It is customary to tip your mountain crew upon completion of your trip. The decision on how much to tip should not be determined based upon whether or not you reached the summit, but by how well the guides, cooks and porters served you while you were on the mountain. The standard tipping amounts are roughly $20/day for guides, $12/day for assistant guides, $12/day for cooks, and $6/day for waiters, toilet porters, and standard porters. These figures are based on recommendations by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), the independent organization that advocates fair treatment of porters and is responsible for many of the improved working conditions of those who work on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Each group will have one lead guide. There is generally one assistant guide per three clients. There is one cook for every 10 climbers. There will be one waiter per group and one toilet porter per group. The number of porters in your party depends on the selected route and the number of days. Generally, there are two porters per person on the Marangu and Meru route, and three porters per person on all other routes. However, the number of porters is larger for small parties. Make an effort to know your porters and their roles if possible. They will appreciate the recognition.
Below are some approximate figures on how much to tip your staff on a full eight day climb, provided that their service was satisfactory. These figures are the total tips given by the group, not per client.
8 Day Route (per 12 person group)
1 Lead Guide, $150 - $170
5 Assistant Guides, each $90 - $100
2 Cooks, each $90 - $100
1 Waiter/Porter, $45 - $55
1 Toilet Porter, $45 - $55
34 Porters, each $45 - $55
44 Total Staff, $2,400 - $2,850
On a six day trip, each client should expect to tip between $140 to $190.
On a seven day trip, each client should expect to tip between $190 to $225.
On an eight day trip, each client should expect to tip between $215 to $260.
On a nine day trip, each client should expect to tip between $240 to $290.
Clients in full group climbs (12 people) should expect to tip on the lower end of these ranges. Clients in groups with fewer people (4 to 6 people), should expect to tip on the higher end of these ranges. Small party climbs of 1-3 people should expect to tip more.
It is against company policy for guides or porters to discuss tips during your climb. Unless there were extenuating circumstances that justify higher tips, please try to stay close the guidelines above, as gracious tips from customers have raised staff's expectations for ever increasing amounts. Likewise, if staff did not perform well, you should tip less.
Tipping Ceremony on Kilimanjaro
The tipping ceremony occurs the last night on the mountain, after the summit day. The group will receive two envelopes. One envelope is for tips for the guides and cooks. The other envelope is for tips for all porters.
Each envelope will have a form attached detailing the number of staff in each role. The clients should then fill in the amount of tip money to give each person. One representative from your party, a spokesperson, should collect the tip money from the group and place the total tip money into the corresponding envelopes (see attached forms).
The guide will assemble the entire staff. It is customary for the spokesperson to say a word of thanks to the staff. The guide will translate. Then the spokesperson shall hand one envelope to the lead guide and the other envelope to porters' representative.
Each crew member signs a tip distribution report which we review after every climb to ensure each staff member received their fair share of the tip money. We operate under KPAP's guidelines for tip disbursement and provide oversight of the entire process to enforce fair and proper payment.
Tips can be made in US dollars or Tanzanian Shillings. It is very important that US bills be new, crisp and untorn. Do not tip with marked, wrinkled, torn or old (older than 2002) US bills; they are not accepted in the country. It is very helpful to bring an assortment of dollar denominations for tipping.
Please consider donating your clothing and equipment to the climb team in addition to tipping them. Remember that the staff climbs Kilimanjaro many times a year and can go through their clothes and gear rather quickly. Your donation is of great assistance to these individuals, many of who are unwilling to spend their money on material goods they consider a luxury rather than a necessity. They will appreciate your generosity tremendously. Avoid giving items to your guide for distribution to porters. Donations should be given directly to individuals they are intended for, perhaps those with the greatest need or who were of particularly good service.
Tipping for Safaris, Hotels and Restaurants
The suggested tips for the safari are $15-$30/day for the guide (who is also the driver). So for instance, in a five day safari the guide can be tipped $75-$150 total from the entire group (not per individual).
Small tips ($1) may be given to hotel staff or drivers for their service, however this is not customary.
It is not customary to leave tips at restaurants.