The Great Rift Valley is a long depression in the earth formed by tectonic activity. It runs all the way from Syria in the Middle East right down to Mozambique. Our project in the Great Rift Valley is in the southern part of the rift - we are working in the crater lakes in southern Tanzania and in Lake Malawi. The Great Rift Valley formed around 25 million years ago as the earth's crust weakened and began tearing apart. This caused many eruptions and earthquakes, with volcanic mountains forming either side of the rift, and the valley floor sinking lower to form wide flat plains. This provides a unique landscape of mountains, plains and lakes which is home to some of the most famous wildlife in Africa. The Great Rift Valley is also home to some of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world; the many fossils of early human ancestors that have been uncovered here have led to the long held view that this area was the origin of modern humans.


Research Expeditions

School Expeditions

Related Locations

  • Nkhata Bay, Lake Malawi

    For the second part of your expedition you are based in Nkhata Bay. To get here from Kisiba you spend a full day travelling by bus (the whole journey takes around 12 hours including stops). One bus takes you to the Songwe border between Tanzania ...

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  • Liwonde Safari Camp

    The final part of the expedition (2 nights and one full day) is spent in Liwonde. The journey here from Nkhata Bay takes around 10 hours by bus, so you arrive for your first night just as the sun is setting. The camp is inside the ...

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  • Kisiba Secondary School

    This is the base for the first part of the expedition. You fly into Mbeya airport and are taken by bus to Kisiba which takes around 4 hours. The school overlooks one of the crater lakes in a very rural part of Tanzania and provides ...

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  • Tanzania

    Tanzania is a large East African country with a population of around 55 million. The country is formed from the former British colonies of Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania) and Zanzibar - an offshore archipelago of islands. Tanganyika was proclaimed an independent nation in 1961, and Zanzibar was ...

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  • Malawi

    Malawi is a small country with a population of around 16 million. The national language is Chichewa although English is also an official language and is widely spoken. The country's topography is defined by highlands split by the Great Rift Valley, and of course Lake ...

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