The Kilimanjaro tipping guidelines and budget for your climb depends on the duration of your climb, group size, climbing package and tour operator. You might be thinking, Why should I tip when I’m already paying so much to climb Kilimanjaro? While tipping is not mandatory, we strongly recommended tipping so that you can responsibly contribute to a fair total compensation for your crew, especially your porters, who rely on gratuities as a substantial component of their income.
For an average ethical climb, tips can easily amount to US$200 to $500 per climber, depending on your tour operator, package, group size and climb duration.
Let’s assume an average climb with the following tipping guidelines and crew size provided by your tour operator:
- Recommended Kilimanjaro tipping guidelines per crew member per day (USD):
- Lead Guide: $20
- Assistant Guide: $15
- Chef: $15
- Porters: $8
- Number of mountain crew:
- 1 Lead Guide and 1 Assistant Guide for every 4 climbers
- 1 chef for the group
- An average of 4 porters per climber
Based on these assumptions, we calculate the recommended tip depending on the duration of your climb and your group size:
For example, the above table shows the following tipping recommendation:
- For a 7-day group climb with 6-7 climbers, the minimum tipping recommendation is ca. US$ 300 per climber.
- For an 8-day private climb with 2 climbers, the minimum tipping recommendation is ca. US$460 per climber.
- Tipping US$250 or less per climber is only fair to your mountain crew for bigger group climbs of no more than 6 days. As the summit success chance is only around 50% in such short climbs (due to poor acclimatization), such climbs are generally not recommendable.
The recommended tip for your Kilimanjaro climb may be different as it also depends on your climbing package and tour operator:
- Climbing package: The more equipment is included in your package, the more porters will be required to carry it.
- For standard ethical climb (including a sleeping mattress, mess tent, table & chairs, emergency oxygen), there will be at least 3-5 porters per climber.
- For luxury climbs with additional camping gear (such as a private portable toilet or hot mountain shower) or safety gear (such as a hyperbaric chamber or stretcher) more porters are required to carry the additional gear.
- Tour Operators: The number of porters on your climb also varies between companies, even for exactly the same package and group size. This is because some companies send more porters onto your climb to carry all supplies from the beginning, while other companies use re-supply porters to bring fresh food half way into your track as well as to save on porterage costs.
- Fair Porter Treatment: Low-budget tour operators tend to pay your porters only a few dollars per day, which means that you should tip at least $10 per porter per day. Tour operators committed to ethical climb practices pay your porters higher wages, which means that your recommended tip is lower. That’s why it’s important to check the specific Kilimanjaro tipping guidelines with your tour operator. However, please be mindful that low-budget operators are unlikely to recommend you to tip fair amounts as they hope to get your business by keeping costs low. Thus, their recommendation is unlikely to provide a reliable basis for comparison with ethical climb prices. When adding fair tips to low-budget offers, the total fair price should be roughly in line with ethical climb offers. Therefore, if you care about fair porter compensation, it is best to book an ethical climb.
To quickly calculate the recommended tip for your own climb as per your tour operator guidelines (tip per crew member per day, total number of crew members), we have developed an easy calculation tool for you: