Mto wa Mbu is situated on the way from Arusha to the National Parks in Northern Tanzania, just at the foot of the Rift Valley. Mto wa Mbu is the entry-port to Lake Manyara National Park, and also conveniently on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti, which makes it an ideal rest place for most safari travelers.
The area around Mto wa Mbu was rather dry and hardly populated until the early fifties, when the first steps were made to irrigate the area. Within a few years hundreds of acres of newly cultivable land were created. The news of the fertile lands spread rapidly through the country and from all remote corners people came to try their luck. Fruits and vegetables from all over Tanzania were introduced to the area, and within a few decades the dry and empty plains were turned into a green semi-urban center. The rapid population growth has turned this village into a melting pot of cultures. Nowhere else in Tanzania have so many tribes gathered in such a small area, and many people have still kept their traditions.
In Mto wa Mbu there are several campsites and guesthouses. In most of these places tourists can eat a meal and order a lunch box. During tours, visitors will have the opportunity of enjoying traditional cuisine prepared by local women in the village. Apart from the guesthouses and campsites in town, there are three high-quality lodges on the edge of the Rift Valley that oversee Lake Manyara National park and the surrounding area.
The guides used in these tours grew up in Mto wa Mbu, and recently finished Manyara Secondary School. They can speak English and are familiar with the area. They will be happy to tell you interesting facts and stories about the different cultures, irrigation system and the various fruits and vegetables in the area. They want to gain experience and earn a small income by showing tourists the beauty of their area. Farming tour: 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 explanation about the various fruits and vegetables growing in the area. Mzee Filipo, a farmer from Kigoma, will show you his oil press and tell you about the history of irrigation in the area. Your trip ends at a farm build by the Belgium Development Organization ACT, where you can visit their sunflower production and take marvelous pictures of colorful flower fields with the Rift Valley as background.