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Mto wa Mbu Cultural tourism

Mto wa Mbu Cultural tourism

Mto wa Mbu Cultural tour: Bustling with a variety of cultures from around Tanzania, the little town of Mto Wa Mbu lies at the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park. A local agricultural hub, the town is famous for its crops of rice and the distinctive red bananas that Tanzania is known for. A half-day tour of the town in the company of a local guide gives travellers the opportunity to interact with local farmers, as well as artisans, craftsmen and painters. A sampling of the local banana beer adds a unique taste of local flavour.

This cross-cultural melting pot is home to approximately 120 tribes. A bustling, thriving village, it is fascinating to hear the colourful blend of languages and witness first-hand the unique customs. Cultural diversity is seen in the various entrepreneurial ways including a farmer from Kigoma producing palm oil from palm trees that he purchased from the shores of Lake Tanganyika, and the Rangi creating colourful, beautiful mats and baskets using papyrus from the lakes and rivers.

Cultural Programme and Eco-Tourism

Mto Wa Mbu Village has a very active cultural programme that seeks to show visitors the traditional way of life of the villagers through various activities and also a range of community projects that are in place. You can visit top spots in the area, taste Tanzanian foods and experience authentic cultural interaction.

A small fee is charged for each activity which is then used to support income-generating projects such as the production of energy-efficient stoves and the development of irrigation systems. Students will find the village and its people to be a great resource for information on Tanzania. Everyday topics can be explored as well as more complex subjects like politics, history and culture, wildlife and legends.

There are a number of excellent walking, hiking and biking tours offered in the village ranging in length from a couple of hours to a full day (bikes can be hired in the village):

  • Village Tour – try banana beer, visit a traditional home, learn about Makonde carving
  • Village Lunch – enjoy a home-cooked meal the traditional way
  • Farm Visit – discover what the villagers grow and how they do it
  • Maasai Tour – visit a traditional boma (enclosure), interact with tribal members in various activities
  • Maasai Market -weekly market on Thursday afternoons or the monthly market on the 22nd
  • Balaa Hill – this is a climb up the Rift Valley Wall for magnificent views and good birding
  • Miwaleni Lake and Waterfall – see ancient Baobab trees and swim in the pool below the falls
  • Lake Manyara – bike through a wildlife corridor to the shores of the lake


Mto Wa Mbu Village is located in the midst of 2 wildlife corridors – age old paths that animals use for migration. Animals commonly seen in the area include Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra and Gazelle as well as Monkey and Baboon. The Big Five can also be seen in nearby national parks.


There is a variety of accommodation to choose from in the village including a classic lodge and a neat camping site.

Where is Mto Wa Mbu Village?

The village is located in Northern Tanzania 120km (74 miles) away from the town of Arusha, by tarred road. There is regular bus transport between the village and Arusha or visitors can fly-in to Lake Manyara airstrip. The main water sources in the area are the Mahamoud, Kirurumu and Magadini Rivers.

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