In addition to your climb costs, travel costs, and incidentals, climbers need to budget tips for the guides and porters. Though operators say that tips are voluntary, your crew actually depends on receiving tips as tips can represent as much as 50% of their income. For bad companies, who do not pay any wages to the crew despite minimum wage requirements set by the Tanzania National Park, tips can even represent 100% of their income! Therefore, unless you received extremely poor service, you should definitely tip. In nearly every case, the crew earned every cent, and MORE.
The tip amounts will vary depending on who you climb with, however, the typical amounts are:
- Porters $5 per day per porter
- Cooks $10 per cook
- Assistant Guides $15 per guide
- Kilimanjaro Guides $20 per day and up per guide
- Safari Guides $20 per day and up per guide
This is the money they should receive from the entire climbing party. So, if you climbed the 7 day Machame, the guide receives 7x $20 = $140 from the entire climbing party. If your climbing party consisted of 4 people, each person should contribute $140/4 = $37 (for the guide’s tip). To get a good estimate of the total tips each client should expect to pay, you will need to know the number of porters, cooks, assistant guides and guides on your climb.
I have read that 10% of your climb’s cost is an adequate tip, but this really depends on a lot of variables. How many people are in your climbing party? How many days is your climb? How many personnel are accompanying you on the mountain? How much equipment/food are they carrying? This changes between companies, so therefore it is best to ask your operator what the tipping amounts are. It is smart to get these numbers before you book, so you can tally up the entire cost when you compare companies.
Tipping Kilimanjaro Porters
- Tip directly to the porters, not the guides.
- Bring a packet of 50 letter size envelopes to distribute the tip.
- Determine a tip for each component of your climbing group: the porters, cooks, assistant guides, and the lead guide.
- Distribute it on the final morning of the descent usually at Mweka Camp or the Park Gate.
- Tip in either Tanzanian Shillings or US Dollars.
The average Tanzanian makes $40 per month. A $40 tip for difficult work for many days is a great wage and supports the local economy.
Certain countries are very willing to tip, such as people from the USA, where tipping is the norm. For other countries, where tipping is not typical, I cannot state enough how important the tips are to these young men who support the climb. Please do not withhold a tip from them for the simple reason that you are not used to tipping.