Need help?

Journeys: +27 21 250 0018

Places: +27 21 250 0015

Point of Human Origin

Western Cape, South Africa

ENJOY a guided cave visit to archaeological sites at Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay and discover why Mossel Bay is considered to be the "birthplace of culture". The caves have revealed the earliest evidence for systematic harvesting of seafood, the use of ochre for colouring and for the manufacture of complex stone tools - they're truly fascinating.

For Heritage month, the Point of Human Origin is offering the winner/s a guided cave visit (90min) for 4 people (either for 2 couples or a family of 4). Valid until 31 October 2016.

Dr (then PhD student) Peter Nilssen recognised the significance of the archaeology of the Caves when he and Jonathan Kaplan (director of the Agency for Cultural Resource Management) ran a routine survey of the land that would become the Pinnacle Point Beach & Golf Resort. Dr. Nilssen called in Prof. Curtis Marean, an associate director of the Institute of Human Origins and professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, and after early test excavations, the Caves have been the subject of continuous study by dozens of scientists from around the world since 2000. Under Prof. Marean, the South African Coast Palaeoclimate, Palaeoenvironment, Palaeoecology, and Palaeoanthropology (SACP4) Project has published numerous significant, peer-reviewed scientific papers − and it continues to do so today.

The Caves have revealed the earliest evidence for systematic harvesting of seafood; for the use of ochre for colouring (making Mossel Bay the birthplace of culture); and for the manufacture of complex stone tools (tiny, precisely-made bladelets embedded into materials like wood or bone − making this the birthplace of advanced technology). But the length of occupation − more than 120 000 years – also makes the Caves ideal for studying how human habits adapt to climate change.

The half-day excursion includes an illustrated lecture and a guided 90-minute cave visit with a trained guide (via 180 steps – so access requires a mild degree of fitness). Dr Peter Nilssen will change the way you think about being human.

Contact Details:

079 640 0004 or 071 690 8889


Mossel Bay, Garden Route

Opening & Closing Times:

Departure Times: 09:00; Dropoff Time: 14:00.