In 1973, Dodoma was designated as the new political capital of Tanzania. New Parliament buildings were erected and plans were drafted to shift all government Ministry offices to Dodoma by the early 1980's. However, due to limited water supplies and other environmental factors, this proved impossible and the plan was all but forgotten. Most ministries and all embassies are still in Dar es Salaam. Although Dodoma retains the title of capital city of Tanzania, government officials only travel to Dodoma for a few weeks each June when the government is in session.
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 11AM air-conditioned buses with more legroom leave from Dar and from Dodoma.
There are also buses to and from Arusha via Kondoa to the north. The road is not 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 12 hours, and breakdowns are common. The best plan would be to use Kondoa as an intermediate overnight point and continue north or south the next day.
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. However, the train currently (March 2010) only operates between Dar Es Salaam and Dodoma due to damages near Tabora. If you are in a hurry the better choice is by bus. If the train service is running again and you are heading west, train is better, especially in the rainy season.
Air Zara flies daily with the exception of Saturday between Dodoma and Dar es Salaam for 250.000 TSH on Monday and Thursday, and also to Mbeya. Tickets can be bought at the New Dodoma Hotel. Mission Aviation Fellowships' (MAF) small planes fly throughout the country; they have a regular shuttle between Dodoma and Arusha every Monday and also fly regularly to Nairobi and Mbeya. It is also possible to join other flights; for more information see their website and subscribe to their Joiner List.
There are many minibuses (dala dala) in Dodoma and getting around is easy. Taxis are plentiful too. There are three bus stations: city, at a place called Jamatini; medium distance, at the Saba Saba bus stand, to moderate-distance places such as Mpwapwa and Mvumi. Long-distance busses leave from the main stand near the Parliament buildings. Some companies, eg. Scandinavia, maintain their own bus stands.
Another way to get around is by bike. There are several laces in town which sell or rent (5.000 TSH/day) bikes.
- Bunge (on the road to Dar Es Salaam). The new earthquake-proof Parliament buildings are a must, although access may be restricted. The building may only be photographed with permission from Dar Es Salaam, so consider photography forbidden.
- Ismaili Mosque (next to the central roundabout).
- Lion Rock. Hike the Lion Rock (also called Simba Hill) in the north of the city to have a nice view of the surroundings. However, do it in a group of at least 4 people as there have been reports of muggings.
- Excursions. On request, Dodoma Travel Cafe offers trekking and excursions.
- Swimming Pool. There are two places with a swimming pool: The New Dodoma Hotel, (4.000 TSH for non-guests), and Climax Club, near the prison, where you can buy food, watch TV, and spend the day.
- Gym. The New Dodoma hotel also has a gym, 7-9 and 17-19, closed Sundays, 4.000 TSH for non-guests.
- Shabibi Supermarket (coming from the centre, the second roundabout on the road to Dar). Small supermarket on the second floor of the Shabibi gas station.
- Yashna's Supermarket (At the Gapco gas station near the central roundabout). The biggest shop in the Centre (that does not mean much) with pasta, canned vegetables, chocolates, biscuits, frozen cheese, ground coffee and some cosmetics.
- Two Sisters, Hatibu Avenue (near the central roundabout in the pink zain building). Cheese, dark bread rolls (sometimes), homemade delicious yoghurt, frozen foods, canned goods, pasta, wine,chocolates, candies, crisps, Indian snacks and very friendly owners.
Banks and ATMs
- Barclays Bank. Has a MasterCard/Visa ATM.
New Dodoma Hotel has excellent European, Tanzanian, and Asian food. There is also a Chinese restaurant of excellent quality (the owners are Chinese). Meals begin around 3000/= at the snack bar and go up to 12,000/=. Drinks are unreasonably expensive, at 2,000/= for a Kilimanjaro domestic beer.
VETA has good food, when they eventually bring it to you, but choice can be limited unless you are there during Parliament sessions. Prices are reasonable.
Nam Hotel also has excellent food, at reasonable prices. It's on the other side of the airfield.
Aladin's Cave Market Street near Victory Bookshop, good milk shakes, home made ice cream, yoghurt, Pizza and Burgers. Opening hours 9.30-13.00 and 15.00-18.00.
Roses's Cafe next to Cana Lodge, good and cheap Indian food (from 2.000 TSH, Thali 5.000 TSH), popular with expats, mon-sat 8-16 & 18-22.
Leone l'Africano Area C north of the airfield, great original Italian Pizza and pasta in very atmospheric setting, playground for kids. midget golf. Closed on Mondays. Once in the two weeks at Wednesday there is movie night (see: http://www.dodomacineclub.info)
There are two great places for ordering traditional grilled pork (kiti moto). One is down the road from VETA at the highway junction. A kilo of meat with kachumbari salad will cost about 2500/=. The other is on the other side of the air field at Jacana Park. Prices comparable. If you are fond of animals, hold your ears when they slaughter the pig.
There are also more atmospheric places, fresh and tasty on the Uhindini Road, across from Victory Bookshop, at reasonable prices.
- Acacia Bar and Restaurant, PO Box 1521 (7.5 Km from Airport roundabout on Arusha Road), ☎ . 7AM to 11PM. Acacia Bar and Restaurant is located at Twiga Hotel in Miyuji - 7.5 kms from Dodoma town. The restaurant serves local cuisine such as chips mayai and nyama choma as well as wonderful dishes of lamb, beef, fish, chicken, pork and many others. 3,000-8,000.
NK Disco operates on Friday nights and is popular with the younger set. A nice place to have a quiet drink and watch TV is at VETA.
For those on a budget CCT hostel, near the roundabout has clean double rooms, self-contained toilet, for 6000/=. Breakfast is included, but very basic. They do make an excellent omelet. Upscale is the Nam Hotel, across the airfield. Clean doubles, satellite TV, and good food for 18,000/=.
A bit up market is VETA, out near the Parliament. In fact MPs often stay there. Clean doubles (24,000/=) and singles (12,000/=) self contained, and a very nice TV bar, where you can rub elbows with important people. Food takes a long time, so order early.
The New Dodoma Hotel is across the street from the railway station. Excellent quality double rooms for 50,000/= and excellent food as well. They have a pool.
There are numerous guest houses of varying quality; Shukrani is nice but noisy (6,000/=)located right near a mosque, where you will be awoken by the morning call to prayer. There are also a rapidly growing number of smaller hotels, so shopping around is becoming increasingly possible.
- Twiga Hotel (Miyuji - 7.5 kms from Airport Roundabout on Arusha Road), ☎ . Check-out: 10AM. A 14-room hotel surrounded by 5 acres of lush gardens. Spacious rooms with DSTV TV, air conditioning, fine furniture created by Quantum Workshop, bathtubs and bathrooms in every room. Full bar and restaurant. Secure parking and 24-hour security. Wireless Internet available in rooms and around the six private garden spots. Suites 50,000 Deluxe 40,000.