Tipping customs vary all over the world. On Kilimanjaro, tipping is an accepted practise that we support and we have set out below what is recommended. Tips are not a substitute for good wages: our crews are all well paid and well looked after.
The Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Program ("KPAP") is a non-profit organisation that sets the benchmark for best practise in all matters related to porter welfare. The unfortunate truth is that in today's world many porters are still exploited economically and treated unfairly by local operators. Essentially, as a member of KPAP we allow them unfettered access to any and all of our climbs to ensure that we operate to the best porter welfare practices at all times.
KPAP have clear guidelines on the payment of tips to which we adhere. Our advice below is based on KPAP's recommendations.
So, how much money should you expect to pay in tips?
Tipping is completely voluntary, and at your discretion. If you receive bad service or have not been treated well, you would not be expected to tip at all. Of course, that won’t happen on one of Kandoo’s climbs.
KPAP has published recommendations on the amount that it is customary to tip Kilimanjaro porters. For groups of three or more for a seven day climb, tips work out to between $200 and $250 in total per climber. Longer climbs would be a bit more, and shorter climbs perhaps a bit less, at your discretion. This might sound a lot but bear in mind that with a group of 10 climbers, your crew will number over 40.
Prior to your climb we will provide you with a copy of the tip recommendation for your group, based on an estimated crew number. The actual 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, and you will be advised of the final number of crew at your first campsite.
Paying tips and the farewell ceremony
Tips can be paid in US Dollars or Tanzanian Shillings, but it will help if you have a mixture of low denomination notes. It is very important that US bills are new (post 2006), crisp and untorn.
The tipping ceremony itself will take place on the last night on the mountain, and you will be provided with some envelopes to assist you with the distribution of tips. One representative from your group should say a few words of thanks, which will be translated by your lead guide into kiSwahili, and then hand out the tip envelopes. The porters will nominate three of their number to accept the tip envelope on behalf of all the porters, and will distribute the money themselves. Separate envelopes will be supplied for your lead guide, assistant guides and cook.
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 ensuring that our porters and crew are properly rewarded for all of their hard work.