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The Oldupai Museum – Home to the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania

The Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site of world importance located in Tanzania. It is situated in the Serengeti Eastern plains within the famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Northern Tanzania.

Oldupai is a Masai word which means “the wild sisal plant”. Some people however call this the Olduvai. This is the most famous archeological site in the East African region. It is top spot for mostly the research travelers. The Gorge is located about 40 kilometers north western of the Ngorongoro crater in the Ngorongoro conservation area. The gorge is about 90 meters deep.

It was designated as a UNESCO World heritage site (1979) because it is believed that the remains of early man (the first humans to walk on earth) were found here.

Erosion that spanned for millions of years led to the creation of the 100 meters’ deep gorge. It is over 30 miles long and approximately 48 km in width.

The backbreaking excavations and findings of Louis and Mary Leaky in the 1930’s attracted international attention to the gorge. But years before that, the gorge had been discovered by other archeologists / geologists; Wilhelm Kattwinkel (fossil bones of an extinct horse) and Hans Reck (hominin remains).

Oldupai Gorge in Ngorongoro

The Leakey’s unearthed:

  • Zinjanthropus skull
  • Homo habilis remains
  • Homo erectus
  • Hominim remains
  • Artefacts like hand axes and choppers

Olduvai Gorge also known as “Oldupai” (a Maasai word which means “the place of the wild sisal”) still attracts many tourists, travelers and historians from around the world. The site can be visited all year round.

This area has been a very instrumental area in the research on the evolution of humans. Some people actually refer to this place as the “Cradle of Mankind”. This area is the shadow of the Ngorongoro is and receives very low amounts of rain thus being the driest area of the Ngorongoro conservation area.

The oldest human remains were discovered here and therefore researchers believe this place has an important place to play in the evolution and research about Humans. This place was first opened to the European world by a germ butterfly collector and professor in 1911. The Collector was called Professor Wilhelm Kattwinkle.

You can also visit the Olduvai Gorge Museum located just at the rim of the gorge, where you can get more information about the significance of the site in human history and evolution.  There are exhibitions of different artifacts, charts and maps.

Olduvai Gorge still helps in shaping our understanding of human history and origins.

About the Ngorongoro Crater

There’s no need to search much farther than the Ngorongoro conservation area to find one of Tanzania and Africa’s most renowned locations.

Located within this Ngorongoro conservation area is the world’s largest crater lake, Ngorongoro Crater. About two million years ago, this crater formed. About 2,000 square kilometers make up the estimated depth of the crater. Undoubtedly, it is among the most memorable experiences of the trip to the Ngorongoro crater.

In addition to the Crater and the oldest ruins, there are numerous more attractions. There are over 25,000 different animal species in the Ngorongoro conservation area. For the purpose of giving birth, nearly 1.7 million wildebeests migrate onto the ndutu plains during the wet seasons. Around 470,000 gazelles and more than 260,000 zebras will give birth in this same season and region.

You can witness the massive African tusked elephant and the critically endangered black rhinoceros at the Ngorongoro conservation region. African wild dogs, golden African dogs, caracals, servals, spotted hyenas, lions, cheetahs, leopards, and other wild cats can also be seen in the area. Throughout the Ngorongoro conservation area, there are approximately 500 known bird species. Ostriches and Kori bustards are two of the unique species. Due of the abundance of animals that they can prey on, cats are drawn to this area.


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