August 28, 2003
What I liked best was the trail of fossilised footprints which were left in wet volcanic ash by two adults and one child. They date back 3.75 million years and were found in Laetoli 40 km south of Olduvai in north Tanzania near the Serengeti plains. This was a very important discovery as it proved that men was walking upright way before anyone had imaged. These human beings were 100-150 cm tall and weighed up to 50 kg. There is also a skull on display, quite small, very much like a chimpanzee, but with different teeth. The footsteps in Laetoli have been covered up again. What is displayed in the museum is a plaster cast.
Another exhibit I liked very much was a bicycle made entirely of wood. And its wheels really turned.
The Marine Biology Hall contained a large collection of seashells all labelled. I collect them myself and could now see their names. Most of them were the same as I had found in Indonesia. After all it’s the Indian ocean which is in between Indonesia and Africa so no wonder that the shells were similar.
In the History Room there is a tiny fragment of moon rock from the Apollo mission and the original Uhuru torch which was planted on top of Kilimanjaro on 9 December 1961.
There was a temporary display of black and white photos in the entrance hall all depicting ordinary people and street life. Nyerere’s mercedes was also on display a bit dusty but apparently in full working order.
We went across the road to the botanical gardens and walked in the shade of the trees. This garden is reasonably well-tended and dates back to German times. A pleasant place to spend some time.
From journal Dar es Salaam