Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, is located in a central and isolated position at an altitude of 1,100 meters. The climate in this part of the country is arid and temperatures are high all year round.
Moody and I left to visit it on a rainy day🌧 and so we were able to take a cool trip, even if at times difficult due to the downpours that prevented full visibility.
The road to Dodoma passes through Kondoa, where we had been long ago to see the cave paintings: the memories resurfaced and they were very beautiful.
At the time of our trip to Kondoa, the road on the last stretch was a terrible dirt road, full of holes and gigantic stones. It is now completely paved and from Arusha to Dodoma, to cover the 450 kilometers that separate the two cities, it takes about seven hours. Connections have improved not only with Arusha, but with all the major cities in Tanzania.
Dodoma has not always been the capital: until 1973 it was Dar es Salaam, on the coast. President Nyerere’s choice to move everything to Dodoma undoubtedly had numerous reasons, the main one of which was to favor the development of the region together with the optimal position.
It was founded by the Germans during the colonial period, along with the central railway of Tanzania which still connects the capital to Dar.🚂
The city is small, everything there is to see is in the central area or not far away, with the exception of Dodoma University, located on a hill that offers incredible views from above.
Like several other cities, even Dodoma was, in former times, a point of passage for the caravans that moved from the coast towards the interior.
Let’s now take a tour to visit the most famous places.
The monument dedicated to the city is located within the central flowerbed of a square. It is a very austere modern monument with four pillars converging at the top.
The characteristic of Dodoma is the multi-religiosity, and in fact the religious constructions are the most particular. Very close to each other we find the Anglican church, with its numerous styles, and, opposite, the Lutheran cathedral, a very interesting modern building, with the Ismaili mosque next to it, much larger and more sumptuous, with clear references to the British neoclassic. Of course, it is exclusively frequented by the Indian community.
West of the center there is the Catholic cathedral: huge and with Roman-style mosaics.⛪️
To the north is an incredible construction: the Pink Mosque.🕌 This mosque, the largest in the whole country and one of the largest in all of East Africa, was founded and donated to Tanzania by the Libyan leader Gaddafi. It has the capacity to hold up to 4,500 people, but unfortunately it is not open to tourists.
Then, walking through the CBD (Central Business District) you will come to a large clearing. Inside, benches and kiosks. The ideal place, on a sunny day, to have a quiet lunch in the shade of a tree. The main attraction is a statue of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania and Father of the Nation. It makes a certain effect to be under it. Nyerere was truly an extraordinary man and the Tanzanians keep him deeply in their hearts.
Two other places worth seeing are the Lion Rock, north of the city, and the Bunge, the seat of parliament, which cannot be photographed.
The Lion Rock, also called simba hill, is an immense kopje from whose top you can admire Dodoma and its surroundings. There are currently restrictions on visiting it because the home of the Tanzanian prime minister was built next to it.
For geology lovers there is the Museum of Geosciences, with info on geology and rock samples.
Moody and I stopped for a couple of days, then, again on a rainy day, we went back to Arusha calmly, to note some characteristics of the landscape that are not normally taken into consideration, such as certain singular plants of the Babati area or the incredible landscape of the Manyara region.
A different trip, out of the normal savannah safari circuits for which Tanzania is famous, but always very interesting.
Today’s curiosity: Dodoma is the center of the growing Tanzanian wine industry.😊🍷