Mto wa Mbu Cultural Tourism
Mama Yusuphu and her family, including Aziza, pictured below, are cooks who host a meal that is part of Mto wa Mbu’s tour of the area. Visitors eat a traditional meal cooked and served at one of the host families in the village, allowing many households to benefit from the tours. The benefits from Mto wa Mbu’s community tourism initiative are invested back into community development projects like sanitation projects for the local schools. They also run a training program, where youth pursuing a career in tourism can shadow tours while they are studying at university.
Nestled in the Monduli district outside of the Tanzanian city of Arusha is the community of Mto wa Mbu, meaning “river of mosquitos.” In a country where the unemployment rate hovers just above 10%, Mto wa Mbu Cultural Tourism Enterprises is providing jobs to locals, including women, in an innovative and sustainable way that celebrates local culture and heritage. Boosting the economies of villages and towns near national parks also increases the protection of the environment, biodiversity and curbs urban migration and loss of culture and heritage. The Mto wa Mbu people are successfully celebrating their heritage and people while protecting the valuable natural resources and wildlife alongside which they coexist.
Planeterra works alongside Mto wa Mbu Cultural Tourism Enterprises to monitor the positive effects of tourism on the village, which runs multiple experiences for travellers such as bike tours, cultural experiences, and delicious meals.
Along with empowering community members through employment and economic opportunities through an influx of visitors willing to purchase goods such as handicrafts, Mto wa Mbu also has a Village Development Fund. This means a portion of the funds raised through tourism are invested back into the area for improvements to schools, sanitation and water.