Dodoma, Tanzania Travel Guide

Mikumi National Park

The city of Dodoma, was proclaimed in 1974 as the capital of Tanzania. In the past, Tanzania’s capital was the port city of Dar Es Salaam, but due to Dodoma’s central location, it was decided to change this. With its location in the Dodoma region, you are guaranteed a wide range of experiences within easy reach. You will no doubt travel from Dodoma with your backpack full of newly acquired memories.

In Dodoma there is especially much to see for the nature-loving tourist. The city is 2,669 km2 large, of which only 625 km2 is built on. If you also want to dig a little deeper into Tanzania’s history, Dodoma also has plenty of possibilities.

Dodoma’s location

Dodoma is located in the very center of Tanzania, which was also the main reason why Dodoma was made the capital in 1974. The central location creates the opportunity to experience large parts of Tanzania. However, this means that some slightly longer trips must be planned if you want to experience Tanzania’s great treasures.

Experiences in Dodoma

Markets in Dodoma

Something many tourists enjoy when visiting Dodoma are the city’s outdoor markets. In Dodoma is a central market where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables in all kinds of colors. In the market, your sense of smell will also be put into play when you arrive at the many stalls with spices.

In the central market it is not possible to buy meat. There you, on the other hand, need 13 km. out of town to Babati highway. Here you will find the market Msalato Mnadani, where you can experience the local butchers standing in line and selling off their livelihoods.

According to, the Sabasaba 2nd hand market in Dodoma is definitely worth a visit, for those with an interest in clothing. The market is just over 1 km. far, and offers everything the heart desires of traditional clothing, shoes and fabric.

Gaddafi Mosque

About 35 percent. of the Tanzanian population are Muslims, which can also be felt in Dodoma. The city houses Tanzania’s largest mosque, whose sumptuous decoration is worth a visit. The mosque is named after the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, whom we probably know best in connection with the Arab Spring back in 2010-2011. Gaddafi was also behind the collection for the construction of the Mosque. The building was inaugurated in 2010 by Tanzania’s then President Jakaya Kiwete.

Kondoa Irangi rock paintings

About 20 km. from the Kondoa district you can experience a series of caves knocked into the hills. The caves store a large number of cave paintings, which date back to 1500 years. The very unique paintings depict the ancient tribes, various animals, as well as sketches of hunting scenes, as they took place several hundred years back in time. The exact number of paintings is still unknown, but it is believed that the caves contain 150-450 decorated rock walls.

Mikumi National Park

Africa is the obvious safari country, and it is also possible to experience the animals up close, during its stay in Dodoma. However, one must prepare for a full day trip out of the Dodoma region. If you live in eastern Dodoma, you can go to Mikumi National Park. There is a 2.5 hour drive, but both the trip on the way there and the park itself offers beautiful African nature.

Mikumi National Park is with its 3,230 km2 Tanzania’s fourth largest national park. The park was established back in 1964 and borders the popular game reserve Selous. The two natural areas together form a completely unique ecosystem.

Mikumi Park is thus a fantastic habitat for the African animals. On safari through the park you will be able to experience everything from tree-climbing lions to wildebeest, which walk in droves across the river plain Mkata. The park also offers buffalo, hippos, giraffes, elephants and several different species of antelope.

Bonus info: For those interested in birds, it should be mentioned that 400 different bird species have been registered in the park.

Mikumi National Park

Dodoma’s history

1907 – An old German colony

Dodoma was originally created by German colonists in 1907, where it served as a small Gogo village. Following Germany’s defeat during World War I, the British take power over Tanganayika. The British had a special focus on the cities of Dar Es-Salaam and Arusha, which is why Dodoma’s importance slowly diminished.

But in 1961 …

In 1961, Tanganayika gained independence from the British. Two years later, the country was divided into regions and the Dodoma region was thus created. In 1974, it was decided that in future Dodoma would act as the capital of Tanzania instead of Dar Es-Salaam. This decision was made based on the city’s central location, as well as the city’s great development potential.

A sunken cattle?

In the language of the local Wagogo people gogo, Dodoma means “It has sunk”. There are several different myths about how the city got its name. One of the most heard is that the Wagogo people stole a herd of cattle from their southern neighbors, the Wahehe people. They then killed and ate the animals, but kept their tails. When the Wahehe people came to look for the cattle, they found only the tails sticking out of the muddy ground. The Wagogo people shouted to the Wahehe people; “Your cattle have sunk in the mud”.