Mtu Wa Mbu cultural activities information
Welcome to the green oasis of Mto wa Mbu near Ngorongoro Crater where you can see a mixture of different Tanzanian cultures, while enjoying the tropical vegetation at the foot of the Rift Valley. We inhabitants of Mto wa Mbu offer you the following tours to show you the scenic beauty and cultural diversity of Mto wa Mbu.
Mto wa Mbu farming tour - half day
Starting from the market, where you visit a Chagga family producing banana beer, you walk northwards passing many different farms. On your way you get extensive explanation about the various fruits and vegetables growing in the area. Mzee Filipo, a farmer from Kigoma, will show you his oilpress and tell you about the history of irrigation in the area. Your trip ends at a farm built by the Belgium Development Organisation ACT, where you can visit their sunflower seeds production and make marvellous pictures of colourful flowerfields with the rift valley as background.
Papyrus Lake tour - half day
This walk starts five kilometers north of Mto wa Mbu, where the Miwaleni waterfall that falls down the escarpment has created a green oasis. Passing some little streams you walk in the direction of the Papyrus lake, from where the Rangi people collect the materials for the mats and baskets they make. On your way you can see rice farming and visit Sandawe families who still make traditional bows and arrows for hunting. The walk can be extended with a climb to the waterfall at the rift valley.
Balaa Hill tour - half day
Starting from Mto wa Mbu you walk at the foot of the rift valley in northern direction. The farmers in this area mainly grow bananas (many different 30 varieties) and the big leaves provide a pleasant shade. On your way you can visit some farms and get explanation about the irrigation methods in the area. Finally, you can climb Balaa hill, "the hill of misfortune", in about twenty minutes and enjoy the beautiful view over the green oasis of Mto wa Mbu. On the top the guides will explain you why the hill got its mysterious name. The walk can be extended with a visit to the Njoro springs, one of the main water sources for the area and a nearby waterfall.
One day walkPeople who like walking can combine the three half a day tours in a one day walk. Starting from the Mto wa Mbu market you go via the farm of ACT to the Papyrus lake. On your way back to Mto wa Mbu you walk along the foot of the rift valley, passing the Njoro springs and the Balaa hill.
When doing a part of the distance by car the various tours can also be combined in half a day. Another option is renting a bike in the town and cycle most of the tour.
Our guides all grew up in Mto wa Mbu and recently finished Manyara secondary school. They are familiar with the area and can tell you many interesting facts about the different cultures, the irrigation system and the various fruits and vegetables in the area. While looking for a job or further education, they like to gain experience and earn a small income by showing tourists the beauty of their area.
Development projectsIn the Eighties the ILO had a Flood control programme in Mto wa Mbu, that also assisted the district in improving the irrigation system. Various intakes and aqueducts ensure that the water flows to all farms in the area. At the border of the irrigated land there are however serious problems of saltation, created by volcanic activities in the past. In this area the Belgium organisation ACT has in cooperation with the Monduli District Council built up a farm in order to try to use the land in a productive way and create employment for the local people. Among the crops that grow on the farm are many colourful flowers. The farm is also used as a centre from which ACT carries out its various community development activities. Nearby a dam has been built, where the Maasai cattle can drink water, even in the dry period.
With support from ACT a Maasai women's group is producing energy saving stoves, that use three times less firewood and therefore help to preserve the natural forests and reduce the workload of women. The profit from the tourism programme will be used for the promotion of these stoves and other development purposes in the area.
When you are in Mto wa Mbu, feel free to visit the Maasai women's group on Mondays and Wednesdays, when they are producing the stoves. The women will proudly show you their production method.
This cultural tourism programme has been executed with assistance from SNV - the Netherlands Development Organisation.