ClimbingTipping Guidelines for Kilimanjaro Climbers

May 22, 2024by awesafari

Tipping Guidelines for Kilimanjaro Climbers

Tipping is customary and highly expected on Kilimanjaro. This might come as a surprise to many, especially those from countries where tipping is not prevalent. The amount of the tip is also larger than on many other treks due to the significant crew size required for a Kilimanjaro expedition. For example, a group of six trekkers will typically have a support staff of 23, including senior guides, assistant guides, cooks, and porters.

Why Should I Tip?

At Awe Safari, our crew is paid above the minimum wage. However, to maintain a fair quality of life, the Kilimanjaro crew relies on your generosity to continue delivering outstanding service. The tipping system in the East African service industry follows an American-style model, where a tip is not just a reward for exceptional service but a crucial part of their income, bridging the gap between modest wages and the high cost of living in East Africa.

We request that clients budget for tips as part of the total Kilimanjaro climbing tour expenses in addition to your climb costs, travel costs, and gear rental costs.

Why Is Tipping Not Included in the Price?

  1. Crew Preference: Our crew prefers to receive their income as tips rather than salary because they can legally take home more this way. According to Tanzania Revenue Authority’s Income Tax Practice Notes, tips given as a reward for services are not taxable if they are considered a present for personal qualities such as faithfulness and readiness to oblige. Including tips in the salary would subject them to various taxes, including VAT, income tax, NSSF, and WCF, significantly reducing their take-home pay.
  2. Market Competitiveness: Given the competitive nature of the market, it’s not feasible for us to include tipping in our prices. Increasing our prices to account for tipping and associated taxes would make our tours less attractive, reducing bookings and negatively impacting our crew’s income.
  3. Service Optimization: Tips play a crucial role in motivating the crew. Linking performance to tips ensures that the team remains dedicated and avoids complacency, which a fixed salary might not achieve.

Can I Prepay the Tips?

Currently, prepaying tips is not possible. Even if it were, approximately 50% of what you pay might be deducted due to taxes and costs. Therefore, we prefer not to get involved in the tipping process.

Should I Tip Even If I Didn’t Reach the Summit?

Yes, you should still tip based on the service provided by the crew. Often, the reason for not reaching the summit is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which is unrelated to the quality of service. Your decision on tipping should reflect the effort and service provided by the guides and crew. If you feel the service was lacking, feel free to adjust your tip accordingly and share your feedback with us.

Tipping Guidelines for Kilimanjaro Climbers

Can I Tip Higher or Lower Than the Suggested Amount?

  • Exceptional Service: If the service was exceptional, feel free to tip up to the maximum amount suggested in our guidelines. However, we advise against significantly overtipping to avoid creating unsustainable expectations.
  • Good Service: If the service met your expectations, tip according to the guidelines.
  • Unsatisfactory Service: If the service did not meet your expectations, tip what you think is fair and share detailed feedback with us to help us improve.

Tipping Guidelines

While larger tips are always appreciated, our staff will be extremely grateful if you follow the guidelines below. These amounts are for the entire group:

  • Senior Guide: $20 – 25 per day
  • Assistant Guide: $15 – 20 per day
  • Cook: $12 – 15 per day
  • Waiter: $10 – 12 per day
  • Porter: $8 – 10 per day
  • Summit Porter: $12 – 15 per day
  • Toilet Crew: $10 – 12 per day

Crew Sizes for Various Group Sizes

Understanding your support team’s size helps calculate tips:

  • Group of 1: 1 Senior Guide, 1 Cook, 3 or 4 Porters
  • Group of 2: 1 Senior Guide, 1 Assistant Guide, 1 Cook, 7 Porters
  • Group of 3: 1 Senior Guide, 1 Assistant Guide, 1 Cook, 9 Porters
  • Group of 4: 1 Senior Guide, 1 Assistant Guide, 1 Cook, 12 Porters
  • Group of 5: 1 Senior Guide, 2 Assistant Guides, 1 Cook, 15 Porters
  • Group of 6: 1 Senior Guide, 2 Assistant Guides, 2 Cooks, 18 Porters
  • Group of 7: 1 Senior Guide, 2 Assistant Guides, 2 Cooks, 21 Porters
  • Group of 8: 1 Senior Guide, 3 Assistant Guides, 2 Cooks, 24 Porters
  • Group of 9: 1 Senior Guide, 3 Assistant Guides, 2 Cooks, 27 Porters
  • Group of 10: 1 Senior Guide, 3 Assistant Guides, 2 Cooks, 30 Porters

How to Give Tips to the Crew

The best way is to collect tips from the entire group and then divide them among the crew. Tips can be placed in individual envelopes and handed directly to each crew member. Alternatively, you can prepare two envelopes: one for the guide, assistant guides, and cooks, and the other for the porters, which can be handed over to the porters’ representative.

Expected tip amounts per client for some common routes and group sizes.

Group of 1 Group of 2 Group of 3 Group of 4 Group of 5
5 Days Marangu $280 – $350 $238 – $300 $198 – $250 $179 – $225 $182 – $230
6 Days Marangu $336 – $420 $285 – $360 $238 – $300 $215 – $270 $218 – $276
6 Days Machame $336 – $420 $285 – $360 $238 – $300 $215 – $270 $218 – $276
7 Days Machame $392 – $490 $333 – $420 $278 – $350 $250 – $315 $255 – $322
7 Days Lemosho $392 – $490 $333 – $420 $278 – $350 $250 – $315 $255 – $322
8 Days Lemosho $448 – $560 $380 – $480 $317 – $400 $286 – $360 $291 – $368

To help you calculate, here are the tip amounts broken down for each crew member

Senior Guide Assistant Guide Cook Porter
5 Days Trek $100 – $125 $75 – $100 $60 – $75 $40 – $50
6 Days Trek $120 – $150 $90 – $120 $72 – $90 $48 – $60
7 Days Trek $140 – $175 $105 – $140 $84 – $105 $56 – $70
8 Days Trek $160 – $200 $120 – $160 $96 – $120 $64 – $80
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