When most people think of the capital city of Tanzania they assume its Dar es Salaam, however it is actually Dodoma after it was designated by then President of Tanzania, Mr. Julius Nyerere, as the capital in 1973. It was planned to move the National Assembly there in 1976 although Dar es Salaam, 302 miles to its west, remains its commercial centre. In reality, Dar es Salaam remains the de facto capital as the planned move mostly failed to materialise with the majority of ministries and embassies remaining in the 'former' capital. The move was initially planed in 1959 to provide the soon to be independent state (achieved 9th December 1961) with a capital city that was more central and accessible to the whole country.
Dodoma, located to the east of Tanzania's southern highlands, was founded in 1907 during the construction of the Tanganjikabahn (central line) 1000mm gauge railway built by Germany during its period of colonial rule of Tanzania, then Tanganyika. The railway, which is intact today, runs from Dar es Salaam harbour on the coast, through Dodoma to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika. The railway was constructed to improve transport in the country and carry agricultural crops to the coast for export. The city was named after an alleged incident when an elephant got stuck in the mud and locals exclaimed "Idodomya" meaning "it has sunk" in the local Bantu language of Gogo. At that time it was a recognised stopping point on the caravan route from the coast to Lake Tanganyika.
With a population today of just a few million (although the exact number is not known as the latest census is very much out of date), Dodoma has grown steadily since its founding however still has an antiquated feel with shops with tin roofs and wooden shutters straddling it dusty streets. In the last few years Dodoma has grown in prestige with the opening of two new universities, Dodoma University UDOM and Saint Johns University which has diversified employment opportunities from its existing agricultural base. It is also the centre of the country's developing wine industry. Attractions worth visiting include the Gaddafi Mosque and, well, to be honest, that's about it for Dodoma itself however Tanzania is an awesome country to volunteer in and, as such, the city makes for a useful base.
Dodoma Profile: Volunteer in Tanzania
Dodoma Profile: Dodoma City Map
Dodoma Profile: Child Sponsor Tanzania
Dodoma Profile: Tanzania Country Profile
Details of current volunteer work
opportunities in each of the
countries of Africa.
Discover all about Africa, its tourist
attractions, history, people, culture
and daily life there.
A treasure trove of African
resources from webcams to
free downloads and news.