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*All distances listed are as the crow flies, and not actual travel distances.
In operation for close on 100 years, the East London Museum is a treasure trove of finds collected over the years. The museum has three prominent items on display; that of the world’s oldest footprint, the first coelacanth ever discovered and possibly the only dodo egg still in existence. The fossilised human footprint was found on East London’s Nahoon beach and estimated to be 124000 years old while the coelacanth was deemed extinct until a ship captain, fishing along the East London coastline, called in to the museum in 1938 to report a strange catch. In amongst his nets was a coelacanth and the discovery caused a worldwide sensation; however, living coelacanths have since been located in other parts of the world. The flightless dodo bird, once endemic only to the island of Mauritius, is most definitely extinct, partly due to its trusting nature (it had no natural enemies) and through relentless hunting by man.
Another fascinating item on display is a living beehive, over 50 years old and still occupied by bees. The museum houses a number of natural history galleries consisting of mammal, bird and reptile collections along with a series of fossils.
The human history section takes the visitor through the Xhosa culture and the stories of German settlers who arrived in the area in the early 1800s. There is a fascinating display of Venetian trade beads found on the African continent.
The museum also celebrates the dolos, an invention created by a local East London engineer in 1963. The dolos is placed along harbour walls to break up stormy waves. The geometric design of the dolos is such that it absorbs and dissipates wave energy.
The East London Museum is open Monday and Friday, 9h30 to 16h00 and closed on weekends.