the footprints has been removed and put on display in the South African Museum in Cape Town.

The so-called footprints of Eve that were discovered in the Park - West Coast National Park History, South Africa National Parks
The so-called "footprints of Eve" that were discovered in the Park
West Coast National Park, South Africa National Parks
Photograph by Pat Bromilow-Downing

The name Saldanha Bay was given by Dutch seafarer Juris van Spilbergen when he arrived in the bay in 1601, mistaking it for Table Bay, which was originally named Aguada de Saldanha, after António de Saldanha, the first European to drop anchor in what is now called Table bay. Ownership of the West Coast National Park region was first claimed by the Dutch East India Company in the second half of the 16th century.

Ruins of Stone House in the Park, near Boulderbaai - West Coast National Park History, South Africa National Parks
Ruins of Stone House in the Park, near Boulderbaai
West Coast National Park History, South Africa National Parks







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Aerial view of Cape Town and Table Mountain in South Africa

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