While tipping is not common practice in many countries and cultures around the world, tipping for good service on Kilimanjaro, and Tanzania in general, is customary and expected.
Local Moshi Adventures is a proud partner of KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project), a Tanzanian non-for-profit organization and initiative of IMEC (International Mountain Explorers Connection) overseeing the fair and ethical treatment of porters and mountain crews.
By being a KPAP partner we volunteer that every climb of ours will be monitored by a KPAP investigative porter to ensure we are adhering to KPAP guidelines, which include:
Porters are paid a minimum of 20,000Tsh per day (the wage amount accepted by the porter unions in 2014) (this minimum wage does not provide a living wage)
Salaries will be paid within 2 days of the descent of a climb
A transparent tipping procedure so porters receive the full tip amount intended
Loads carried by the porter don't exceed 20 kg for the company (this excludes the porter’s personal kit)
Porters are provided with three meals per day
Porters have proper shelter conditions and sleeping equipment
Porters are outfitted with proper gear
Sick or injured porters are properly cared for
Why are tips not included in the climb price?
The reason is Transparency!
Including tipping in the price would be a loss of transparency, as porters do not know how much a company charges for the climb or how much the company budgeted for the tip.
Hence, neither the client nor the porters know, how much of the climb price went into the company’s bank account, instead of paying toward a living wage.
Why do I even need the mountain crew?
Fact: Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible summits and a beacon for tens of thousands of visitors from around the world!
Because Kilimanjaro is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, the Tanzanian Government and the Kilimanjaro National Parks Department (KINAPA) have established strict guidelines to protect the mountain.
Therefore, according to Tanzanian law, a client must climb with a legally registered tour operator that has aquired a TALA license for Mountain Climbing/Trekking issued by the "Ministry of Natural Recources and Tourism". (This license is only issued to legally registered tour operators.)
For safety purposes KINAPA regulations indicate the numbers of guide/s per client, while the number of porters to support a climb is dependent on the amount of the weight.
Side note: Clients wanting to climb Kilimanjaro with a guide only, are required to carry all of their own gear and food items
Who are the Kilimanjaro mountain crew and why are there so many?
The Kilimanjaro mountain crew consists of specially trained guides, cooks and porters without whom reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro for many climbers would not be possible.
To ensure the safety and well being of porters when working on Kilimanjaro, they are not allowed to carry more than 20 kg per porter for the company (this excludes the porter’s personal kit)
The amount of porters on any given climb depends on the amenities the climbers ask for (i.e. private toilet tent, personal oxygen etc.)
Our minimum mountain crew for 2 climbers consists of:
2 guides (senior guide and assistant guide)
Please note: Trekking companies that are not members of KPAP and therefore not bound by the rules of fair and ethical treatment of porters, tend to use fewer crew members to lower their costs. This comes at the price of overworked and overloaded porters, making for an unsafe and unpleasant climbing environment for climbers and crew.
Mountain crew roles and duties are as follows:
Guides – guide you safely up the mountain and ensure Kilimanjaro Park Department Rules including "Leave no Trace" are adhered to
Cooks – provide all meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner) including special dietary needs or preferences
Porters – carry all of your food and gear, but may also have varying duties including positions such as waiter, camp crew, toilet porter, summit porter and medical porter
How much do I tip and how?
It is ideal to have a tipping ceremony during the last meal on the mountain or at the descent gate. Tips can be placed in individual envelopes with the climbers giving them directly to each crew person.
The tipping ranges below are per crew member and paid per group, not per climber:
Senior guide: $15-20 per day
Assistant guide: $12-15 per day
Cook: $12-15 per day
Waiter: $10-12 per day
Summit porter: $10-12 per day
Toilet crew: $10-12 per day
Porter: $ 6-10 per day
Local Moshi Adventures will inform all climbers as to how many crew members will be participating in their climb.