Mto wa Mbu
This small village is located in the Great Rift Valley northern of the Lake Manyara, 90 kilometers to the west of Arusha and right at the entrance of the Lake Manyara National Park. It is an intersection point for almost every existing tribe of Tanzania where each of the four Pan-African language families is represented: Bantu, Nilotic, Cushitic and Khoisan. The name Mto wa Mbu is taken from the Swahili language and means Mosquito River which describes a small stream flowing through the village.
The community of Mto wa Mbu provides several activities and tours for visitors to generate new income in order to improve their living conditions. These various activities give an insight into traditional way of life of the locals and how they earn their living. They include, for instance, a visit to the local beer brewery followed by the possibility of testing the produced banana beer. Besides that a small workshop can be visited where village women produce handicrafts made of banana leaves. Another tour is directed to the banana plantations where many different types of bananas are cultivated and details are given about the local cultivation methods. Furthermore the possibility is given to have a traditional meal for lunch with the villagers within the banana grove. Nearby the village a traditional Maasai market place can be seen which offer on a weekly basis, among others, traditional Maasai crafts and food. Other activities for visitors include woodcarving, tribal painting techniques and even a climb to the top of the Rift Valley wall for breathtaking views of Lake Manyara, the village of Mto wa Mbu and the Maasai Steppe. The surrounding vegetation provides many different bird species to watch as well as 2,000 year old Baobab trees.
As proof of traditional activities a huge 600 years old sacred Wild Fig Tree stands in the Mto wa Mbu village where the elders still practice spiritual ceremonies in which they, for instance, ask for rain in dry season.
The income from these tourist visits will be used to protect the environment, to promote education and to empower women in the village.