Geology of the Western Cape

Taking place on: 6 - 8 September

Tour leaders
Professor John Compton & Dr John Rogers

Tour leader to advise times for each day

Hikers must be fit and wear appropriate gear, especially boots
No rock hammers, but hand lens and a camera will be useful

Pre-tour – 5 September
Delegates arriving in Cape Town. Airport transfers to be arranged according to their arrival times. Quality Touring Services to assist with transfers.

Day 1 – 6 September
Cape Peninsula Tour led by Dr John Rogers
Day 1 will highlight the geological sites of interest in the Cape Peninsula, including the famous Sea Point Contact, where the debate between the plutonists and the neptunists was resolved. Day 2 will be a hike up Table Mountain, weather permitting. While there will be no technical climbing required, this is nevertheless a strenuous hike requiring a moderate level of physical fitness. Day 3 will highlight geological features further up the West Coast, north of Cape Town, and will include the Pliocene vertebrate fossils of the West Coast Fossil Park. Note that the hike on Table Mountain could be changed to either the first or last day; this leg of the excursion is dependent on good weather.

Entrance to Cape Point, the African Penguins at Boulders in Simon's Town, the West Coast National Park and the West Coast Fossil Park and ascending Table Mountain via the Cableway are included.

The Cape Peninsula trip will include a drive to Three Anchor Bay and the Sea Point Contact, hiking down to Clifton 1st Beach to study Early Cretaceous dolerite dykes intrusive into Cape Granite, then a short cruise departing Hout Bay Harbour on the CIRCE tourist-launch to view Cape Granite, overlain by Ordovician sandstones of the Table Mountain Group. From there the drive will continue past Noordhoek Beach, the valley eastwards to Fish Hoek, across the fault-caused Fish Hoek/Noordhoek Valley to Kommetje and above Slangkop Lighthouse to stop between Misty Cliffs and Scarborough to examine raised a Pleistocene boulder beach and cemented talus below cliffs of TMG sandstone of the Peninsula Formation, well exposed in a rare road cutting. We continue to the view site over Smitswinkel Bay's major fault and a vista across False Bay and then south to Cape Point to, preferably, walk up to the Old Lighthouse for a view of rip-currents off Diaz Beach, of the Cape of Good Hope and eastward to Cape Hangklip and Danger Point. The final drive goes along the coast of False Bay to Froggy Pond and then heads north to Glencairn and the final viewsite overlooking the Cape Flats and the Constantia Vineyards and the mountains of the northern Cape Peninsula.

Day 2 – 7 September
GeoHike on Table Mountain led by Dr John Rogers
During the Table Mountain GeoHike we will examine the main rock-types of the Cape Peninsula. The hike begins along the Contour Path above Rhodes Memorial to outcrops of folded silt stones of the Late Proterozoic Malmesbury Group's Tygerberg Formation. We continue beyond Devil's Peak to the lower slopes of Table Mountain, below the summit of Maclear's Beacon, to reach Platteklip Gorge, a major joint, providing access to fit hikers. We then hike along a narrow Contour Path and return eastwards to Platteklip Gorge and a little farther east to Silwerstroom Cave to hunt for trace-fossils of trilobites, as well as linguoid ripple marks near the top of the Graafwater Formation of the Table Mountain Group (TMG). Approaching the Lower Cable Station, the hike passes talus fans below the cliffs of the Western Table, upon which the Upper Cable Station has been constructed. The group will go up Table Mountain via the CableWay to follow narrow tracks along the sub horizontal surface of the Western Table. The group then hikes eastwards to the top of Platteklip Gorge, where there is a short, chained, steep section beside cross-bedded pebbly sandstones of the Peninsula Formation of the TMG. Ascending from the top of the Gorge to the sub horizontal Central and Eastern Table, the group then strikes out for the summit, Maclear's Beacon, atop an outlier of the glaciogenic Pakhuis Formation and then returns to Platteklip Gorge via a glaciogenically folded sandstone bed.

Day 3 – 8 September
West Coast National Park and West Coast Fossil Park led by Professor John Compton
Quaternary coastal environments of the West Coast will take you approximately 100 km north of Cape Town to explore the many different coastal environments along the west coast of South Africa from Table Bay to Langebaan Lagoon. We will see modern beach, rocky headland, salt marsh, lagoon and sand dune environments and compare them with Pleistocene deposits including aeolianite and calcrete. We will visit the West Coast Fossil Park which is located in an old phosphorite mine and includes a spectacularly exposed fossil bone bed around 5 million years old. The depositional environments will be discussed in terms of gradients in coastal energy (waves and wind), sediment supply and sea-level fluctuations on Holocene (10,000 year) and glacial/interglacial (100,000 year) timescales. Excursion is also suitable for non-geologists as there are many interesting plants and birds to view in addition to the sediments and rocks!

Items included:
Lunch packs & beverages
Entrance fees

Dinner is at leisure

Accommodation bookings:
On bed & breakfast basis
5 – 8 September: Breakwater Lodge, Cape Town

Cost: R 8 200 per person

Hikers must be fit and wear appropriate gear, especially boots
No rock hammers please, but hand lens and a camera will be useful
Maximum number of participants: 20
Minimum number of participants: 5




Terms and Conditions:
1.  Participation will be confirmed on receipt of payment.
2.  Preference will be given to registered IMA 2014 delegates.
3.  Cancellations must be received in writing and emailed to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   
4.  Refunds will be granted at the discretion of the organising committee.
5.  Cancellations received before 30 May 2014, will be refunded less a 10% administration fee.
6.  Cancellations received between 31 May and 31 July 2014 will be refunded 50% of the tour price.
7.  No refunds will be issued for cancellations received after 31 July 2014.
8.  In the event that the tour is cancelled by the organisers, a full refund will be issued.
9.  A decision will be made as to whether the tour will go ahead or not by 31 March 2014.
10.  All participants will be required to sign an indemnity form prior to participating in the field trip.
11.  All participants are to take out their own personal insurance cover for general travel insurance, personal liability, medical cover and dangerous activities cover.  A copy of confirmation of insurance must be submitted to the organisers prior to participating in the tour.
12.  The organisers reserve the right to change or cancel the field trip if necessary.