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The Wonders the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania

The Rift Valley is a literal 6,000 mile long crack in the earth's crust, stretching from Lebanon to Mozambique. One of its most dramatic sections slices through East Africa. In northern Tanzania rising up dramatically from the floors of the Rift Valley, are the Crater Highlands; a lush chain of mountains and volcanoes that includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the surrounding Masaai tribal lands.

The hiking safari is becoming increasingly popular in this area - starting out from the Ngorongoro Crater and ending at Tanzania's only active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai. This area offers some of the most spectacular and stunning scenery in East Africa. Exploring this little-visited wilderness is the hiking adventure of a lifetime.

The trip can be broken into smaller sections, however, the full experience of walking through the varied landscapes of the highlands is really not to be missed.The Rift Valley has produced the volcanic Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, as well as the deep lakes, Victoria and Tanganyika. There are numerous areas along the rift valley in Tanzania that have boiling hot springs as a direct result of the volcanic activity. The rift also formed a series of shallow soda lakes in Tanzania ? the more well known are in Arusha National Park and also close to the Kenyan border is Lake Natron ? these lakes are known to attract thousands of flamingoes and pelicans.The Rift Valley System has been a great source of archaeological and anthropological discovery, particularly evident at Olduvai Gorge. The gorge is an archaeological site located in the eastern Serengeti Plains.

The gorge is a very steep sided ravine. It features are reported to hold the remains of the earliest human beings, who were discovered by Dr. Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey in the earlier part of the 20th century.

Commonly, Olduvai Gorge is called the Cradle of Mankind - as it is said to be the place where humanity first appeared. The land is now semi-desert, but thousands of years ago it was a lush forest.In the remote west of Tanzania is Gombe Stream which lies at the northern end of Lake Tanganyika. The parks forested mountain slopes, which help define the Great Rift Valley, are home to the chimpanzees that Jane Goodall studies. Jane Goodall has invested more time studying Gombe Stream's chimp population than anyone alive ? and although access to this area is difficult every there is a tourist industry here. The area has no roads and it is quite inaccessible to vehicles.

Therefore boat taxis, along the Lake Tanganyika, is the only way of gaining entrance to the park. The sandy beaches and rugged hills of Gombe Stream National Park have a beauty unique to this place. Although it is a park without roads, this allows you to walk and experience nature with all your senses. It is Tanzania's smallest park, but you could spend years exploring its forests before seeing all of its wonders.


For more information on any of these subjects visit

uk and also for tourism and cultural issues see ? Using tourism to change lives.

By: Ian Williamson

Las Vegas

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