Chirundu Fossil Forest (Family Vacation Part 3)


Modern-day Ian, 150 million year-old tree.

After leaving Livingstone, we drove back north to Lusaka, but on the way we took a little detour (it was a big detour) to see the Chirundu Fossil Forest. This was a spot I had been wanting to go to but I have no reason to ever go to this corner of the country (it’s on the Kariba road, a good chunk off the main road to Lusaka). So when I had the opportunity to manipulate my brother to dragging the whole family to the Chirundu Fossil Forest, I took it.


Little baby goats!

The place takes a bit of finding. It is right on the tarmac but is only marked by a small sign on the right side of the road as you are heading to Kariba. Like a lot of sites in Zambia, this site is pretty amazing to me because it is the ancient fossilized forest and people are just living there. Like, I saw people using some of the fossils to decorate their front yard. There were little goats playing on ancient logs. It was cute.


Once you find the marker you’re pretty free to wander around. I think there is nominally an entry fee but no one came to collect it, though a villager came to greet us. If you ask they’ll show you some of the bigger logs. You start to question which of the logs laying around are ancient and which are modern; the fossilized logs are so well preserved that you can see all the features of the tree rings. The logs all look like they just fell over maybe a month ago, not eons ago.

Since it was late in the day though and my dad and uncle didn’t really like driving at night, we looked around and hustled on out of there so we could make it back to Lusaka.