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Things to do in Dodoma

Located in the heartland of TanzaniaDodoma is the nation’s official political capital and the seat of government in the country. Comparably, it is much smaller and less developed than the country’s commercial centre, Dar es Salaam. Dodoma remains a centre for national politics. 

Situated on the eastern edge of the southern highlands, the city of Dodoma is surrounded by a rich agricultural area and pleasant scenery. Dodoma has many places and items of interest to recommend to the passing visitor. It is the centre of Tanzania’s growing wine industry and the Tanganyika Vineyards Company is active in promoting its products.

Historically, Dodoma was a stopover on the overland caravan route that travelled from the Swahili Coast inland toward Lake Tanganyika. Early in the 20th century, the city became a major point on the Central Line railway, which carried agricultural crops for export to the harbour in Dar es Salaam. 

In recent times, the town’s economic base has declined in favour of the coastal city, but in the early days of Tanzanian independence, there was a popular political motion to move the entire government to the town in the southern highlands. These days, the government legislature meets in Dodoma and divides its time between the inland city and Dar es Salaam on the coast.

How to get to Dodoma

There are many daily buses from Dar es Salaam. Driving time is seven to eight hours with a stop in Morogoro.Shabiby buses leave from Ubungo and are the most luxury buses at this moment. 

Around 11 busses from Dar and from Dodoma which is air conditioned and has more leg space. 

There are buses to and from Arusha via Kondoa to the north. The road is paved, and can be bad in the rainy season. The highway is known as the Great Northern Highway. Travel time is often in excess of 5 hours, and breakdowns are common. 

There are also buses to and from Iringa. Travel time is about six hours on a winding gravel road of varying quality. The road passes right over the Mtera Dam which is worth a look. 

Dodoma is situated on the Central Railway Line which goes from Dar Es Salaam to Mwanza or Kigoma. 

If the train service is running again and you are heading west, train is better, especially in the rainy season.

Here are the top Activities in Dodoma

For the Foodie in Dodoma

Grab a hearty meal in the form of tasty Italian food, this including enjoying one of Tanzania’s better pizzas, served in the shadow of Lion Rock. You can also try out a selection of local wines or play it safe with a European vintage. It also comes fully equipped with a playground and a 12-hole mini golf course for the kids and kids at heart.

The menu here is inspired by a few international influencers with choices such as pizza, fish and chips, dhal tadka and fajitas. The Indian and local dishes are the most popular while the outdoor Barbeque Village grills up all kinds of meat at dinner time. Also worth mentioning is the Chinese-owned restaurant within the hotel, which is a roulette when it comes to ordering with since dishes can be both good and awful.

Not a real Wimpy, as in the popular franchise but it does offer you a staple in the greasy burgers along with the usual assortment of local meals and snacks, most of them of Indian origin like bhaji and chicken biryani.

For those who have a sweet tooth and simply must have something to satisfy the cravings, you should definitely check out Dodoma’s version of an old-fashioned candy store and soda fountain. For some reason, they thought to also serves veggie burgers and pizzas, which may be quite the combination for the stomach before or after all those sweet treats.

If you’re looking for a taste of the east in East Africa then this place is a must. They offer a range of great Indian dishes and the pricing is really affordable. If you’re struggling to find something to order then opt for the vegetarian thali seems to be a popular choice among customers.

For the shopaholic in Dodoma

If you need to stock up on supplies you will find the town of Dodoma is not very well stocked with options with Shabibi supermarket one of the few options from which to choose from. If you’re coming from the city centre, the second roundabout on the road to Dar es Salaam you’ll run into a small supermarket on the second floor of the Shabibi gas station.  

Located at the Gapco gas station near the central roundabout is Yashna’s Supermarket. The biggest shop in the Centre (that does not mean much) with pasta, canned vegetables, chocolates, biscuits, frozen cheese, ground coffee and some cosmetics, but don’t get your hopes up if you’re looking for a wide selection of goods.

Can be found in Hatibu Avenue (near the central roundabout in the pink zain building). If you’re looking for something fresh and homemade then Two Sisters is for you. Purchase a range of cheese, dark bread rolls (sometimes), homemade delicious yoghurt, frozen foods, canned goods, pasta, wine, chocolates, candies, crisps, Indian cuisine snacks. As is the case with most of the city, you’ll be greeted by very friendly and helpful staff.  

For the explorer and site seer in Dodoma

You will need to pay to play around in this museum but once you’re in you’ll get access to this rather forlorn collection of rock samples and geological information. Be warned this isn’t the biggest drawcard to get anyone to visit a museum and you may not see anything that you would find particularly riveting. If you’re a fanatical rock hound, inquire at the Geological Survey of Tanzania Laboratory behind the post office.

The home of Tanzania’s parliament is an African-influenced round building. It’s only open to visitors during sessions (and make sure to bring your passport), but well worth a look from the outside at other times. Please note that photography is strictly prohibited so don’t say we didnt’ warn you if you land up in hot water.

Funded by the toppled Libyan dictator and opened in 2010, the pink Gaddhaffi Mosque can be found north of the centre is one of East Africa’s largest mosques. It can hold an impressive 4500 worshippers.

Lion Rock (also called Simba Hill or in Swahili, Mlimwa) is quite the verticle trek up a hill but once you reach the top the area gives you an unmatched aerial view of Dodoma from the northeast side of the region. Lion rock is one of the few landmarks in Dodoma you simply cannot miss out on during your stay. Hike the rocky path and enjoy a beautiful glimpse of the entire city of Dodoma. The Lion Rock Dodoma is a favourite hangout joint for groups of friends and families during the weekends.

Anglican Church

In an interesting swapping of styles, the domed Anglican church in the town centre looks like something straight out of the Middle East.

Catholic Cathedral

West of the centre, the enormous Catholic Cathedral has Roman-style mosaics showing some saints, including the Ugandan Martyrs.

Lutheran Cathedral

Next door to the Jamatkhana (Ismaili) Mosque, the Lutheran Cathedral is Dodoma’s finest example of modernist architecture.

Nyerere Square

Can be found in the heart of the CBD in Dodoma. Nyerere Square was created in the memory of Mwl. Julius K. Nyerere, first president of the Republic of Tanzania, and has plenty of historical significance. It is worth making a stopover and spending your lunchtime there while snapping a few photos.

The Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings are a series of caves carved into the side of a hill looking out over the steppe. They are located approximately nine kilometres east of the main highway (T5) from Dodoma to Babati, about 20 km north of Kondoa town, in Kondoa District of Dodoma Region. The caves also contain paintings, some of which are believed by the Tanzania Antiquities Department to date back more than 50,000 years. The exact number of rock art sites in the Kondoa area is currently uncertain, however, estimates are of between 150 and 450 of the decorated rock shelters, perhaps you’ll even discover a few new ones of your own.

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