The city is located in Kadoma District, Mashonaland West Province, one of the 10 administrative provinces in Zimbabwe. This location lies approximately 166 kilometres (103 mi), by road, southwest of Harare, the national capital and largest city in the country. This location lies on the main road, Highway A-5, between Harare and Bulawayo, approximately 305 kilometres (190 mi), further southwest of Kadoma. Kadoma is situated at an elevation of 3,881 feet (1,183 m) above sea level.
The city is at the centre of a mining area, which provides gold, copper and nickel. The most significant mine of the region is the Cam and Motor Mine, which is located in Eiffel Flats, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), by road, northeast of Kadoma. Cam and Motor is the largest gold producer in Zimbabwe's history. Under the present regime, Cam and Motor is owned by Rio Tinto Zimbabwe. Cotton is raised in the area and there was some development of related industries before 1990. The David Whithead Textile manufacturing company was opened in 1952. ZB Bank Limited, a commercial bank, maintains a branch in the city. Another commercial bank, Royal Bank Zimbabwe, also maintains a branch here.
The city of Kadoma was known as Gatooma until 1982. Gatooma was founded in the 1890s as a mining camp, and constituted under a village management board in 1907. The settlement was named after the nearby kraal of Chief Katuma, who is represented on the town's coat of arms by the mountain bearing his name and the chief's badge of office.
The Specks Hotel was opened in 1907, and Jameson High School started the same year when Mrs Amelia Fitt, wife of the first mayor of Kadoma started to give classes to the town children in her house. In 1917 Gatooma Municipality was created. A public electricity supply was introduced in Kadoma in 1922. The Grand Hotel opened in 1925 and had a sprung floor for dancing, the first such floor in Zimbabwe.
In 2004, the population of the city was estimated at 79,174. The population of Kadoma was estimated at 77,749 in 2012.
In the 1969 census its population totalled 20,940 of which 1,879 were Europeans and 18,740 were African.
The city of Kadoma is twinned with Stevenage in the United Kingdom.