The Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre depicts the setting in the area around Nieu Bethesda 253 million years ago during the Permian Period. The centre showcases fossils found both in Nieu Bethesda and in other places in South Africa. These date to a time 50 million years before the age of dinosaurs when the continents were merged in a supercontinent called Pangea.
A visit to the centre facilitates a journey back in time to a world of unfamiliar plants and animals. There are life-size models of prehistoric animals that roamed the area and illustrations of the landscape without grasses, flowers, mammals and birds. This was the time when mammal ancestors called Therapsids were the dominant species on earth.
The Centre has displays on some of the latest fossil finds, such as Homo naledi and Australopihecus sediba. One can also see a demonstration of the method used to extract fossils, a process called fossil preparation.
Children and the young at heart can dig in a fossil sand pit and climb on the reconstructions of prehistoric beasts in the garden. Visitors can also experience a short guided tour to nearby fossil-bearing rocks.