ZnO nanocrystalline powders doped with up to 5 at% manganese were synthesized and their photocatalytic activity was studied. Doped ZnO powders were prepared using a sol-gel process. The crystal structure and grain size of the particles were characterized by X-ray diffractometry and optical properties were studied using UV-Vis spectroscopy. The photoactivity of undoped and doped ZnO nanocrystalline powders was evaluated by monitoring the photo-bleaching of the aqueous solutions of Rhodamine B dye in the presence of ZnO under simulated sunlight. The results showed that up to 3 at% manganese were successfully doped into the nanocrystalline ZnO and that manganese-doping reduced the photocatalytic activity of ZnO.