Mto wa Mbu: Melting pot with lots of people and various activities

Facts Mto wa Mbu town:

  • Small town not far from Lake Manyara National Park
  • Approximately 20,000 inhabitants, including members of all 120 Tanzanian tribes
  • Mto wa Mbu means mosquito river

Getting here from Arusha:

  • 113 km, which is about 2 hours by safari car

Highlights Mto wa Mbu town: 

  • Visit to the nearby Lake Manyara National Park
  • Take a village tour including a visit to local fruit plantations, souvenir stores and a typical local lunch
  • See what the locals buy at the Maasai market
  • Get a spectacular view of the landscape on your hike up the Ngorongoro rift valley wall

The small town of Mto wa Mbu is a true melting pot. Here, members of all 120 Tanzanian tribes and various cultures live together. During your visit, you will hear different languages and see a variety of faces. Mto wa Mbu, which translates to Mosquito River in English, may not necessarily be on the standard safari itinerary. However, it has something to offer for people with various interests. Culture enthusiasts can take a guided tour of the town to see firsthand how people live, observe the cultivation of rice, bananas, and other fruits, watch wood carvings being made, and purchase them along with paintings and other souvenirs. Food enthusiasts can sample various dishes from Tanzanian cuisine and the traditional banana beer Mbege during a local lunch. Active individuals can enjoy a bicycle tour through and around Mto wa Mbu or a hike up the steep and rocky path to Balaa Hill, which offers views of the East African Rift wall. Along this hiking trail towards the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, there is plenty to see for nature lovers, especially the breathtaking landscape view from Balaa Hill. A hike or bike ride to the Miwaleni River and Lake, followed by a refreshing swim in the cool waters of the lake, is also a great option for sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. For those who enjoy bustling markets, a visit to the local Maasai market (held every Thursday) provides ample opportunities. All of these activities mentioned are particularly enjoyable for families with children and provide a nice change from game drives in the national parks.