Tipping the crew after your Kilimanjaro climb is an important local custom. The crew members, consisting of guides, chefs, porters and other staff, all works hard for you to have an amazing experience and to reach your goal of summiting the mountain. As a climber, it is not always easy to know how this works and what is expected from you. But don’t worry, we explain why it exists, what a tipping ceremony is like, and how much you should budget for tips.
Is tipping on Kilimanjaro compulsory?
Tipping after your climb is not mandatory, however, highly appreciated by the crew. Therefore, we always encourage our clients to budget money for the tipping ceremony.
It is worth noting that we have never met a client who has not wanted to tip their mountain crew!
Your tips are a key way of acknowledging and thanking your crew for all of their hard work in helping you to safely reach the summit. Keep reading to learn exactly what a mountain crew does on a Kilimanjaro climb.
How much to tip after your Kilimanjaro climb?
There are two types of packages to choose from when climbing Kilimanjaro; the classic package and the premium package. The differences between these packages is attributed to the fact that a premium expedition requires more equipment such as larger tents, camping beds, portable toilets and showers, communication equipment, and more food supplies. In turn, all of this require employment of more porters and other staff, which in turn increases the amount of recommended tip.
Following recommendation of tipping amount is the same for all routes:
- Lead guide: $25/day
- Assistant guide: $20/day
- Porters: $10/day (for each porter)
- Cook: $15/day
These amounts are per group of climbers and NOT per climber. You will be informed of the total size of your crew in your final briefing pack.
Calculated on above mentioned recommendation, the total amount of Kilimanjaro tipping per climber and expedition is normally 200-300 USD for the classic expedition and 400-500 USD for the premium expedition.
The Roles of the Mountain Crew Members
We have mentioned that a Kilimanjaro Mountain Crew consists of guides, assistant guides, porters, help porters, and a cook. Below we explain their different duties and how many of each are needed per Kilimanjaro expedition.
- 1 per group
- The overall trek leader, responsible for everyone’s health and safety
- 1 for every 2 or 3 climbers
- They will lead you safely and efficiently up the mountain, answer your questions, and monitor your health
- 2-3 per group (depending on group size)
- Prepares all your food (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)
- 3 per climber
- They carry food, camping equipment and everyone’s personal belongings, set up and strike the camp, and take on various other duties
- The number varies per group
- They work as porters but each has an additional duty such as serving as your waiter, washing dishes or servicing the toilet tent
If you’re wondering why each trekker needs three porters, you won’t be the first! The reason is that everything you need for your six to nine days on the mountain must be carried there and back. We’re talking:
- Food, crockery and cooking equipment
- Chairs and tables
- Sleeping tents, a mess tent and a toilet tent
- A chemical toilet (or toilets, depending on group size)*
- Sleeping bags and sleeping mats
- Medical supplies
- Personal belongings
What currency should I use for my tips?
Kilimanjaro tipping can be done in US dollars or Tanzanian shillings (TSh). Other currencies are not recommended.
We suggest withdrawing enough dollars before you travel to Tanzania, or drawing the necessary cash at the airport. Once you head to Kilimanjaro for your climb, you will not have an opportunity to get your hands on cash.
Please note that it is very important that the US bills are new (post 2013), crisp, and untorn. Otherwise they won’t be accepted by the local banks.
It is very helpful if you bring an assortment of notes for tipping on Kilimanjaro. In this way the climbing group’s appointed spokesperson can divide the cash into the appropriate portions for each member of the mountain crew.