Since Kilimanjaro climbers bring an enormous tax revenue into the country, you would think that the Tanzanian government would do its best to invest in good roads, and to actually help their tourists get to the starting points of the routes. But just like any developing country, nobody quite knows where all that money goes. It definitely doesn’t go toward roads, infrastructure, or even toiliets (which is big cement hole surrounded by a tin shed). The starting point for the Machame route, now the second most popular route on Kilimanjaro, is sometimes a big pain in the ass to get to. Many times, the vehicles can’t make it up the final steep hill. It’s usually a huge mud pit, and sometimes clients have to walk up to the starting point.
The same is true for the ending point of the Mweka route. If the rain is bad, just when you think you have come to the end, you sit tirelessly at the ending point, hugging your friends, and realizing that you made it to the end. But wait, “where are the vehicles?” you ask your guides. Well, unfortunately, if there was bad rain, the vehicles might be another 2 miles down the road, outside of the gates, waiting for you in an easier spot for you to get to.
The point is, be prepared to start your hike very early, even before you get to the gate, and be prepared for an extra few miles at the end. It’s not always the case, but definitely part of the adventure.