Chewore Safari Area, Dinosaur Footprint Sites

Chewore Safari Area, Dinosaur Footprint Sites

The Chewore South Safari area is located in the Lower Zambezi Valley. The Ntumbe River dinosaur footprints sites are found in the Southern part of the Chewore Safari.


Why Visit

  • These dinosaur trackways provide a fascinating insight into our geological past.
  • Visit with responsible experts who can provide interpretation and information such as the Geological Society of Zimbabwe, or NMMZ.

Dinosaur trackways

The Geological Society of Zimbabwe and guests stayed at African Hunters Mana Angwa camp in Chewore South Safari Area situated on the Angwa River in the lower Zambezi Valley at 16⁰13′45.93″S 30⁰05′47.26″E and operated by Adrian Read. These dinosaur footprint sites are seldom visited except by small parties of visitors in the company of an experienced and armed professional guide and ZPWA armed game scouts.

The process that resulted in the trackways being fossilised and preserved began with the deposit of fine-grained sands in fairly stationary inland waterways or swamps. The waters dried up leaving distinct ripple marks and desiccation cracks which are visible today and during this period the Allosaurus and Brachiosaurus dinosaurs walked over the drying mud and left their prints. The prints hardened rapidly in the intense heat of the late Jurassic / beginning of the Cretaceous period about 160 million years ago and mud filled in the prints. Further sedimentation took place over millions of years until recent times when river erosion exposed the original trackways.

Site 1 was discovered in 1984 by an Australian hunter and Tim Broderick, then of the Geological Survey of Zimbabwe on first inspection confirmed that the tracks emerge from the north bank of the Ntumbe River in a straight-line of 14 footprints before disappearing beneath the riverbed sand.


Geology

The Ntumbe River locality lies near the western boundary of the Karoo and post Karoo rifted Lower Zambezi Basin. Dinosaur footprints are found within strata of the post‐Karoo Dande Sandstone Formation, Early Jurassic to mid‐Cretaceous in age (Oesterlen and Millsteed, 1994). Broderick (1984) and later Lingham‐Soliar and Broderick (2000) suggested a position immediately above the upper boundary of the Upper Karoo Forest Sandstone Formation "near" the Triassic‐ Jurassic boundary. The geological map of the area (Oesterlen, 1998) shows that all sites occur  about 500 m (in rock thickness) above that boundary, following a succession of conglomerate and red to maroon, medium‐grained, cross‐bedded sandstones, informally called “Chenje Beds” (Broderick, 1990). Zimbabwe Scenic Sites