|Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
|In the parking lot, our guide told us to look down at our feet. Dozens of dung beetles were rolling balls of dung around. It was amusing to watch.
The dung beetles are quite large, and it turns out they can fly. We didn’t find that quite so amusing since they kept blundering into our van
over the next few hours. They would whack into us or into a seat cushion, then lie upside down on the van floor, wiggling their legs feebly,
unable to get righted. We kept whisking them out the door. These are the things they don’t tell you in the glossy safari brochures!
|Welcome to the seat of humanity! This is where it all began -- which makes it one of the most important prehistoric
sites in the world. Shown above is a cast of the Australopithecus skull Mary Leakey discovered here in the 1950s.
|Homo habilis bones, a mere 1½ million years old, are also
on display, as are tools used by our Stone Age ancestors
|Once past the crater, the landscape turns to rolling, treeless savannah. Our guide told us the lack of
trees is due to the hardpan (volcanic layer) close to the surface, which tree roots can't penetrate.
|Located within the boundaries of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, it's easy to
visit this place on your way between the crater and Serengeti National Park
|A closeup of one of the Laotoli footprints shows just
how human our ancient hominid ancestors were
|The museum at Olduvai Gorge includes a cast of the famous Laetoli footprints