Tipping on Kilimanjaro

Travel Advice Tipping Your Porters On Kilimanjaro

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Why you should be tipping your Kilimanjaro porters

Climbing Kilimanjaro is an incredible achievement but reaching the summit wouldn’t be possible without the help of your Kilimanjaro porters and mountain guides.

Kilimanjaro porters are the unsung heroes of the mountain, providing essential support to trekkers throughout their Kilimanjaro climb. They carry the majority of climbers equipment, set up camp and ensure that individuals have everything they need to reach the summit.

These incredible individuals are not only physically strong but they also posses unrivalled knowledge of the mountain and its terrain. Their infectious spirit and encouragement uplifts climbers, helping them push through the challenging moments.

Without your Kilimanjaro guides and porters, the climb would be much more difficult and less accessible for many people. Tipping is an important part of your Kilimanjaro climb as it recognises the hard work and dedication of the Kilimanjaro porters and guides who make the climb possible.

Here is everything you need to know about our beloved Kilimanjaro porters and why Kilimanjaro tipping is vital to the work they do.

Our local team in Tanzania

Who are Kilimanjaro porters?

Kilimanjaro porters are the dedicated men and women perhaps best known for helping climbers carry their gear to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Most Kilimanjaro guides and porters are local men between the ages of 18 and 40. Without them, conquering this majestic peak would be simply impossible. In fact, it is a requirement for everyone climbing Kilimanjaro to be accompanied by a Kilimanjaro guide who is licensed by Kilimanjaro National Park.

What do Kilimanjaro porters do?

The porters’ main job is to carry the equipment required for the whole team including personal equipment for each climber, tents, sleeping bags, food, oxygen bottles, medical kits, portable toilets and any rubbish generated along the way. Kilimanjaro operates a strict limit of 15kg per porter for your main personal equipment bag and this includes your sleeping bag, even if it is rented from us.

Once you reach camp, your Kilimanjaro porters are responsible for putting up your group’s tents and portable toilet. After your tents are broken down and packed away the next day, a few porters often trek ahead of the group to secure the best spot at the next camp ground. Making camp goes beyond setting up a tent though. The porter team gathers water, purifies it and supplies it throughout camp.

Your Kilimanjaro porters are literally with you every step of the way. As you get higher up the mountain, the porters will give you positive encouragement along the way. You may find on your summit attempt that some of the Kilimanjaro guides accompany the group to the very top to provide additional assistance, allowing you the best chance of reaching the summit.


The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP)

Established in 2003, the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) is a registered project with the Tanzanian Non-Governmental Organisation promoting ethical Kilimanjaro climbs. Kandoo Adventures are members of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), which is a nonprofit organisation that operates to promote socially responsible practices in terms of porters pay and welfare on Kilimanjaro.

We work closely with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) who publish recommended tipping rates and procedures for climbing Kilimanjaro. We comply with all their guidelines to ensure that our porters are paid fairly, given food and accommodations and that their loads are not excessive. This is all monitored and signed for after every climb we operate.

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) tipping recommendations

To give you a guide, KPAP recommended tips for porters are $5-7/day per porter. For other roles we recommend $20/day for guides, $12/day for assistant guides and $12/day for cooks. These figures are per group, not per climber.

Prior to your climb you will be provided with a copy of the tip recommendation amount for your group based upon your group size. The size of your crew can only be confirmed on the first day of the climb once all the bags and equipment have been weighed at the park gate. At the first camp you will be advised of the final number of crew and their position on the climb.

For groups of three or more, the average tip amount per trekker for a 7 day itinerary will be between $200 - $250. This will vary depending on group size and itinerary. Although this may sound like a high amount, on a 10 person trek there will be over 40 crew members!

Kandoo Adventures follow KPAP's guidelines for disbursement and we monitor the entire process carefully to make sure of fair distribution and proper payment.

Kandoo Adventures guides on the way to Shira Cave Camp on Kilimanjaro

The tipping ceremony

The tipping announcement itself will take place on the last night on the mountain. Your group will be supplied with envelopes to assist with the distribution of tips.

One representative from your group should say a few words of thanks, which will be translated by the lead guide into Kiswahili. Due to recent thefts on Kilimanjaro, we no longer advise our clients to carry cash with them during the climb, so the actual tip money will be presented when you return to your hotel. Your group will be supplied with envelopes to assist with the distribution of tips – one envelope for the porters and a separate envelope that you can use to tip your lead guide, assistant guides and cook. Three porter representatives will come to the hotel to accept the tip envelope on behalf of all the porters, and they will distribute the money themselves.

Tips can be made in US dollars or Tanzanian Shillings. It is very important that US bills be new (no more than 10 years old), crisp and untorn.

Do you have to tip?

The short answer is no. Tips are always discretionary and if you are not happy with the service you have received during your journey then you would not be expected to pay any tips at all.

That being said, tipping is a well-established practice and is expected. Tipping your Kilimanjaro guides is a way of thanking your mountain crew for all their hard work and we really encourage you to budget money for the tipping ceremony.