Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley August 2nd, 2010 • by Matt Holmes The Great Rift Valley Using ‘great’ as the adjective to describe this natural wonder underplays its true size: At a little more than 3,700 miles in length, this fissure in the ground runs north from Mozambique, all the way to Lebanon. The Earth’s surface comprises tectonic plates, which inevitably meet. It’s at these junctions where life is born. Where plates overlap springs molten lava, gushing from fissures at sea through remote island volcanoes. Where plates meet on land, nearby regions are intensely fertile: their sulfur-rich soils supporting life, and attracting animal and human settlers since the earliest of days. As these gigantic shifting structures met, they divided into the Ethiopian and Kenyan rifts, and again into Eastern and Western rifts, around the dense Tanzanian craton. It’s little surprise then that Tanzania is home to such natural beauty as that found on the wild plains of the Serengeti. It is claimed that American hunter, Stewart Edward White was the first westerner to discover this region, and when he did, he said: “We walked for miles over burnt out country… Then I saw the green trees of the river, walked two miles more and found myself in paradise”. Home to an ecosystem that helped support the oldest recorded human existence, Serengeti has long attracted naturalists and explorers. Thankfully, it is a place well protected by UNESCO and is divided into carefully monitored national parks. Also under the watchful eye of conservationists is the Ngorongoro crater, at the Serengeti’s eastern edge. Surrounded by steep mountain walls, this region has evolved in the center of a collapsed volcano and is seemingly boundless in its natural diversity. It’s here the daily struggle for existence between lion and wildebeest, and cheetah and gazelle can be observed. At the same time, on the Serengeti Plain the Maasai tribe continues to herd its cattle, close to the Olduvai Gorge and the cradle of humanity. Tanzania: Migration Safari – Here, everything that is Africa converges in a beautiful display. This Tanzania safari follows the migration of the great herds of the Serengeti from our luxurious tented camps. Join our December, 2010 Charity Event safari for an important opportunity to have your adventure make a positive difference in the lives of the local people. Tanzania: The Best of East Africa – Experience some of the most epic landscapes and wildlife on the planet – the Great Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the vast Serengeti. Tanzania: Beyond the Serengeti – Any Tanzania safari must delve into the rich wildlife of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But this safari also takes you beyond these places, to discover the private Loliondo game reserve and its local Maasai people, and the great elephant herds of Tarangire National Park. About Boundless Journeys Boundless Journeys is an award-winning small group adventure tour operator, selected as one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by National Geographic ADVENTURE, February 2009; and a “World’s Best” tour operator by Travel + Leisure, August 2009. With a diverse collection of locally guided, small group itineraries and Private Collection trips around the world, Boundless Journeys offers “The World’s Great Adventures.” The adventure trips for 2-16 guests are active, ranging from leisurely cultural explorations and wildlife safaris to challenging trekking in remote regions ― with plenty of easy to moderate walking and sea kayaking in between.