Engaruka Ruins in Arusha

Engaruka is located to the north of Mto wa Mbu, at about 63 kilometers, towards the road to Oldonyo Lengai and Lake Natron. These ruins are lying at the foot of the rift valley escarpment.

Engaruka is an abandoned system of ruins in the Great Rift Valley in northern Tanzania that is famous for its irrigation and cultivation system. It is considered one of the most important Tanzanian archaeological sites.

Sometime in the 15th century, an Iron Age farmer community with a large continuous village area on the foot slopes of the Rift Valley escarpment, housing several thousand people had involved in irrigation and cultivation system, involving a stone-block canal channeling water from the “Crater Highlands” or a wide steep slope to stone lined cultivation terraces.

The first explorer to record the existence of these ruins was Dr. Gustav Fischer, who passed them on July 5, 1883, and compared them to the tumbled-down walls of ancient castles. Drs Scoeller and Kaiser mentioned the ruins of “Ngaruku” including great stone circles and dams in 1896-97. The first detailed and archaeological investigation was by Hans Reck, in 1913. Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey investigated the site in 1935, but were disappointed by the lack of burial sites.