ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF
ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF

What are you looking for?

ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF
ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF
Hello traveller!

It's in Cape Town now.

We're sorry. Our safari planners aren't available now. Our office hours are 08:00 - 19:00 (GMT+2).

Call us to speak to an experienced safari planner.


Alternatively, we recommend...

travel-form-icon

Complete our travel enquiry form to connect with a safari planner

ENQUIRE TODAY
Email us
(optional)

Oldupai Gorge

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

View Photos

Oldupai Gorge

Team Member Headshot

By Andre Van Kets

Co-founder, Discover Africa

Safari Enquiry

serval pouncing ngorongoro tanzania safari

Two million years ago, the landscape of Ngorongoro Conservation Area looked very different to how it does today. Ngorongoro itself would have been an active volcano, taller perhaps than Kilimanjaro is now, and the seasonally parched plains at its western base were partially submerged beneath a seasonal lake that formed an important watering hole for our hominid ancestors. The fluctuating nature of this ancient lake led to a high level of stratification, one that accentuated by sporadic deposits of volcanic ash from Crater Highlands, creating ideal conditions for the fossilisation. Then, tens of thousands of years ago, fresh tectonic activity caused the land to tilt, leading to the formation of a new lake to the east and the creation of a seasonal river that cut through the former lakebed to expose layers of stratification up to 100m deep and a continuous archaeological and fossil record of life on the plains over the past two million years. Named after the Maasai word for the wild sisal that grows in the area, Oldupai Gorge is one of the richest palaeontological sites in East Africa. First excavated in 1931 by Professor Louis Leakey, it was here, in 1959, that Louis’s wife Mary Leakey unearthed a critical landmark in the history of palaeontology: the discovery of a fossilised cranium that provided the first conclusive evidence that hominid evolution stretched back over more than a million years and had been enacted on the plains of East Africa. Nicknamed ‘Nutcracker Man’ in reference to its bulky jawbone, the cranium belonged to a robust Australopithecine that had lived and died on the ancient lakeshore around 1.75 million years earlier, and while its antiquity would later be superseded by more ancient fossils unearthed in Ethiopia and Kenya, it rewrote the perceived timespan of human evolution, shot the Leakeys’ work to international prominence, and led to an a series of exciting new discoveries, including the first fossilised remains of Homo habilis. At nearby Laetoli, in 1976, four years after Louis’s death, Mary Leakey discovered footprints created more than three million years ago by a party of early hominids that had walked through a bed of freshly deposited volcanic ash – still the most ancient hominid footprints ever found.

oh5 nutcracker man ngorongoro tanzania safari

Today, the original diggings can be explored with a guide, but the main attraction is an excellent site museum that lies a short distance off the main track connecting Ngorongoro Crater to Serengeti National Park. Displays include replicas of some of the more interesting hominid fossils unearthed at the site as well as the Laetoli footprints, along with genuine fossils of a menagerie of extinct oddities: a short-necked giraffe, a giant swine, an aquatic elephant and a bizarre antelope with long de-curved horns. Outside the museum, look out for colourful dry-country birds such as red-and-yellow barbet and purple grenadier.

How it Works

2

Contact us or fill out an enquiry form and one of our travel experts will help you tailor make your perfect safari

3

Enjoy an authentic African experience.

Travel with Confidence

With over 20 years of experience, our team will help you tailor your itinerary to your perfect adventure.
24/7 Support
Flexible
Authentic
Personalized

What Our Guests Have to Say?

Read recent reviews from travellers who have planned and booked their trips with us
Excellent Kenya/Masai Mara Vacation

6 Days in Tanzania & Kenya Holiday Review

Zack, United States
13 Jan 2024
Our tour consultant Susan was fabulous - put together a great itinerary...

13 Day Safari to Victoria Falls & Botswana Review

Peggy, United States
24 Aug 2023
Adelle is super friendly, understanding, and takes the accommodation bar to the...

An Authentic Honeymoon Experience

Tate, United States
22 Oct 2022
First rate experience through Botswana,Zimbabwe & South Africa.

Botswana, Zimbabwe & South Africa Review

Anne, United States
25 Jun 2022
Amazingly responsive, flexible, and attentive to our requests and interests!

Dream Safari Review

Jeff, United States
27 Oct 2021
Fantastic safari, excellent logistics and service for a fair price.

A Ngorongoro Safari Review

Francisco, United States
05 Jul 2018

Ready to plan your tailor-made safari?

Diane Du Plessis, Safari Travel Planner

Free safari planning advice from destination experts

Help me plan