The new museum at Olduvai Gorge

By | Category: Travel destinations

Olduvai Gorge © Tanzania Tourist Board

On Tuesday, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, officially opened the new museum at Olduvai Gorge at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Arusha.

Opening in 1970, the old museum (which remains nearby) had become too small to cope with the growing number of tourists that visited. The tourism authority estimated that, of the 600,000 visitors who came each year to the conservation area, about 90,000 of them would visit the old museum, a museum that was capable of handling maybe a hundred on a busy day but no more and certainly not thousands. About 1.2 million people visit Tanzania each year so half go to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Around 75,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year.

The new museum is part of deliberate measures taken and aimed to promote the archaeological sites as among the major tourists’ attractions in the world acclaimed Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is part of a bigger project to upgrade early sites of man in the area in order to attract more visitors including the Laetoli footprints and a geopark project. Laetoli, is about sixty kilometres from Olduvai,is the home of the 4 million old footprints of human ancestors that was discovered in 1976 and visitors tend to visit both as part of a tour.

Olduvai, however, is the star for increased tourism. The name is known by school children around the world as the start learning about early man and the revelations by Mary and Louis Leakey in 1959 changed the way we thought about our distant ancestors.

The surprise over the years is how few people visited the small museum but in the twenty-first century as tourism increased more and more people came, hence the need for a larger museum and more modern facilities to explain the importance and significance of the area.

At least some Sh. 1.9 billion (about £23.5 million) was generated at Olduvai from tourism for the current financial year and economists in the government forecast that, over five years, revenue could grow eight fold.

Prof Jumanne Maghembe, the tourism minister, and the ministry ministry has been tasked  to ensure that the museum is advertised across the world so expect your travel agent to publicise Tanzania for holidays over the winter and in 2018.

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