The area around Mto wa Mbu was dry and hardly populated till the early fifties, when the first steps were made to irrigate the area. The news of the fertile lands spread rapidly through the country and from all remote corners people came to try their luck.
Within a few decades the dry and empty plains were turned into a green semi-urban centre. The rapid population growth also turned Mto wa Mbu into a cross-cultural melting pot. Nowhere else in Tanzania have so many different tribes gathered in such a small area. Many people have still kept their traditions.