Tanzania Highlights

The Olduvai Gorge


Olduvai Gorge, located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area en route from Ngorongoro Crater to Serengeti Parkk, is believed to be the site where man originated and is where some of his earliest remains were uncovered. A German entomologist supposedly stumbled across the remains while on an outing searching for butterflies! The German government was unable to fund the excavation project due to the eruption of the Second World War and these funds were subsequently diverted toward the war effort. Years later, the Olduvai Gorge was returned to the spotlight following excavations carried out at the site by the Leakey family. This remote spot has become famous as the archaeological site where Dr Mary Leakey in 1959 discovered Australopithecus Boisei dated 1.5 million years ago. A small, but extremely informative museum overlooking the gorge displays some of the skulls, bones and tools of the prehistoric man found in the gorge, including a large collection of animal fossils, which indicate the shape and size of today's animals two million years ago. Some of the animal remains include bones of such creatures as a prehistoric elephant and giraffe, an enormous ostrich and giant horned sheep. The erosion of the land by the seemingly tame Ol Duvai River continues to reveal important fossils that are aiding archaeologists and palaeontologists to develop a better understanding of the origins of modem man and the creatures that inhabited this part of the world, particularly at Olduvai Gorge and at Laetoli.