Olduvai or Oldupai Gorge is a palaeoanthropological site located in the Great Rift Valley, between Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. Oldupai is a Maasai word for a wild sisal plant that grows around the area.
Olduvai Gorge is also known as the Cradle of Mankind, it was acclaimed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979. Olduvai Gorge has formed about 300,000 years ago, as the result of aggressive geological activity and streams. It is about 55kilometres in length and up to 100metres deep.
Geologically, tectonic activities including faulting and water actions curved this gorge and exposed layers rich in prehistoric remains. To this end, archaeological and palaeontological collections from this site have contributed significantly to the current understanding of the origin and spread of early human ancestors.
The steep ravine is about 30 miles (48.2 km) long and 295 feet (89.9 meters) deep, not quite large enough to be classified as a canyon. A river cuts through several layers to form four individual beds, with the oldest estimated at about 2 million years old.
From the oldest to the youngest they are
- Bed I about 1.7 million to 2.1 million years old,
- Bed II 1.15 million to 1.7 million years old,
- Bed III 800,000 to 1.15 million years old,
- Bed IV 600,000 to 800,000 years old, t
- The Masek Beds 400,000 to 600,000 years old,
- The Ndutu Beds 32,000 to 400,000 years old,
- And the Naisiusiu Beds 15,000 to 22,000 years old.
Thinking of visiting this area? We have customized tours for visitation, you can either do it with other trips or you can do it alone. Few hours from Ngorongoro crater or Serengeti National park. Discuss with your tour specialist the best option.