Clients are advised to bring enough money to cover the purchase of curios, tips for the guide and additional entertainment. US Dollars and Tanzanian Shilling are the most practical and convenient currencies.
It is customary for satisfied climbers to tip guides and porters. Amounts given are entirely within the guest’s discretion. As a general guideline however, guests are advised to budget from $300-$400 each for this, dependent upon duration of climb and crew size.
Below you’ll see our breakdown of how much to tip, based on the number of trekkers in your group.
Please read this article in full to understand why tipping on Kilimanjaro is so important.
Due to the growing popularity of trekking Mount Kilimanjaro, the mountain has in effect become a significant component of the local economies in Moshi and Arusha.
With this growing interest in trekking Kilimanjaro, local and international tour companies have proliferated and local residents in these towns have flocked to the mountain in desperate need of work. Unemployment is high in Tanzania and hence there is no shortage of people willing to do literally anything to earn a wage, albeit tiny.
Over the past few years the Kilimanjaro National Parks Authority (KINAPA) have implemented regulations to improve the management of the mountain and conduct of tour operators; however, the market for porters and guides is still poorly regulated and open to exploitation.
Because of this the minimum wage set by Kinapa is often not met by many of the local operators. Some pay as little as $2-$3 a day to their porters. Take a second to let that settle in. That’s less than the price of a Big Mac to carry around 20kg of your gear up a very high and rather dangerous mountain!
In a perfect world porters and guides should be paid a mandatory wage that is strictly enforced and regulated.
However this is not the case and therefore tipping on Kilimanjaro is customary and standard, but often very confusing in terms of working out how much to give each support team member.
Tipping on Kilimanjaro
In this section, we have provided a guideline and worked example for calculating how much you should set aside for tips. I encourage using this as a guideline only.
We will say now that our numbers are 10-20% more than many of the other tipping numbers you might find online. This is because we believe that anyone who can afford to trek Kilimanjaro as a leisure activity, can also afford to pay that little bit more to their support crew
Before you begin your climb you will meet your guide and porters. Typically guides can speak good English, porters less so.
Porters carry all your gear (excluding your daypack) and all the equipment you need on your climb (tents, cooking equipment, food, water etc.). Each porter carries up to 20kg on their back or head! Yes, 20kg.
Some tour operators limit the weight that porters carry to 15kg.
Note: new regulations mean that guides and cooks are not allowed to carry any weight apart from their own gear.
Porters race ahead of you and your guide to make sure they get to camp sites before you and have everything setup for your arrival (tent assembled, food ready etc.).
The average ratio of support staff is 3 porters for every climber, 2 guides for every 4 climbers, cook and assistant guides vary depending on numbers.
Tipping on Kilimanjaro – the breakdown looks like this.
1 climber – 1 guide / 6-7 porters / 1 cook
2 climbers – 1 guide / 9-10 porters / 1 cook / 1 assistant guide
3 climbers – 1 guides / 11 – 12 porters / 1 cook / 1 assistant guide
4 climbers – 1 guides / 13-15 porters / 1 cook / 1 assistant guide
5 climbers – 2 guides / 14-15 porters / 2 cook / 1 assistant guide
6 climbers – 2 guides / 17-18 porters / 2 cook / 1 assistant guide
The following are the daily rates for each climber recommended to tip per staff member;
- Per chief guide $25 to $30 per day
- Per assistance guide $20 to 25 per day
- Per cook $15 to 20 per day
- Per porter $10 to 15 per day