Porter Treatment and Tipping Guidelines

KPAP advocates for the following porter treatment standards:

  • Porters are paid a minimum of 20,000Tsh per day, the wage amount accepted by the porter unions in 2014
  • Salaries must be paid within 2 days of the descent of a climb
  • A transparent tipping procedure so porters receive the full tip amount intended for them (see Tipping Recommendations below)
  • Loads carried by the porter should not 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

Tipping Recommendations

While we realize that tipping may not be a common practice in all countries and cultures, it does play a part in the financial compensation for a Kilimanjaro climb.  KPAP advocates that companies pay porters at least 20,000Tsh per day. This is a good basic wage but it does not equate to a living wage. KPAP promotes that a fair minimum compensation – from salary and tip – for a porter’s work done properly is 33,000Tsh per day (US $15.00).

Many people recognize the hard work that the porters do to support the climb.  We suggest that climbers consider paying a tip amount in the range of US $6 to $10 per day depending on the level of service provided.  It is ideal to tip porters directly or to announce the amount that you would like them to receive.

We encourage climbers to consider a minimum tip amount that would supplement the salary payment to attain at least 33,000Tsh (US $15.00). Tipping is, of course, still based on the crew meeting your expectations. In order to determine the appropriate tip amount, it is necessary to know the wage amount per day paid by the climbing company as well as the number of porters assisting the climb.

Kindly note that there may be specialty porters on your climb with positions such as waiter, camp crew, toilet porter, summit porter, medical porter.  It is ideal if these porters receive extra compensation for their additional responsibilities beyond a regular porter.

Because there is no enforcement of a minimum wage for porters, climbing companies can pay different amounts with the industry average at 14,500 Tsh (US $6.50) per day. Once you know the daily wage amount being paid to the porters you can calculate the tip amount to compensate at least 33,000 Tsh (US $15.00) per day. The challenge is to know the actual amount paid as many companies may claim to pay US $10 per day which is not the reality.

tents on Kilimanjaro

Following KPAP’s tipping recommendations will ensure your crew are paid an appropriate living wage for the labor-intensive work that supports your climb. Companies that are a partner with IMEC’s Partner for Responsible Travel Program are required to pay their porters at least 20,000 Tsh/day to guarantee a basic standard and lessen the burden on the tipping.

Tipping Procedures

Climbing companies should share tipping guidelines and a transparent distribution procedure before you begin your climb. You should also be informed of the number of crew that will be assisting you during your climb at your Climber Briefing. If your company does not provide this information, please ask them. This information will help you know the amount of tip before the climb.

We encourage you to meet your crew at your first campsite to ensure you have the number of crew promised by the company. You can write a list with each crew person’s name and refer to this list at the end of the climb when you distribute tips.

porters walking in the forest on the mountain

The practice of kirunje can exist on Kilimanjaro.  This occurs when extra porters are present at the tipping ceremony who, in reality, did not work on your climb.  The aim is to obtain extra tip money from the clients.  We encourage you to know the exact number of guide/s, cook/s and porters supporting your climb.

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. We highly recommend tipping each crew person directly to ensure that the full amount of tip is received by the crew member.

If you choose to give the full tip to the guide, please announce the total amount in front of the entire crew and indicate the tip amount that each porter will receive.  The guide should repeat this in English and Swahili so that all can understand.

Uhuru Peak from the air

Remember: If the price seems too good to be true, it is!

Please keep in mind that the lower the costs of a climb, the higher the probability that an operator may not be adhering to proper treatment standards. As a result, well-meaning individuals and organizations inadvertently become part of porter exploitation by climbing with a company that sacrifices the salaries and working conditions of their staff in order to offer low climb prices.