Kilimanjaro tipping guide
There is lots of etiquette to consider when it comes to tipping on Kilimanjaro. It is essential that you understand the tipping guidelines before you climb. We have therefore put together this essential Kilimanjaro tipping guide so that you understand the jobs of your guides and porters. Having this background knowledge will vastly improve your trip. It will ensure you know why it is important to tip, how to do it properly and where your money is going.
Firstly, here’s a fun video of the guides and porters dancing at the tipping ceremony. What’s the tipping ceremony!? Read more about the tipping ceremony below.
What is Kilimanjaro tipping?
Kilimanjaro tipping is an essential and customary way of paying your mountain crew. It recognises their hard work in helping you summit. It is considered a universal custom on Kilimanjaro and is regulated by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP).
What is the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project?
The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) is a legally registered Tanzanian not-for-profit organisation. Their mission is to improve the working conditions of the porters on Kilimanjaro and in turn promote socially responsible Kilimanjaro climbs. KPAP is not a porter membership organisation or a tour operating business. They do not collect any fees from porters or climbing companies. They publish recommended wages and Kilimanjaro rates for mountain crews, which Follow Alice, and all reputable travel companies, have to follow.
Who are the Kilimanjaro mountain crew and why do we need them?
The mountain crew are an essential group of support staff that help you summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Your extensive team consists of hard-working Kilimanjaro porters, guides and cooks. They provide specially trained support throughout the climb to assist you in reaching the summit.
- Porters – carry all of your food and gear.
- Guides – guide you safely and efficiently up the mountain.
- Cooks – provide all meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner).
We organise all of our Kilimanjaro crews alongside Chris, our local travel leader. Our Kilimanjaro guides are licensed by the Kilimanjaro National Park and speak fluent English. They are trained in acute mountain sickness (AMS) and mountain first aid. Importantly, they understand the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety need be.
How big is a Kilimanjaro mountain crew?
The size of your Kilimanjaro crew depends on how many members are in your climbing group and how much your bags weigh. This ultimately effects how much you will need to tip. According to the guidelines set out by KPAP, each Kilimanjaro porter is allowed to carry a maximum of 20kg (including their own gear). We cap each bag at a maximum weight of 16kg. This means we know exactly how many guides and porters will be required before the trip, and therefore an accurate Kilimanjaro tipping budget for each climber. This keeps recommended Kilimanjaro tipping budgets transparent and to a minimum.
- Porters – 3 per person
- Lead guide – 1 per group
- Assistant guide – 1 per 2-3 climbers
- Cook – 1 per group
That seems like a lot of team members. Why so many?
Kilimanjaro porters are responsible for carrying all gear, tents, cooking supplies and water. Cheaper trekking companies for Kilimanjaro use fewer support staff to lower their costs. However, this comes at the price of overworked or overloaded staff. Every single porter and guide is an essential part of the team. They all work hard to make your Kilimanjaro trip is safe and enjoyable.
Can I climb Kilimanjaro without guides and porters?
No. According to Tanzanian law, climbing Kilimanjaro without a guide or a porter is illegal. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a challenge and a serious commitment. In order to have a safe and enjoyable experience you need an experienced team of support staff around you.
Do I have to give Kilimanjaro tips?
Tipping is discretionary and you are under no legal obligation to tip. However, it is expected. This is because it has always constituted a significant proportion of a guide or porter’s salary. Tipping may not be common practice in all countries and cultures, but it does play a large part in the financial compensation for a Kilimanjaro climb. While Follow Alice adhere to KPAP recommendations by paying porters a fair basic wage, it does not equate to a living wage. We therefore encourage climbers to consider a tip amount that would supplement the salary payment. Tipping is, of course, still based on the crew meeting your expectations. They have to work hard to earn their tips.