A newly developed Geotrail based at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) in Gansbaai, is a learning adventure which takes the observer from the very beginning of our planet, right up to the present day. It is a wondrous 4.6-billion-year tale of fact, woven around the geology, the rocks of our home, the evolution of life, mass extinctions, and the wonders of the Earth.

You are taken from the fiery birth of our planet along the journey of creation by means of a 46-meter rope, representing 4.6 billion years, with signposts along the length. These boards share with you the major events in the life of the Earth and explain in easy-to-understand text what took place to shape our current globe.

The Geotrail was conceived and developed by Mike Dormer of the Overberg Geoscientists Group, executed and erected by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust with the support of Wilfred Chivell and Susan Visagie. “The aim of the display is to expose and educate our community in Gansbaai, our tourists, and especially children, to the wonders of geology, as a hobby, and perhaps even as a career.” says Dormer “This also creates an additional reason to spend more time in Gansbaai and environs, and proves the Overstrand is not only about Whales and Wine” adds Chivell, founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, and owner of Marine Dynamics Tours. “We want to educate people about our environment so that they will ultimately better protect it for future generations,” he adds.

“Geology is a fascination, a lifelong interest, and answers questions like where to plant our food, where to mine for gold and critical ‘green minerals’, where to find diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Where would we be without the ever-broadening understanding of the vast resources beneath us? What if we didn’t understand the structures and faults of the earth around us? I hope this Geotrail will encourage more curious minds,” says Dormer.

The intellectual property has been researched from and given freely by renowned authors such as Geologists Bruce Rubidge and Terence McCarthy, among others. The artwork has been carefully researched and faithfully reproduced in the info graphics, with Gilbert the Shark Geologist guiding you along the journey. More information on the geology and evolution of the fascinating Overberg region will soon be available on the under-construction Overberg Geoscientists Group (OGG) Website.  Alongside the Geotrail, there is an evolving Rock-garden that focuses on the 600 million years of local geological history. Here visitors will find signposted samples of rocks commonly encountered around Gansbaai and environs.  As time progresses and samples are added, the Rock-Garden will expand. “This Rock-Garden will provide answers to some of those nagging questions you may have about ‘What type of rock is that, what is the rock called, where is it from’ and so forth. We are surrounded by a jewel box of rocks, every moment of our lives. There is provision for an extended garden to accommodate rocks from further afield, so if someone has a piece of gold bearing Witwatersrand conglomerate in the back garden, I would be happy to classify it, signpost it and install it in the garden!” says Dormer.

With over 100 active and retired geoscientists in the greater Overberg area, more Geoheritage and Geo-Tourism developments are planned, by the OGG, for the region.  These will include similar Geo-Trails, some guided, on Clarence drive, the Hermanus Cliff Path, the Hemel and Aarde Valley, and at Klipgat Cave at De Kelders.

The display is open, free of charge, to all visitors, at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai and is well worth the visit. Afterwards enjoy cake and coffee at the APSS. Penguin feeding time can be observed at 3pm. APSS is open daily from 9am to 4pm.

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20211230 140007Geological Trail

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Img 8005Oldest known rock

Img 8007Gilbert’s Geological Trail