Dodoma’s place on the map is as the capital of Tanzania and therefore important to governments and those involved. Other than the impressive landscape of its surroundings and its wines, it really is only a road to somewhere else.
But when you are in Dodoma, a hike to the top of Lion Rock, also known as Simba Hill (samba means lion in Swahili), is rewarded with excellent views over the town below and well worth the climb up, especially at sunset.
Also, make sure to taste some of the excellent wines as this is the only region in Tanzania where wine is grown due to its favourable climate. The most common grape varieties you see in Dodoma are Chenin Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. But it also grows a dry red grape variety called Makutupora, only found in Tanzania and well worth sampling.
It is possible to organise a trip from Dodoma to the Kondoa Rock Art caves, with the best work visible around a tiny village called Kolo. The rock art is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site and for a good reason. It is a spectacular gallery of rock art, where naturally occurring shelters feature paintings of people, animals and hunting scenes from over two millennia. There are between 150 and 450 shelters, showing the changes in local people’s existence from hunter-gatherers to agro-pastoralists over time. They are still considered important in local culture and religious beliefs today.
The Kondoa Rock Art caves are approximately 180km to the north of Dodoma, so transport has to be organised as well as a guide. A guide is compulsory, but it would be hard to find the sites anyway without one. In Kolo you can pick up a guide and pay the entrance fee at the Tanzanian Antiquities office, or alternatively you can find tour operators in Babati or Kondoa who can arrange trips. It is possible to see some of the art sites in one long day from Dodoma, but to get a better impression it is best done as an overnight trip.