MANYARA PROFILE IN BRIEF:
Manyara region was formed from the former Arusha region in 2002. The formation of this new region was announced in the official Gazette No. 367 on 27th July 2002. The regional headquarters is located in Babati Town which is 167 Kilometers from Arusha, 157 Kilometers fromSingida and 248 Kilometers from Dodoma.
Administratively, there are 5 administrative districts with 6 local Government Authorities, namely; Babati Town, Babati, Hanang, Kiteto, Mbulu and Simanjiro District Councils, with 29 Divisions, 123 wards ,393 villages and 1,540 Hamlets.
- BORDER REGIONS AND LOCATION
Manyara region is bordered by Arusha region to the north, Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions to the east, Dodoma region to the south and Singida and Shinyanga regions to the west. The region lies between latitudes 3040’ and 60’S and Longitudes 330 and 380 E.
- SIZE: Manyara region has an area of 50,921 square kilometres which include 49,576 square kilometres ofdryland and 1,260 kilometres covered with water.
- CLIMATIC CONDITIONS: Manyara region receives an average rainfall between 450mm and 1,200mm per year, with two rainy seasons. The short rain begins in October and ends in December while the Long rainy season starts in February and ends May. Also the region has an average temperature 13 degrees centigrades during the cool and dry season. June to September , and an average of 330C during rainy season (October to April). Some areas along the rift valley has sub- temperate climate.
- AGRO- ECOLOGICAL ZONES
- Rift valley highlands;
This zone is characterized by moderately high rainfall with annual rainfall that ranges between 800 mm and 1000mm per annum. The Maasai call it “ENGOTIEK” while the German called “WINTER HOCHLAND” due to its temperate like climate. This is the zone of reasonably reliable rainfall. Temperatures ranges between 200C and 250C. Districts constituting the zone are Babati, Hanang, Southern part of kiteto and mbulu districts. Soils range from red sandy loam, grey sandy loams to red clay loams. The soils are moderately fertile and suitable for cereals and legumes production. Traditional and limited dairy livestock keeping is practiced. Principal crops grown in this zone include maize, wheat, legumes (food beans), pigeon peas, Irish potatoes and vegetables.
- SEMI-ARID MIDLANDS.
This zone is characterized by elevated to flat areas in low altitudes. The zone experiences moderately low rainfall which averages 450mm to 700mm per annum with short duration. The rainfall regime is not reliable. Soils are loamy sands to sandy loams with poor fertility. Main crops are sorghum, sunflower, peas, cassava and sweet potatoes. Traditional livestock keeping is common and human population is moderately low. The zone includes eastern Babati, northwestern Mbulu, Southern Hanang District and the midlands of Kiteto.
- THE BUSHED MAASAI STEPPE.
The semi-arid midlands slowly merge into a bushed grassland area, which is a modification of the classic open grassland Maasai steppe of Monduli District. It is an arid grassed plain mixed with bushes. Livestock density is high while that of human is low. Rainfall is short and unpredictable which ranges from 350mm to 400mm per annum. Soils are sandy loams with moderate to low fertility.
During dry season, there is a great movement of both human and livestock and it has been previously argued that the most suitable and traditional land use of this area is Trans humance livestock husbandry and wildlife conservation. The zone includes the northern part of Kiteto and the greater part of Simanjiro District.
UNIQUE GEOGRAPHICAL PHYSICAL FEATURES OF MANYARA REGION
- THE RIFT VALLEY REGION;
Manyara region takes its name from lakeManyara, which is one of the major lakes formed in ancient times by the Great Rift Valley. It is the only region in Tanzania that is bisected into two by the Great Rift Valley . If any region in Tanzania can claim to be the Rift valley province, then it is Manyara . Simanjiro, Kiteto and part of Babati districts lie east of the great rift wall while Mbulu and another part of Babati District remain bracted between the two great walls. The remaining part of Babati District and the whole of Hanang District lie west of the two great walls.
Manyara also houses Rift valley lakes such as Manyara, Burunge, Babati and Balangda. These lakes are a major wildlife water source and are therefore, an essential part of the wildlife ecosystems of Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. In addition, Lake manyara is the country’s largest breeding ground for tens of thousands of flamingos. During the mating season (September- December) the collection of thousands of flamingoes in the shallow waters of lake Manyara gives an unforgetable sight to visitors.
- FIGURE OF “8” SHAPE
The region/s “figure of “8” shape makes it the oldest shaped region in the country. The eastern half of the region comprising of Kiteto and Simanjirodistricts is almost cut off from the western half, which is made up of Babati, Mbulu and Hanang districts.
- SULEDO FOREST RESERVE
Environmentally, Manyara’s blackwood of SULEDO forest reserve in Kiteto district which is about 163,000 ha is a wonder of nature. This natural forest of African Blackwood trees is as good as man- made in that the trees are evenly spaced that they could as well have been planted by the FOREST DIVISION. This dream forest is strictly protected from encroachment. It is therefore a wonderful tourist attraction.
- A LEAST DENSELY POPULATED REGION;
Manyara is among the regions with low population density of 28 people per square kilometres as well as the least urbanized regions in Tanzania. On the other hand Manyara is among the regions with fastest population growth rate which is 3.2 above the national average value of 2.7.
- THE FOURTH REGION WITH LARGEST HERD OF CATTLE.
As part of its economy, Manyara has the 4th largest herd of cattle after Shinyanga, Mwanza and Tabora. It is estimated that Manyara has 1.4 million cattle, 934, 547 goats and 373,399 sheep. This is 8% of the national herd of cattle, 9% of the national herd of goats and 1% of all sheep in the country.
- DISTINCTIVE INDIGENOUS ETHNIC GROUPS
The Iraqw ofMbulu and their cousins the Gorowa of Babati, Mbungu of Lushoto as well as the Alawa and Burunge of Kondoa form unique groups in Tanzania. The only similar ethnic groups are found far away in Ethiopia and Eritrea among the Oromo as well as Tutsi of Rwanda and Burundi. The Hadzabe/Hadza of Yaeda valley in Mbulu District who number only about 1,500 are also distinctive in that as a group they have the smallest stature in Tanzania. They still live on hunting and collecting wild honey, wild fruits and roots. The only similar ethnic group is the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in Nambia. The region is also home to the mainland’s greatest concentration of the Nilotic tribes the Barbaig, Ndorobo/ Akea and Maasai who are historically known to be warrier ethnic groups. The Akea are neither livestock keepers no farmers. Their home is the forest where they engage in hunting and gathering of wild honey, wild fruits and wild roots. Their culture is diminishing due to assimilation into the Maasai ethnic group. They currently, number about 500 in the whole of Manyara Region. Another 2,500 Ndorobo/Akea are found in Arusha Region. Part of the reason for in the diminishing numbers is that their life style-which is similar to that of the Hadzabe, is now no longer sustainable within the ever changing environment.
- HOME OF THE DISTINCTIVE TANZANITE GEMSTONE.
Manyara has Tanzania’s only source of world’s one and only distinctive Tanzanite gemstone found at Mirerani in Simanjiro District.
Other important gemstones found in Mirerani and nearby Lelatema hills are Tsavorite and Tremolite. Magara escarpment is important for precious Chrysobery (Var. Alexandrite) mining.
- MAIN ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES;
Agricultural production, livestock keeping and mining are the main economic activities in Manyara Region. The major food crops and cash crops that are cultivated by small farmers (peasants) includes maize, food beans, pigeon peas, sunflower, onions, garlic, coffee, paddy and finger millet. Maize, beans, pigeon peas, wheat and sunflower are the major contributors to the region’s economy. However, commercial crop farming is practiced in a few places like wheat at Basuto in Hanang and pigeon pea in Babati and Hanang. Kiru valley -the flood plain area between lakes Babati and Manyara, is the most fertile area in Manyara region. In this area, big farmers who own large estates grow various crops including sugar cane. This area has been a reliable source of crops since the colonial era and by mid-1930’s it was occupied by recknown millionaire settlers from Europe comprising Swedish barons, Russians, Americans, and Germans. Manyara region is rich in mineral that include Tanzanite, ruby, green garnet, green tourmaline and rhodolite, Tsavorite and Tremolite. Majority of these precious stones are mined inSimanjiro district. Specific areas where are mined are; Komolo, Namalulu,Lelatema hills, mererani, kaangala, landani and Nabebera. Other places that are rich in minerals include for chrysoberyl (var. Alexandrite), orgine village in Kiteto for red granite and moonstone. Recently, gold has been discovered in more than those areas in Mbulu district. The mining sector is important contributor to Manyara regional economy
Fisheries;Manyara region has 4 lakes where fishing is a main economic activity of the surrounding community. Lake Babati, Manyara and Burunge are found in Babati District. In Hanang district fishing is possible in the fresh water lakes of Bassotu and Basodesh. Lake Balang’dalalu is a salty lake which during floods provides cat fish. Durind dry seasons, this lake act as a source of salt for the people and their livestock. During dry seasons, this lake acts as a source of salt for the people and their liverstock. There is also Lake Tlawi in Mbulu district and the Ruvu river in Simanjiro district. Apart from the mentioned lakes, the region has several man made small dams which are important for fish production. Babati and Simanjiro districts are famous for rice production.
Tourist Attractions; Manyara is endowed with many incredible tourist attractions that can offer memorable experience to tourists. Such attractions are;
- Mount Hanang and Kwaraa- for Mountain climbing and photographing.
- Visiting hot spring in Lalaji and Masware villages.
- Lake Babati, Burunge and Balangda salt lake ( Hanang) – boat driving and viewing.
- Eastern arc rift valley escarpment- viewing and photographing.
- Lake manyara national park.
- Tarangire national park.
- Cultural tourism (Iraqw /Fyome, Maasai, Hadzabe, Barbaig, Ndorobo ( Akie) tribes.
Manyara region is endowed with a Variety of wildlife species from big games to small antelopes. Wildlife in Manyara region is distributed in different categories of wildlife protected areas from open area, Game controlled areas, and national parks. The entire of Tarangire and a large part of Lake Manyara National parks are in manyara region. The potential Simanjiro plains where thousands of wildebeests and Zebras from Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks are dispersed- especially during wet season, is an open area. Other areas that have substantial number of wildlife include Nou forest and Yaeda chini in Mbulu district.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK; is commonly famous for its tree- climbing pythons, Zebras, hartebeests, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, gazelles, oryx and abundant birdlife. This park is home to more elephants per square kilometres than anywhere else in the world. Tarangire is part of a famous larger ecosystem known as Tarangire – Manyara ecosystem. The park supports similar game to those in Serengeti.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK;
The park contains a large variety of habitats able to support a large number of species such as the rift valley wall, the ground water forest, acacia woodland, area of open woodland, area of open grassland and others. Lake Manyara national park also forms part of a larger ecosystem famously known as Tarangire – Manyara ecosystem.
- HUNTING AND ACQUIRING TROPHIES
Manyara region has a total of 15 hunting blocks; 9 in Simanjiro, 5 in Kiteto and one in Babati district. These blocks provide opportunity to hunt a variety of games from big games like the big elephants to small antelopes.
- MOUNT HANANG & QUARAA;
Hanang district is 73 km away from Babati town (Region headquarters) where the beautiful mount Hanang (3, 448m) is located.
The mountain is the habitat of leopards, klipspringer, velvet monkeys, olive baboon and dikdik and variety of bird species. The mountain features beautiful catchment forest with a variety of tree species.
Mount Kwaraa is located within the Babati Township and has a catchment forest which is a habitat for elephants and buffaloes in all seasons of the year. At the top of the mountain is found a natural permanent water pond.
LAKE BABATI; The lake provides fishing opportunity using local canoes within the view of floating hippos. The lake is 18 km2 long and is rich in tilapia, catfish, fresh water prawns different species of birds and is estimated to hold over 200 hippos.
CULTURAL TOURISM;There are several groups producing traditional clothes, belts, shoes, etc. which fetch good internal and external market.
A heritage cultural centre has been established with the assistance of Norwegians at Hydom in Mbulu district. The centre features traditional houses, a museum with traditional arts and crafts that belong to nearby ethnic groups, namely; Iraqw, Datoga ,Hadzabe and Nyaturu/Nyisanzu. Each year, the ethnic groups conduct a cultural festival that comprises traditional dances, games, barbeque, presentation etc.
The Hadza ,or Hadzabe are hunter- gatherers living in Mbulu district in Manyara region. Other Hadza live around lake Eyasi in the central rift valley and in the neighbouring Serengeti plateau northern Tanzania. The hadza are estimated to be below 1000 and some 300 – 400 Hadze live as hunter –gatherers like their ancestors who did so for thousand or even tens of thousands of years. This group, and also the Ndorobo- are the last existing full – time hunter- gatherers in Africa.
The Ndorobo are a small group of hunter- gatherers mostly found in Kiteto and a few in Simanjiro district. Most of them have no permanent homes and instead they live in Baobab tree caves. However, some of those who are more advanced have small huts resembling those of the Maasai.
BARBAIG; The traditional culture of the Barbaig is still unchanged and un spoiled. Women dress in traditional goat skin dresses and men walk around with spears. Visitors have an opportunity to mix freely with the Barbaig living in the Man’gati plains, commonly known as the Mang’ati .
MAASAI;The Maasai are a nilotic group in East Africa who came to Eastern Africa via South Sudan and they speak Nilo- Saharan language. They occupy large pieces of land in Manyara region- in Babati, Simanjiro and Kiteto districts. They were able to accupy such large areas of land by displacing the people who had previously lived in those areas. The Maasai are pastoralists and are famous for their frightening reputations as warriors and cattle- rustlers. Their customs and practices include age set system of sacral organization.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND BABATI TOWNSHIP
Located in Babati urban district. During the days of tribe wars in the pre- colonial era, Iraqw warriors used to hide women, children and old men in this sigino crater.
TURURU WATER FALLS;A permanent waterfall named Tururu is found in Babati township. The site comprises a variety of reptile species including python and Agama lizard. Tururu waterfalls is a beautiful place for picnic and relaxation.
Babati Township is also rich as regards cultural. Tourism attractions such as the indigenous Gorowa culture, the graves of chief Dodo, that of Major cooper his wife at Singu estate; the late majorie cooper and his wife are among the memorable people of Babati town due to their contributions to the citizens of Babati. They were the first persons to introduce Tilapia fish in Lake Babati (1936). The Tilapia fish is now an important food product to Babati citizens which has also contributed to employment opportunities to many people living surrounding the lake. Majorie cooper came to Babati in 1920s as a tourist accompanied by a Swedish hunter named BRO BLIXEN a husband to a famous Danish lady KAREN BLIXEN who wrote a book tittle d out of AFRICA. He became interested in investing at sigino areas commonly known as Singu, by opening some estates in which he settled for years and died in 1952 and his wife in 1954. Singu estate is very famous due to such historical background. The famous another – Ernest Hemingway the author of boon titled green hills of Africa visited and stayed at singu Estate……..