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)
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 excluding 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 the client 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 Parks Department have established strict guidelines to protect the mountain. These guidelines include requiring guides and porters to ensure not only the safety of climbers, but also the ecosystem and preservation of the mountain.
Can you imagine tens of thousands of climbers going up the mountain by themselves and the garbage they leave behind because no one is watching?
Thus, according to Tanzanian law, climbing Kilimanjaro without a guide or a porter is illegal.
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.
The amount of porters on any 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 group, not per climber:
Senior guide: $20 - 25 per day
Assistant guide: $15 - 20 per day
Cook: $12 -15 per day
Summit porter: $12 - 15 per day
Waiter: $10 - 12 per day
Toilet crew: $10 - 12 per day
Porter: $ 8 - 10 per day
Local Moshi Adventures will inform all climbers as to how many crew members will be participating in their climb.