A journey into the past: dinosaur footprints

Wayne loves Black Forest Cake and because we had remembered that, we quickly drove by Pick n Pay in Kariba after crossing the border and bought a small cake as a surprise. After our arrival at Warthogs Bush Camp, the disillusionment was great, because Wayne and Louisa were at home with a guest and not in camp. We stowed the cake in the camp’s own fridge, relaxed and went to bed early. The next morning the joy was great. The cake was eaten and we talked about our experiences in Zambia. Wayne took the opportunity to offer us to drive together to Chewore Safari Area so we could finally inspect the 180 million year old dinosaur footprints live. The two of them had wanted to show us this specialty for some time.

Promotion for Zimbabwe!

We could not refrain from advertising Zimbabwe wherever possible. In several cases this was crowned with success and travelers changed their plans. This was also the case with Heiko and Karin, whom we had met in Zambia at Lukasa. Completely unexpected for us, they showed up at Warthogs and the joy was great! Wayne and Louisa invited them to join us and so the six of us set off to explore the region in the Chewore Safari Area and dive into times long past. 

Chewore Safari Area

An old friend of Wayne’s has leased an area in the Chewore Safari Area and runs a hunting farm there. The footprints are on his property. In Zimbabwe, it is the case that the trails are public. Since the season was now over, we were given permission to use the camp as a base for our excursions. Six of us drove into camp, Wayne and Louisa using their old Land Rover Series IIa, converted into a game vehicle, and settled in. Together we now made the excursions in the series, let us swing through and were amazed when we got to see a fossilized pterosaur on the first day. We both had rather less contact with fossils so far and it is already a special feeling to touch such old, fossilized bones.

To the dinosaurs

To go to the dinosaurs, it is mandatory to take a ranger. We drove to the station of National Parks, loaded up the staff, and headed to the footprints.  After a 30-minute drive, we walked for about 15 minutes over hill and dale, and suddenly we were standing in a riverbed. In front of us prints were revealed in the stone of the riverbed. It took us a while to grasp the situation, but then a story revealed itself. The footprints of Coelophysis Rhodesiensis were suddenly everywhere. 5, 7, no, 10 and more prints in a row. This dinosaur walked and besides the big prints, about 40 cm, also smaller ones of young animals showed up. The riverbed was surrounded by a lateral border, which consisted of hundreds of small, thin dried mud layers. Some footprints protruded from these boundaries and were half visible. I wonder what else lies hidden underneath? 

The trip into the past ends

We can not answer the question, but we can say that we were already very impressed. If we now take into account that only a few hundred people have visited these places – there are a total of seven places with imprints in the area – we feel very honored. Wayne and Louisa would like to set up a camp in the area and make it possible for a wider audience to visit. They can be assured of our support. After two nights at the hunting camp, we left the region for Kariba. On the way we visited another gigantic baobab and then drove back to Kariba. After another night at Warthogs we left towards Bulawayo and decided to stay in Zimbabwe for a while. We will report on our Christmas experiences in the next post.

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