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Living in Dodoma as an Expat

Living in Dodoma as an Expat

Living in Dodoma as an Expat

The city Originally a small market town known as Idodomya, the modern Dodoma was founded in 1907 by German colonists during construction of the Tanzanian central railway. The layout followed the typical colonial planning of the time with a European quarter segregated from a native village.

Dodoma features a semi-arid climate  with warm to hot temperatures throughout the year. While average highs are somewhat consistent throughout the year, average lows dip to 13 °C (55.4 °F) in July. Dodoma averages 570 mm of precipitation per year, the vast majority of which occurs during its wet season between November and April. The remainder of the year comprises the city’s dry season.

The transition to life in Dodoma seems easy on the surface.  There are grocery stores with recognizable fruits and vegetables, next to the dried merogo and phane worms, clothing stores with western clothing in fashionable styles, telephone and Internet services, cable or satellite TV, and a variety of amenities.  

You can buy your cell phones, speak English, find your wireless connections, organize telephone service, join a gym, go to restaurants and coffee shops, and in some areas use credit or debit cards, so sometimes you can wonder where I am.  Difficulties arise when one has expectations that if something resembles a service from home, it will replicate that service, which is not always the case.  

Activities in Dodoma Tanzania

If one wants household help—particularly to combat the issues with House hold — it is not difficult to find.  Unfortunately, the unemployment rate in Tanzania is high and many people come to the capital in search of jobs.  Although there may be a constant parade of people ringing your bell asking for work, given that somehow everyone will know you are new in town, it is best to use word of mouth to find someone. 

You can start by asking your contacts whether or not the household help they have know of anyone, friends or relatives, who need work.  Most people look for housekeepers and gardeners, although some may hire cooks or guards, as well.  My experience is that everyone knows someone who needs work. 


The official language in Tanzania is Swahili but there are hundreds of other local dialects. English is the second official language and the country’s commercial language. It is also the main teaching language used for all higher education institution. You will find that the majority of the people that you come in contact with are fluent in English and have a surprisingly good command of the language. 

Some useful and fun Swahili words and phrases are as follow: English / Swahili Hello / Jambo Response to Jambo / Jambo or SiJambo How are you? / Habari? Good / Nzuri How’s Things? (fun slang) / Mambo? Good (fun reply to Mambo) / Poa Have a good trip (safe journey) / Safari Njema Thank You / Asante Sana You’re Welcome / Karibu Sana Yes / Ndiyo No / Hapana OK / Sawa No Problem / Hakuna Noma Good Night / La La Salama.

An expat's guide to Tanzania
Groceries, markets, and shopping

In terms of grocery shopping and product availability, there are a number of malls in Dodoma City Although many items are available all the time, like bread, eggs, beef, and biscuits, one cannot always expect certain things to be stocked consistently. 

If you are organizing a braii (barbeque, we say at home), things are usually available, meat, salad makings, rice or potatoes. But when my children requested lasagne, it took several shopping trips to various places over time to assemble the ingredients, particularly the ricotta cheese.  This isn’t a problem, however… just a minor inconvenience.  I compensate for such moments by stocking up on items that I always want to have available.

Heal and Healthcare

In terms of medical and dental services, there are a number of choices of physicians and paediatricians and dentists from which to choose. Additionally, there are several different local hospitals with many services, but you would want to get a referral to a specific doctor from one of your friends or coworkers.  One can also go to Dar-es-salaam, Arusha, Mwanza or Kilimanjaro for medical treatment fairly easily.  

Arusha Hotels airport transfers to Tanga
Meeting people, clubs, gyms

While the local market offers some opportunities for expatriate spouses to work, jobs are not always easy to find.  Yet, one can stay busy with many other activities, including sports, art classes, and social clubs.

Athletic activities are easy to access, including golf, tennis, swimming or the local Hash, as well as working out at the local gyms, like GymActive in the Village, Energym in Broadhurst, and the G’West gym. Some have personal trainers (if you need someone to get you or keep you on your programme).  There is an indoor heated pool where one can either do swimming lessons or join just to swim laps.   

Several local galleries offer art classes, including decoupage and pottery.  Additionally, one can find individuals who offer various classes in their homes, like cake decorating and quilting.  Book groups offer another way to spend time productively and new ones seem to spring up from time to time, although there are several that have been going for years.  


While Dodoma is not seen as a shopping mecca, there are standard options, like department stores, and unique opportunities, including craft fairs, to exercise the shopping muscles.  Additionally, one might find it interesting to seek out shops recreationally, for the thrill of finding something you didn’t know existed (like the time in 1980 when a friend came across wilted celery in a grocery store in Kanye and made a complete ruckus…but maybe you had to be there). 

More about Tanzania Travel Guide:

Planning your trip? Whether you’re looking for things to do in Tanzania such as events and attractions, key traveller information to make your Tanzania visit run smoothly or are planning where to stay in Mwanza, you’ll find everything you need for your Tanzania holiday on Our Website. Tanzania Travel guide has the information about latest events not to miss while you visit Tanzania – there’s always something going on, so don’t miss out on the latest exhibitions, shows and more on your trip Tanzania

Discover the best day trips from Dar-es-salaam  or other Tanzania’s Cities. If you’re here as a family, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Tanzania with kids and find suitable accommodation such as Tanzania holiday apartments. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend breaks in Tanzania or planning a longer holiday in, you can be sure you’ll find all the information you need. 

Tanzania Travel Guide|  Climb Kilimanjaro and Meru | Beach Holidays in Zanzibar | Mwanza Travel Guide  |Dar-es-salaam Travel Guide  |Dodoma Travel Guide | Tanga Travel Guide | Mbeya Travel Guide | Arusha Travel Guide | Tanzania Safari and Tours | Africa Safari Forums | African Safari Questions and answers | Volunteers Guide