Dinosaur tracks fossils occur on the Guest farm Otjihaenamaparero in Namibia. The tracks occur in sandstones of the 190 million years old Etjo Formation. The sands formed these sandstones accumulated under increasingly arid conditions as wind blown dunes similar to the Namib Desert today.
Numerous reptiles lived in the interdune areas, but as the climate became drier, these animals were forced to concentrate near waterholes, small lakes and rivers fed by occasional rainfalls and thunderstorms. Inevitably, their feet left imprints in the wet sediment around the water. Later these imprints were covered by other layers of wind blown sand, and were preserved as trace fossils when the sand solidified into rock due to the pressure that built up as they were buried deeper and deeper.
At Otjihaenamaparero, two crossing tracks consist of more than 30 imprints with a size of approximately 45 by 35 cm. The longer tracks can be followed for about 28 meters. There is a distance of some 70 to 90 cm between individual imprints as well as some tracks comprising smaller imprints of about 7 cm length and spaced about 28 to 33 cm apart
All tracks show the form of a three toed, clawed foot very well, and from their arrangement it can be deducted that they were made by the hind feet of a bipedal animal. Unfortunately, no body fossils of creatures that could be responsible for the tracks have been found in the area so far, and one can therefore only use comparison with other sites for identification.
Worldwide, about 900 dinosaur species are known through the finds of body fossils, however, only a few dozen footprint types have been discovered
From these it can be concluded that the dinosaur who left the footprints at Otjihaenamaparero possibly belonged to the large order of Therapoda, which comprises all the carnivores. Due to the unfavourable changes in climate described above, it can be assumed that the animals became extinct not long after they left their footprints.
There are a number of localities in the Etjo Sandstone that contain dinosaur footprints, however, Otjihaenamaparero is the most impressive one. The site has been declared a National Monument, and the footprints are protected by law.
Age of the Dinosaur tracks is approximately 219 million years.
Big Tracks: Ceratosauria
Small Tracks: Syntarsus
The guest farm offers both camping areas as well as the guest house accommodation. We made use of the camping facilities on the farm, this is a great place to visit if you want peace and quiet, and want just the sounds of the desert.