Olduvai Gorge (Oldupai Gorge) is named after the wild sisal in the area. It is the site of some of the most important fossil hominid finds of all time by Louis and Mary Leakey - "The Nutcracker Man" or Australopithecus boisei who lived 1.75 million years ago.
Leaving the Ngorongoro crater rim to Olduvai Gorge entrance and museum is 30km on the road towards Serengeti. Half way along this stretch, a Maasai show village may be visited at a reasonable fee which permits photography and sees how Maasai live in this area. The museum at Olduvai provides an excellent photographic history of research carried out in the Gorge with a summary of the main archeological findings. The importance of the area relates as much to it's location as the way strata of the ash and other deposits have been layered then conveniently exposed during the formation of the Gorge itself.
Louis Lake was the first of the Leaky family to visit the area in the early 1920s. His trip was funded by the British Museum in which his role was that of research assistant. Subsequently his family have became associated with pre-historic archeological research throughout East Africa. Outstanding discoveries include that the famous footprints of family of hominids dating back 3.5 miliion year by Mary Leaky.
A nominal fee is charged to visit the museum and it is possible to hire a guide for another nominal fee to take you into a Gorge for a walking tour. The gorge is fairly extensive and attractive cutting through the plains and it's possible to spend a day exploring it but do not expect to see many archeological finds, which can however be seen in the museum.