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Mto Wa Mbu Cultural Tour

Created with Sketch. Tanzania
Not Rated


3 Days

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size





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.

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Papyrus Lake Tour:
This walk starts five kilometers north of Mto wa Mbu, where the Miwaleni waterfall that falls down from the Rift Valley has created a green oasis. Passing some small 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 the way you can see rice farming and visit Sandawe families who still make the traditional bows and arrows for hunting. The walk can be extended with a climb to the waterfall at the Rift Valley.
Balaa Hill Tour:
Starting from the center you walk in the northern direction. The farmers mainly grow bananas (30 varieties) and the big leaves provide a pleasant shade. On your way you can visit some farms and get explanations about the irrigation methods in the area. Finally, you can climb Balaa Hill, “the hill of misfortune”, in about 20 minutes, and enjoy the beautiful view over the green oasis over Mto wa Mbu. On the top, the guides will explain 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 Walk:
People 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 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.
Development Projects:
The 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 program will be used for the promotion of these stoves and other development purposes in the area.


  • The cost of all ground transportation and Fuel
  • Full time safari guide and his associated expenses
  • Park entrance fees
  • Accommodation and meals
  • Items of personal nature like Laundry, Beverages, Flights, Beers, Beverages
  • Tipping of staff.

Tour Categories

Tanzania Safaris


Multi day



Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Tanzania


What can I expect on a typical safari day?
This is your safari trip, your adventure! You decide how you want to spend your time on this vacation. If you would like to spend a full day on safari, you are definitely welcomed to do so. Visa Expeditions does not restrict your mileage, fuel or how much time you want to be on safari. While some days you may decide set out by sunrise, other days you can have a slower-paced breakfast before starting your daily exploration. Simply sit down with your guide to plan your day and meals the night before. Your guide will have plenty of suggestions, but of course, the decision is yours.
What to Bring on Safari
Safaris are casual vacations! Dress comfortably and pack lightly. As you will be spending most of your safari viewing in the vehicle, loose-fitting and light coloured clothing is recommended. Avoid dark colours (i.e. black, dark blue) as they tend to attract unwanted attention from insects such as the tsetse fly.
What are the park fee regulations?
All park fees and conservation fees have a 24 hours limit. We plan your itinerary according to the park permits paid. Your safari driver guide will brief you the night before and provide suggestions regarding your schedule. Please note that any penalty fee resulting from the client’s wish to extend their stay will be at the guest’s expense.
Am I allowed to walk around the national parks?
It is recommended to stay inside your vehicles at all times when you are in the national parks unless your driver-guide find a safe area to stop for lunch or to stretch your legs. If you are keen on hiking, there are guided walks that are available in Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. Within the Serengeti National Parks, long walks are not permitted during to conservation reasons, however, some lodgings will offer short walks near the lodge or camp.
Will there be wildlife roaming at the camps and lodges?
It is important to never assume that any of the animals encountered on your game drive are tame. Though attacks by wild animals are unusual, nothing in the African wilderness is predictable. While you are staying in your safari lodges and camps, it is important to be especially cautious and aware of your surroundings as many of these areas are not fenced and contain wildlife roaming freely. If you have children with you, keep them in sight and do not let them wander alone. At smaller tented lodges, you will always be escorted to and from your tent for dinner or during the night. Should you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to raise them to the staff or your guide.
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