Tipping on Kilimanjaro is standard, and while many budget operators will tell their customers that tipping is at their discretion, the fact is, many mountain guides, cooks, and porters do not receive the minimum wage suggested by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) or the Kilimanjaro National Parks Authority (KINAPA), and so they depend on your tips to feed their families.
Kilimanjaro porters are the unsung heroes of the mountain, and once you have spent 7 or 8 days with your crew, you will understand just how vital they are. They carry your luggage, often up to 20kg, they carry all the tents, food supplies, cooking equipment, chemical toilets, and tables and chairs to make your mealtimes more comfortable, and they do so with a smile on their face.
There is no doubt about it, many people climbing Kilimanjaro simply wouldn’t make it to Uhuru Peak without the support of their mountain crew, and yet, many do not pay the tips that their porters so rightfully deserve. But the climbers are not always to blame, many are not aware of just how many crew they will have, and so they find themselves short of cash when it comes to the tipping ceremony at the end of their climb.
If you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro in the coming weeks or months, the first question you should ask your Tour Operator is how many crew you will have. You’ll be surprised at just how many guides and porters are needed for an expedition, but to give you some idea….
Group of 2 Climbers = 1 Lead Guide / 1 Ass. Guide / 1 Cook / 10 Porters
Group of 4 Climbers = 1 Lead Guide / 1 Ass. Guide / 1 Cook / 20 Porters
Group of 6 Climbers = 1 Lead Guide / 2 Ass. Guides / 2 Cooks / 30 Porters
Obviously, the number of mountain crew you have will depend on the company you book with, but generally, the better the company, the more crew you will have.
When it comes to tipping your guides, the amounts also vary, but here is a rough guide based on the amounts paid by leading Kilimanjaro Climbing Companies:
Mountain Guide: $20 – $25 USD per day
Assistant Guide: $15 – $20 USD per day
Cook: $12 – $15 USD per day
Porter: $8 – $10 USD per day
The above amounts are split between the group, and should be paid to the individual at the end of your expedition.