Knud Henrik's diary 19 July 2006: Iringa and Isimila

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Africa revisited



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Last updated 2007.11.21

Today we celebrated Theis' 14th birthday. He was woken up by the fabulous choir of his parents singing a birthday song.

The excursion of the day was to a site called Isimila. The area is interesting for two different reasons, for some very impressive erosion formations and for a vast number of stone age tools.

It is often said that a picture tells a lot more than a thousand words. Nevertheless, the picture to the right tells only a very small part of the story. No single picture would ever be able to make justice. The area was huge and overwhelmingly impressive. The ground is mainly sandstone interspersed with harder volcanic deposits. Erosion has cut away some of the sandstone, but where a particularly hard piece at the top has protected the underlying sandstone a pillar is left. We took no less than 105 pictures of these fascinating structures ...

Just around the corner the erosion has uncovered an area with a great number of stone age tools. 100.000 years ago a lake was found here, where people gathered to hunt the animals coming to drink. Apparently, at number of tool makers have had a business producing stone tools and probably selling them to other people coming here to hunt. Or the hunters themselves made their tools right on the spot. The area is large and the number of stone tools is enormous. On the picture to the right every single stone at our feet is manufactured. Could be a tool maker's display. The stone tools have not been moved, they are laying just as the erosion has uncovered them. And there was a number of collections like this one. And in between there were more manufactured stones, thousands and thousands (not to say millions). Hand axes, spear heads, sling stones, knives, scrapers, hammers. Really impressive.

Back at Iringa we had some birthday ice cream and later a delicious dinner.

Tomorrow we'll head for Ruaha National Park. Check back.

By the way, the weather forecast for Copenhagen says above 30 C for the coming days. Here in Iringa, at an altitude of about 1600 m above sea level, the temperature is below 20 C. Quite a difference from the hot and damp Dar es Salaam. The sun is fierce, but in the shade or when exposed to wind it's rather cold. Going for dinner we all dressed up with long trousers, socks and pullover.

Another thing, we are actually a little worried. On one of the local TV channels they use a map as studio background. The map shows Africa, The Middle East, a part of Asia and Europe. But Denmark is gone. Not the tiniest bit is left. Apparently, while we have been away, Denmark has been eradicated completely... Helloooooo, are you still there???

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