Tips for the crew who help you climb Kilimanjaro
Before booking with us please make sure you are happy with the information about tips below
Before thinking about tips for your crew we would encourage you to watch the video linked here on the work of the Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Program (“KPAP”) and, if you have the time, the documentary on porters treatment called “Porters on the Stone of God”: both give a fascinating insight into how some operators abuse porters.
KPAP is a Tanzanian non-profit organization that works tirelessly on behalf of porters to ensure their fair treatment. We have been accepted as a KPAP/IMEC Partner for Responsible Travel Company and we agree that KPAP has unrestricted access to all of our climbs to ensure we operate within their recommended procedures. KPAP advocates for proper porter treatment according to guidelines that have been established by the Tanzanian authorities and stakeholders which we follow.
Planning how much money you might need for tips
Tips are always discretionary and if you are not happy with the service you have received you do not have to pay tips. We realize that tipping may not be a common practice in all countries but for Kilimanjaro, it is a standard practice that all operators support. KPAP publish recommendations for tips and for groups of more than 2 they work out at between $200-$250 per climber for a 7-day climb. (For smaller groups of one or two people the recommended tips would work out at around $300-$380 per climber). We will send you a copy of your tip recommendation prior to your climb, based on the number of people in your group and estimated crew size. Please bear in mind that this may change slightly as the final size of your crew cannot be confirmed until all the bags and equipment has been weighed at the park gate on the first day of the climb.
Recommended ways to pay tips
KPAP has recommended the following tipping procedure, whereby crew members are tipped individually. Tips can be paid in US Dollars or Tanzanian Shillings, but having a mixture of low denomination notes will make the process easier. It is very important that US bills are new (post-2006), crisp and untorn.
On the last evening of your trek, all members of the crew will come together for a tipping ceremony. You will be supplied with some envelopes to help you distribute the tips. One representative from your group should give a short speech which the lead guide will translate into Kiswahili, and then the tip envelopes can be handed out. One envelope should be used for the tips for all the porters, and three of them will be nominated to accept the tip on behalf of them all. You will have separate envelopes for tipping your lead guide, assistant guides and cook.
What usually follows is that some member of the staff will express their gratitude and the staff will probably sing a traditional song of congratulation for the success of the trip.
Although some trekkers may feel a little uncomfortable with the formality of this ceremony, it is actually a very Tanzanian way of doing things and makes the staff feel most comfortable. Everything is very open and it is a nice acknowledgement of the invaluable contribution made by the staff to the success of the trek. Please do not be offended if the porters count the money they receive immediately in front of you – this is just their way and not meant to be disrespectful.
Thank you for your help in ensuring our porters and crew are well treated.