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 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. Note that some porters such as waiters, toilet porters, and summit porters have additional responsibilities and should be given additional tips for providing these services (the amount is up to you).
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 group climbs, provided that their service was satisfactory. These figures are the total tips given by the group, not per client.
7 Day Route (per 16 person group)
1 Lead Guide, $130 - $150
6 Assistant Guides, each $80 - $90
2 Cooks, each $80 - $90
47 Porters, each $40 - $50
56 Total Staff, $2,650 - $3,220
8 Day Route (per 16 person group)
1 Lead Guide, $150 - $170
6 Assistant Guides, each $90 - $100
2 Cooks, each $90 - $100
47 Porters, each $45 - $55
56 Total Staff, $2,985 - $3,555
9 Day Route (per 16 person group)
1 Lead Guide, $170 - $190
6 Assistant Guides, each $105 - $115
2 Cooks, each $105 - $115
47 Porters, each $50 - $60
56 Total Staff, $3,340 - $3,910
On a seven day trip, each client should expect to tip between $175 to $220.
On an eight day trip, each client should expect to tip between $200 to $250.
On a nine day trip, each client should expect to tip between $225 to $290.
Clients in full or nearly full group climbs (12 to 16 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 than these ranges.
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 procedures for tipping on the mountain have been developed by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). As a member of KPAP, we follow the methodology set forth and believe that the process is fair and transparent. In the past, there have been issues with tip money not being distributed amongst the staff when given in a lump sum (it has been a problem on the mountain as a whole, not necessarily with our crews). We understand that our clients may find the tipping process to be burdensome or tedious. However, your efforts to comply will enable the staff that worked so diligently to serve you receive the money you intended to give them.
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. Note that the actual money is not placed into the envelopes at this time. The envelopes only contain the tip distribution sheets.
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.
Once back at the hotel, one representative from your party should collect the tip money from the group and give the total tip money to the lead guide. 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.
Each crew member signs a tip distribution report which we review after every climb to make sure everyone received their fair share of the tip money. KPAP provides oversight of the entire process to enforce fair and proper payment.
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. You may also tip the staff as a whole by putting donations into the tip box in the lobby.
It is not customary to leave tips at restaurants.