Introduction

The scruffy market town of Babati, about 175km southwest of Arusha in a fertile spot along the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment, has a frontier feel despite the construction of a smooth new road. It’s notable as a jumping-off point for Mt Hanang, 75km southwest, and for a long-running programme of cultural tours, but otherwise it has little to detain you. Stretching south from the city is tranquil Lake Babati, fringed by tall reeds and home to hippos and water birds. If you’re here on the 17th of the month, don’t miss Babati’s monthly mnada (market), about 5km south of town.