Plains to Crater

Ngorongoro Crater Travel Blog

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Driving to Ngorongoro today we stop to visit the remarkable setting of Olduvai Gorge, where in 1959, anthropologists Dr and Mrs Leakey discovered the remains of an almost intact human skull that was eventually discovered to be 1.75 million years old. Named ‘Nutcracker Man’ on account of its powerful jaw, this incredible discovery proved to be an important milestone in the search for human evolution, only being eclipsed when even older finds were later made in Ethiopia and Laetoli. Accompanied by a local guide we visit Olduvai Gorge Visitor Centre and Museum overlooking the gorge itself, to learn something more of this fascinating discovery.

Our journey today affords an opportunity to enjoy more game viewing as we depart the Serengeti, and also offers a chance to view several Maasai settlements along the route.

To the south east of Olduvai Gorge lies the huge bowl-like crater of Ngorongoro, a spectacular almost circular depression with a diameter of some 19 kilometres that lies amidst Tanzania’s Crater Highlands.  

Technically classed as a caldera, the crater owes its existence to the violent fracturing of the Rift Valley over a period of some 25 million years. At one time a volcano occupied this spot, until it became extinct and finally collapsed into the empty magma chamber below, leaving only the gigantic natural basin that we see today.  

This incredible natural amphitheatre presents us with the perfect setting for some remarkable game viewing and an ideal spot from which the sun setting over the African plains.We come prepared for a cold night under canvas tonight. 

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Ngorongoro Crater
photo by: skippyed