Olduvai Gorge is on the Serengeti’s eastern plains and physically in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The site is strangely eerie as befits its ancient status. Here in 1959, Mary Leakey uncovered the skull of Zinjathropus or the “Nutcracker Man”.
The first European to have seen the Olduvai Gorge was a German butterfly collector, Professor Wilhelm Kattwinkle. In his notes in 1911, he described Olduvai as containing “the book of life” and he took back to Berlin a considerable number of fossils including the teeth of an extinct three-toed horse known as Hipparion.
Twenty-five miles to the southwest of Olduvai are the 3.6 million-year-old Laetoli footprints, the earliest our forebears are known to have left.
Today the Maasai people live and herd their livestock in the area they call Oldupai after the endemic sisal that grows wild in the area. “Ol” means place and “dupai” means sisal