Altitude: 1400 m.a.m.s.l.
Where famous archaeological findings were made such as the Laetoli footprints, and the remains of the earliest hominid (man). It is a steep sided valley that is part of the east African rift valley (Gregory rift), and inside the Ngorongoro conservation area
Olduvai or Oldupai gorge is named after a native aloe vera like herbaceous plant which grow abundantly inside it, and is thought to be over 2 million years old, making it one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world.
It is about 48 km long and bears the Oldupai river that caries water from lake Masek
near the south-western border of Ngorongoro conservation area to Olbalbal swamp near Olmoti crater
. At about its midpoint, it is joined by another smaller river gorge - and the two are coined 'big' and 'small' Olduvai gorges respectively by the locals.What to do there
Explore the vast area - you probably would need a whole day to cover the gorge and other sites near it. There are several view points, bridges, and sites where the actual discoveries were made - along with the Olduvai gorge museum
. Arranging for accommodation in the area would be a good idea as it would mean less time on the road and more time to explore.
If you still have time at the end of the day, then there are other areas up north - such as the Nasera rock
, the shifting sands
and the bore hole.Best time to visit
Any time of the year.Location of Olduvai gorge
The Olduvai gorge stretches from Lake Masek in the eastern border of the conservation area to Olbalbal swamp near Olmoti and the western border of the conservation area. It is one of the features that are encountered when on the road from Ngorongoro crater
to the border with Serengeti national park
. For more information on its location, please see the map below.How to get there
By vehicle from any point in the conservation area. As it is inside the conservation area, you would need to pay for permits before heading into it.(see the NCAA website
for more info)