Name ID 419

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Among the Elephants
Extract Date: 1900

Mto-wa-Mbu was tribal no-man's land

based on copies of old German maps, Mto-wa-Mbu was tribal no-man's land between the warring Maasai and Wambulu at the turn of the century, and nowhere were there any settlements to be found.

Extract ID: 634

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Among the Elephants

Mto-wa-Mbu 1920 and 1967

Mto-wa-Mbu founded in 1920. now [1967] numbers 3,400 people.

Extract ID: 635

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 026
Extract Date: 1923

James Clark returned

In 1923 Clark returned, walking with his safari from the railhead at Moshi past Arusha and climbing the rift escarpment near Mtu-wa-Mbu. Pushing on through the country of the Wambulu - the people of the mists - the safari ascended the south-eastern slope of Ngorongoro and after threading their way through the dense cloud forest, paused for lunch in a glade.

Extract ID: 166

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 110c
Extract Date: 1926

Oldeani coffee plantations

Contrary to a widely held belief, the Oldeani coffee plantations, although largely German in origin, were not opened up in German times. They started about 1926, and led to the construction of the road from Mtu-wa-Mbu, and a subsequent branch road to Mbulu which was previously approached from Mbugwe, or from the South via Dabil.

Extract ID: 771

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Kshama SHORE
Page Number: 2008 08 25
Extract Date: 1930-73

Reference to 'two Indian traders' in Mto-wa mbu.

My father (K M Sachania) had a shop in Mto-wa-Mbu, where he stocked provisions for locals and for tourists (even cheese, chocolate and coca cola). He arrived in Mto-wa-Mbu (I think in the 1930s - as a young man and as many Indians did, set up shop in a hand-made corrugated hut), by the 1940s there was a proper bricks and mortar building which got larger as he married, and children came along.

He spoke several african languages and became a highly esteemed figure within the local community. It was a proud day when he was granted the 'caltex' Petrol Agency and a few years later the postal agency.

We left Mto-wa-Mbu in 1973 to come to UK, he sadly could not adjust to a life in a cold damp country and succumbed to a stroke and died after a long illness in 1986. He was survived by his wife and 3 daughters.

I am one of the daughters (youngest) and In 2008, I am returning to Arusha for a holiday almost exactly (27th September) 35 years after we left the country. I am looking forward to it and hope to share some of my thoughts with you on return.

Extract ID: 5823

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 023
Extract Date: 1934

Ngorongoro was of course well known to the Germans

Ngorongoro was of course well known to the Germans prior to World War I, and to British officials, farmers and hunters in the early twenties. But the land through which the road runs from the top of the rift to the Crater was then uninhabited. In the mid-twenties German nationals were permitted to return to their previous colony, then a Mandate, but the previously German farms had been sold by the Custodian of Enemy Property, so that the returning Germans had to find somewhere new to live. Who the originator of the idea was will never be known, but a number of these people settled on the lower slopes of Oldeani and started carving out coffee farms for themselves.

One effect of this move was to encourage the Iraqw people to move up from their overcrowded country to the south, first as labourers on the farms, and then as settlers in their own right on the neighbouring uninhabited land. A specially appointed Land Commissioner, Mr Bageshaw, recommended - and the recommendation was accepted - that all the land lying to the south of the boundary of the Northern Highlands Forest Reserve, already demarcated by the German Government, should with the exception of the alienated farms, be developed as an expansion area for the Iraqw tribe. There were however three major deterrents to settlement; firstly the tsetse fly which prevented the keeping of cattle, then the lack of water, and finally the fear of Masai raids from Ngorongoro. But the tribal authorities, with the aid and advice of British officers, organised extensive self-help schemes whereby the empty lands were settled, slowly at first, but with increased impetus in the period following World War II.

When I first travelled along that road in 1934 there was not a sign of habitation from Mto-wa-Mbu to Karatu, whilst the big triangle of superb land lying between the rift and the forest edge, called Mbulumbulu, was entirely empty. With Government aid and encouragement the Iraqw folk were just beginning to trickle north, when World War II broke out. This involved the removal of German settlers to camps, but at the same time increased the need for self-sufficiency. The Oldeani-Karatu-Mbulumbulu area had proved itself particularly suitable for the production of wheat, and attracted the attention of the Custodian of Enemy Property (who was running the vacated farms in the interests of the Government), the non-German farmers in the area, and a specially organised official Wheat Scheme. In addition to encouraging production within the boundaries of the existing farms, the Government of the day permitted all these agencies to clear and plough on the land allocated by the Bageshawe Commission to the Iraqw people, on short term lease, the agreement being that the land should be handed back at the end of the war.

In spite of the pleas of those in occupation to retain the land, the Government honoured its pledge to the Iraqw people and put the land at their disposal. The result was that one had a number of wheat growers, with know-how and machinery at their disposal, but no land and a large number of Iraqw folk with a large area of ready cleared wheat land awaiting cultivation, but lacking machinery and know-how. Common interests brought the two parties together, the wheat growers working the land for the Iraqw and sharing the profits.

Extract ID: 1426

See also

Gillman, Clement An Annotated List of Ancient and Modern Indigenous Stone Structures in Eastern Africa
Page Number: 50
Extract Date: 1943

recent discovery by Watermeyer

Next, we have the quite recent discovery by Watermeyer and Elliott of a ruins site, 'as a whole resembling that of Engaruka', about three miles north of the present oasis of Mto-wa-Mbu on the Arusha-Oldeani road at the foot of the 'Rift Wall'.

.... it seems highly desirable that this site should be closely examined by an experienced observer.

Extract ID: 1214

See also

Ngorongoro and the Serengeti Plains

The road to the crater

From the turn off the Great North Road 50 miles south of Arusha, the route to Ngorongoro soon begins to lead down into the rift and a splendid view unfolds: the silver gleam of Lake Manyara to the left, the white encrusted cone of Ol Donyo Lengai ("Mountain of God"), a periodically active volcano, far away to the right and, beyond, the deep blue ridge of 9,000 ft hills, in which the Ngorongoro lies, forming the western wall of the Great Rift Valley. We cross the valley, here 20 miles wide, 3,500 ft above sea-level and sprinkled with giraffe, zebra, buck and other plains animals, including a few magnificent but seldom seen black-manned lion, and, unless we can spare the time for a visit to Lake Manyara where millions of rosy flamingos and pelicans vie for admiration with the elephant, buffalo and rhino which haunt its shores, pass through the little trading centre of Mto wa Mbu ("Mosquito River") and over the streams which give it its name, and climb out of the heat up the magnificent buttress of the west wall of the rift by a series of hairpin bends.

There follows a stretch of undulating park-like country and, just short of the European farming community of Oldeani, one turns right and one is almost immediately negotiating a mountain road twisting up the flank of thickly wooded gorges. Suddenly Ngorongoro bursts into view - there is no more apt phrase, for the road turns a corner and there at the side of the road the world end. At least so it seems until far below in a hazy golden glow, one sees the sunlit floor of the Crater or giant cauldron, and 15 miles away the pale mauve mountains of its further rim.

Extract ID: 3693

See also

MacMillan, Mona Introducing East Africa

This country [writing from Oldeani] is said to be waterless

This country [writing from Oldeani] is said to be waterless and for some reason it is seldom visited by the Masai. ...

At the foot of the cliff and at the northern end of the lake there is a queer village with the name of Mtuwambu [sic] 'the river of mosquitoes'. It has a sinister air and is in fact the refuge of people who are not much wanted by their neighbours at home, and so are brought together in this utterly deserted stretch of country..

Extract ID: 636

See also

Marsh, R.J. and E.P Safari Diaries
Page Number: 06
Extract Date: 1953 December

safari to Oldeani and Mbulu

About a week after my return to Arusha we went off on a safari to Oldeani and Mbulu for Christmas services. ... The rains started while we there and made many roads (or tracks) impassable. ... On Sunday morning I left E. D. & P. at Oldeani, and went to Mbulu (50 miles) taking a boy with me, not anticipating a good journey. However the roads were not too bad, and I had no difficulty over wet roads. We had one long escarpment to climb, and a very rocky stony road down. At the bottom I had a puncture which ripped completely one tyre. So the rest of the safari had to be made with no spare tyre. ...

I got back to Oldeani just before 1 p.m., and already it was raining hard upon the mountain. E and the boys were all ready, so I loaded on the luggage and we left immediately, hoping to miss the storm, and stop later for a sandwich lunch. We escaped the worst of the storm, but caught on the edge of it. We stuck on a muddy patch near the top of a hill, and only got through with the help of a gang of Africans from a PWD [Public Works Department] lorry, who pushed us out of slippery patches - and all this in the pouring rain. The next stretch of road was not too bad, but ahead, about 30 miles away, we could see another storm near the Dodoma Road on which we were to travel. We climbed down the escarpment to the bottom of the Rift Valley at Mto wa Mbu without difficulty. Here, while filling up with petrol, we discovered a leak in the petrol tank! David's plasticine came in very useful to bung the leak up, and it lasted all the way on some very bad roads indeed. The road across the plain to the Dodoma Road was 25 miles of farmyard mud. We got stuck three times on this stretch and took 3 hours to do it. The first time we got stuck in a stretch with water across the road, and I had to get out without shoes or stockings to wade through [ and clear] the exhaust pipe which was under water. We got pushed out with the help of a couple of Africans. ...

The next place we got stuck in was real mud, and we had to wait for something to come along and pull us out. It was a jeep Land-Rover, and they kept just ahead of us in case we got into more troubles - which we did once. When we got to the Dodoma Road we still had 50 miles to go and it was nearly 6 p.m. - only another 3/4 hours of light. The road was better for a while, but until the last fifteen miles, most of it was like driving though a farmyard after days of rain, and most of this was done in the dark with only the light of head lamps to give any idea of what the road was like, or where it was going. Eventually we arrived in Arusha at 9.10 p.m.

Extract ID: 774

See also

Marsh, R.J. and E.P Safari Diaries
Page Number: 06a
Extract Date: 1953 December

Extract ID: 4082

See also

Green, Geoff Capital Capers
Page Number: 46

At Mtu wa Mbu

Extract ID: 3360

See also

Arusha School Magazine
Extract Author: Julia Bruce and Carolyn Pearson
Page Number: 13
Extract Date: 1956

School Trip to Ngorongoro Crater

The crisp early morning air stung the faces of the twenty-eight eager children who scanned the familiar outskirts of the Arusha District.

Once off the tarmac road we met the vast expanse of thorn-bush and scrub dotted with animals which aroused great excitement amongst us.

After the interest of the first part of the journey, we reached the turning to Oldeani, which indicated that we still had sixty miles to go. Through rather monotonous scenery, the road gradually twisted its way higher and higher into a more densely forested area until we reached a view-point. Looking down on the immense plain dotted with pleasant colours of green and brown, twenty-eight pairs of eyes keenly devoured the majestic scenery around.

Arriving at Mtu-wa-Mbu, the lorry came to a halt under a shady Acacia tree, where we spent a few minutes. On and on the road twisted and turned as the lorry wound its way slowly up the slope, passing miles and miles of green, and yet greener scenery as we ascended, climbing higher up the mountainside.

At last in front of us we saw a large notice board indicating the way to the Serengeti Plains which were to our right. At the sight of this our spirits rose, and everybody craned their necks in order to get the first view of the crater. As it came in sight hardly a cough was heard, as we gazed fascinated at the wondrous sight before us. At last we were settled in our huts, which were very comfortable, containing two bunks, a fireplace, and a table and chair.

That night was very queer indeed, and I imagined I heard many wild beasts roaming outside! When I woke up in the morning I could not remember where I was and thought I was still dreaming.

The next day we went for a short outing in the lorry. We saw mainly the same game as before, zebra, ostrich and many gazelle scattered over the grassland.

On the last day of our visit we decided to walk down to the [Ngorongoro] crater, and so set off at ten o'clock, having first made all the preparations for the return journey. It was steep and rocky down the 2000 foot slope to the crater, and I slipped many times. Although we did not actually see any game on the way, some elephants and buffalo had passed through quite recently, as we saw their footprints. We saw game dotted about in the distance when we reached the bottom, and after having a short rest we started to climb the steep ascent back. I eventually reached the top exhausted and breathless, but pleased at having succeeded at my desire to reach the bottom and manage the ascent successfully.

But all good things have to come to an end, and soon afterwards we set off regretfully. On the way back, we saw much the same game as before, ostrich, zebra, gazelle and giraffe, and also a swarm of locusts, which hit the lorry with great force. But the return journey seemed to go much quicker, and we arrived back at school just before supper, full of news to tell about the Ngorongoro Crater which we had just visited.

authors were probably about eleven years old

Extract ID: 739

See also

Marsh, R.J. and E.P Safari Diaries
Extract Author: EPM
Page Number: 16
Extract Date: 1956 December 29


Packing up again. Easy drive to Mto wa Mbu. Saw warthog, ostriches and later baboons. Lunch 1.30 at Mtu. Boiled on escarpments three times and then had puncture within sight of Lutheran Mission at Karatu, where boys and I stayed with Jacksons. Bob on to Mbulu.

Extract ID: 578

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 217a
Extract Date: 1958 January

Death of Jackie Hamman

It was not to be a lion, leopard, buffalo, or black mamba that killed zestful Jacky Hamman in the prime of his life. In January 1958, David Ommanney , the gifted star at Lawrence-Brown Safaris, was sharing a hunting camp with Hamman and Geoff Lawrence-Brown, Stan's younger brother.

Jacky, like many South African hunters, had a tremendous love of antique guns, exposed-hammer firearms in particular. Before his safari with Ommanney , Jacky had purchased a new Land Rover pickup truck from which he had removed both doors in order to give himself and his clients quick and silent exit when hunting.

Jacky and his client went out guinea fowl hunting in the Mto-wa-Mbu (Mosquito River) area in northern Tanganyika. Hamman, the quick-shot artist, known to be a stickler for gun safety, was driving his doorless car with his hammer shotgun loaded, its butt resting on the car's floorboard beside his feet, its barrel cradled in the crook of his arm. Driving cross-country the vehicle hit a bump and the shotgun's butt slid across the floorboard and out of the car, but as it did so one of the shotgun's hammers hit the edge of the floor. Hamman took the full shotgun blast at almost point-blank range, and the charge struck just beneath his ear. It was David Ommanney who transported Jacky's body back to Arusha where Jacky's widow, Betty, and his two young children lived.

Extract ID: 3837

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 154a
Extract Date: 1962

Towards the Crater

Alan, Joan and Kiari travelled in the Land-Rover. Douglas and I followed in the Gipsy. We filled up at Mto-wa-Mbu, shook hands with the ground crew, talked with the two Indian storekeepers, and finally sped off up the escarpment road. We then drove over the Karatu plain, well stocked with Wambulu farmers, before accepting a lower gear, and driving up towards the crater area. Mosquito River was 2,000 feet above sea-level. The crater rim was nearer 7,000 and the two trucks pulled steeply up that twisty, well-surfaced road. At the so-called Wilkie's Point we had our first breath-taking view of the Ngorongoro Crater, and stopped at once.

Extract ID: 3745

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 233
Extract Date: 1962

Nairobi to the Serengeti

Normally there is a road leading fairly directly from Nairobi to the Serengeti via Narok. Unfortunately, for several months it had been out of action, and so we had to take the long way round via our old haunts. The first leg was from Nairobi to Arusha, A big locust swarm spattered itself against our windscreens, and we scraped them clean when it had gone by. From Arusha we travelled south on the Great North Road, had trouble with a broken fan belt, and then turned right at Makayuni for Manyara.

At Mto-wa-Mbu we had the ritual drink of cold Cokes from those two Indians, and discussed ballooning with those of our ground crew who wandered up. On the escarpment we had trouble with a trailer shackle, and got it fixed at the Manyara hotel. Then on to Ngorongoro, and to pick up all the camping kit we had left there. Finally, having driven past Windy Gap, and the spot originally chosen for the crater flight, we started on the long twisting descent towards the Serengeti Plains.

Extract ID: 3776

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Among the Elephants

Mto-wa-Mbu 1920 and 1967

Mto-wa-Mbu founded in 1920. now [1967] numbers 3,400 people.

Extract ID: 635

See also

Amin, Mohamed; Willetts, Duncan and Marshall, Peter Journey Through Tanzania
Extract Date: 1984

linguistic diversity

It [Mto wa Mbu] has long been a trading centre where many different people have settled, notably the Mbugwe, Iraqw, Gorowa, Irangi, Totoga, Chagga and Maasai. The area ... is in fact the most linguistically diverse and complex in Africa. It is the only place in the continent where the four major African language families - Bantu, Khoisan, Cushitic, and Nilotic - occur together.

Extract ID: 3680

See also

Norton, Boyd The African Elephant: Last Days of Eden

From Tarangire you can drive west to Kwa Kuahinia and the new Arusha-to-Dodoma Highway that seems perennially under construction, then north to Makuyuni, then west on the incredibly dusty road that leads to Mto wa Mbu, one of my favourite villages in East Africa (the Swahili name means River of Mosquitoes). Here it's a mandatory stop to buy a not-so-cold beer from a little duka on the main street, necessary to wash down the dust in your throat, and to visit the stalls of the craftsmen selling carvings and Maasai spears and trinkets to the increasing number of tourists passing through. The greying woodcarver, whose tin-covered stall is way in the back, is a nearly blind old mzee, but his ebony wood carvings are still the best. From Mto wa Mbu, it's a short distance to the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park.

Extract ID: 3689

external link

See also

Guardian (UK)
Extract Author: Harriet Sherwood
Extract Date: November 2, 2002

Nature trails: Harriet Sherwood enjoys the wildlife and high life of Tanzania

But - for me - the best was mountain biking through the village of Mto Wa Mbu, on the edge of the national park. The bikes brought us closer to village life than driving through in a Jeep was ever going to: we could stop, we could return greetings, we could get to parts of the village where there were no roads, only tracks between banana plantations or fields of maize. We were mobbed by children in the primary school, whose teacher invited us inside the unlit straw and mud building to hear songs. The kids sang in Swahili, with the odd English word. I asked Jean about the languages of Tanzania; he said everybody speaks Swahili and their tribal tongue, and are supposed to be taught English - a policy hampered by the fact that many teachers outside the cities don't speak it themselves. We cycled on through fields with a complicated but effective irrigation system that requires farmers from different tribes to work co-operatively; we passed groupings of mud and straw huts where tiny children played in the dirt; we were greeted by Masai tribespeople: tall, slender, elegant, proud, draped in red cloths and hung with strings of beads and intricate earring arrangements. We didn't see any animals, but we saw real human life.

Extract ID: 3725

See also

Briggs, Philip Guide to Tanzania

River of Mosquitoes

This village near the entrance gate to Lake Manyara sees a lot of tourist traffic and most organised safaris stop at its huge curio market. When you get out of your vehicle expect to be swarmed around by curio dealers. Bear in mind that prices here are double what they would be in Arusha. Mto wa Mbu means River of Mosquitoes. If you spend a night, you will be in no doubt as to how it got this name.

Extract ID: 3697

See also

Source Unknown

River of Mosquitoes

River of Mosquitoes

Extract ID: 633