"Machame Gate" Tanzania Things to Do Tip by ateach52

Tanzania Things to Do: 300 reviews and 506 photos

  Porters waiting at Machame Gate
by ateach52

On our way to the park gate we stopped to buy meat. There were lots of little shacks alongside the road where fly-covered sides of beef, chickens and various unrecognizable cuts of meat hung from hooks in the open air. It had been raining when we set off from the Keys Hotel, but by the time we reached the Machame Gate it was dry. The last 8 kilometers were fairly steep ? the gate is at 1850 meters ? and deeply rutted. We picked up some hitchhiking porters on the way, who hung from the back of our landrover. Once at the gate I had to sign in while Nickson paid the park fees: $405 for 7 days. There were hundreds of men milling about, some hoping to get hired as porters, others waiting to meet their guides. Unfortunately, there were only about 100 lucky ones today, so the others had to go home disappointed.
Nickson told me to go ahead with Nicolas, my cook/porter/assistant guide, and said he?d be with us within half an hour. I?d been a bit dubious about Nicolas at first, as he was wearing rather raggedly-looking dress shoes when we set off, but fortunately he changed into some fairly decent hiking boots after an hour. He carried my duffle bag plus a load of other stuff on his head, plus a bulky backpack ? weighing in total 23 kilos! I?d felt pretty good about having kept my bag down to 9 kilos, but hadn?t thought he?d have to carry so much extra stuff as well. Before starting off on the trail, all the porters have to pass through an official weighing station to have their gear weighed. There?s a limit of 20 kilos per person, but there's quite a bit of cheating going on, which I noticed when I carefully watched the whole process from a distance. Apparently many of the guides also cheat on the number of porters they take up, reporting a certain number to the park authorities, but actually taking fewer.

Address: Machame Gate / Day 1 Kilimajaro Trek

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 8, 2003
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