Popular Experiences

Manyara – Mto wa Mbu Culture

Manyara – Mto wa Mbu Culture is one of the first cultural tourism sites developed by TTB and SNV. Situated on the foot of the Great Rift Valley bordering Lake Manyara National Park, straddling the famous Arusha / Serengeti route, 120kms and 60kms from Arusha and Ngorongoro respectively, Mto wa Mbu is one of the most popular cultural tour sites in Tanzania. Following the setting up of irrigation systems in the early 1950s, the area rapidly developed into a small town attracting a new wave of tribes from all over the country, each with its own cultural background. Nowhere else in Tanzania have so many different tribes settled in such a small area.
Choose from a walk through the farms and green oasis on the foot of the Rift Valley; a climb to Balala Hill; a view into the culture of the many tribes living in the area; a trip to Miwaleni Lake and waterfall where there is an abundance of papyrus; visits to development projects that aim to improve agriculture and start income-generating activities for local farmers.

The Mto wa Mbu tour is a village walk, designed to provide guests with an experience of the rich cultural heritage in Tanzania, albeit in a short time of half a day or one full day. The varied produces, handicrafts and activities that can be seen on the market place and in the village farms and lifestyle is an illustration of this cultural diversity. Visitors may see Chagga people from the slopes of the Kilimanjaro brew their famous banana beer, mbege, and learn why out of more than 30 varieties of bananas cultivated here only two species are suitable for producing the drink; meet a farmer from Kigoma extract palm oil from palm trees that he brought from the shores of Lake Tanganyika; appreciate the Sandawe with their fascinating click language, similar to the Khoisan of the Kalahari Desert, making bows & arrows for hunting; interact with the Rangi from Kondoa using the papyrus from the lakes and rivers for weaving beautiful mats and baskets.

Visit the Mbugwe people from Manyara Region who will show you how they grind different grains to obtain flour using a traditional millstone; join the local people of Mto wa Mbu and learn how they construct mud huts, typical housing for most tribes around the area. You will be shown how to mix mud, rice husks and cow dung to obtain the right mud stuff for strong walls, and how local people roof their huts using dry banana barks and leaves.

Learn about traditional iron smelting technology, one of the oldest in Africa. The local people will show you how to make different tools like spears, knives, arrows. Learn from the local women how pots and dishes are made from clay soil and baked to make them hard. On the surrounding plains and woodlands to the north, east and south live native Maasai families in their traditional bomas (homesteads) while the warriors wander with their cattle looking for pastures and water.
Mto wa Mbu village walk is one of the best selling cultural tours with us. For flawless organisation it is best if the tour is reserved in advance together with the main program.