Last friday, we woke up before the sun rose, to start a boy's trip back in time, tracking dinosaur footprints in the Mana-Angwa bush.
A couple of months ago Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe organized a conference about zimbabwe's dinosaurs, which was very interesting, even if it was difficult to understand clearly if these dinos were truly indegenous zimbabweans or just Gondawa's colonial settlers. I guess the ministry of indegenesation is working on that one. At the end they might just benefit from the greek status.
The speaker, Dr Ali, passionatly spoke about how people (including him) found exceptional signs of dinos in the country, including skelettons and footprints. I am going to zap on the technicalities of the types of sauropods, teropods and layers of rocks in which they were found. At the end I found out that there was an excursion organized to go find and see some of the bones and footprints.
5 to 7 hours drive from Harare, four days camping in the middle of nowhere, in National Parks, under the leadership of a flamboyant geologist, tracking footprints of animals who disapeared millions of years ago. Really cool.
So my mate Rob and his boys joined in with me and Seb and a dozen other curious good people.
And the trip was really worth it! It was incredible to see those prints, set in sandstone in the riverbed as if the beasts have wandered there yesterday.
Bordering the stone formations were the sauriens prints were, we could see, fresh in the sand and mud, hundreds of tracks of elephants, kudus, hyenas and other animals so we could really visualize the dinos walking, as if we just missed them a minute before.
Ali explained how these were formed, with tons of great 12+letter words such as sedimentation, jurrassic and mineralization, giving small details that really made us see and imagine the surroundings, 200 millions years ago!
The fact that the prints are in the middle of the bush, in an actual river bed added to the magic.
It was really impressive, very visual. There were tracks from the teropod type of dinos (like the T-rex and allosaurus) and enormous sauropods ones too (the brontosaurus type).
And as a bonus, the walk and country were spectacular, we got to see a petrified forrest, the stars under the moonless sky were incredible, and the company was excellent.
I have to admit that my cooking has been better, but hey!
Oh, and we managed to keep beers cold until the end. That's more than a bonus: its a skill, a talent and it makes the difference between life and good life.
And we did not get mauled by a lion (althought the kids are still persuaded that a leopard tried to get into their tent whilst we were socializing around the camp fire).
And they all got to drive the landie, which is quite a great experience when you are 12, mwhahaha.
the only thing missing was a group of friendly swedish lingerie models,
my lovely wife