Olduvai Gorge Travel Blog› entry 7 of 16 › view all entries
From Lake Manyara, the objective was Serengeti National Park. But, there were two important places to see en route, Ngorongo Crater and Olduvai Gorge. Both are part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Between the two national parks (Serengeti and Lake Manyara) provision is made in Ngorongoro for protection of wildlife and their migration paths and for the Maasai people and their traditional herdsman way of life.
The vast Ngorongoro Crater is held to be the largest volacnic crater in the world. It's quiet now, more like a valley with encircling hills. It was intriguing to be able to drive right down into and across the broad flat floor of the crater, the terrain looking more like the flowing savannah outside than a volcano.
I was very excited at the prospect of seeing Olduvai Gorge. I had eagerly read all about the archeological discoveries by Louis and Mary Leaky in National Geographic magazine. A sign at the entrance to the gorge announced the support the National Geographic Society had given to the archeological work undertaken there. Near the entrance a vendor was selling first day covers with the Leakys signatures on them. I did not meet them, but I bought one of the covers and had their autographs! At the gorge, we saw the rocky outcropping where a skull of Paranthropus boisei (Zinjanthropus) was discovered in 1959, a landmark in paleoanthropology.