Tipping on Kilimanjaro and Meru: A Comprehensive Guide

When embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, climbing Kilimanjaro or Meru, it's essential to understand local customs. Tipping on Kilimanjaro is one such tradition, which, though it may be unfamiliar to some, holds significant importance in this region.

This guide aims to demystify the process and help ensure a fair and transparent experience for both climbers and the hardworking crew.

The Importance of Tipping on Kilimanjaro

tipping on Kilimanjaro

In many parts of the world, tipping is more than just a gesture of appreciation; it plays a pivotal role in compensating those who make our experiences unforgettable. On Kilimanjaro and Meru treks, the mountain crew works tirelessly, often under challenging conditions, to ensure climbers' safety and comfort. As a KPAP / KRTO partner company, while we ensure a fair basic wage for our teams, tips further complement their earnings, aiming to provide a sustainable living wage.

A tip plays a part in the compensation for the hard work your team on the mountain do and should always be based on the quality of service provided.

How Much to Tip on Kilimanjaro?

KPAP - KRTO monitored porter Kilimanjaro

Understanding the right amount to tip can sometimes be daunting. We've outlined the recommended tip amounts based on the current proper living wage defined by KPAP for 2023:

Kilimanjaro Tipping Guidelines:

Mountain guide: USD $85+ per guide, per trek*
Mountain porter: USD $45+ per porter, per trek*
Mountain cook: USD $65+ per cook, per trek*

Meru Tipping Guidelines:

Mountain guide: USD $50+ per guide, per trek*
Mountain porter: USD $25+ per guide, per trek*
Mountain cook: USD $35+ per guide, per trek*

* All amounts are per crew member, per trek from all of the participants in the hiking group combined. Your crew will generally prefer tips paid in USD ($, only bank notes printed after 2007) where possible. From time to time guidelines may vary based on factors like cost of living adjustments. Always refer to your booking document for the most up-to-date information.

It's common for trekkers to encounter crew members who go the extra mile. While tipping is based on service quality, those who stand out—like head guides, waiters, personal porters, and others— can sometimes receive a slightly higher tip as a token of gratitude.

How to Approach Tipping on Kilimanjaro?

Tipping ceremony Kilimanjaro

If you decide to tip, there are recommended methods:

  • RECOMMENDED METHOD - Cash directly to each crew member or entire amount to our lead guide: Put the amount of tip money for each crew member in an envelope with their name on the top and personally hand it to them individually or to the head guide at the exit gate to distribute in your presence. Most of your crew will go home directly from the end gate.
  • NOT RECOMMENDED METHOD - Pre-pay the tip as part of your climb package + a 25% processing fee (admin, bank charges, VAT) + card or bank charges as per your payment method chosen. Please speak to your tour consultant for further information on pre-paid tipping. All pre-paid tips should be paid 30+ days prior to the start of the trek else only a cash payment directly to crew is possible.

Important information about tipping on Kilimanjaro

Snowy summit on Kilimanjaro

Our primary goal is to ensure a seamless and memorable experience for you. By understanding and participating in the tipping process, you not only contribute to the well-being of the hardworking crew but also engage deeply with the local customs and traditions.

  • Office staff CANNOT ACCEPT CASH tips on behalf of your crew. All tips should be paid to the crew or head guide.
  • Clear any questions you have regarding tips during your initial email / phone correspondence with your sales consultant. All quotes from Shah Tours should clearly indicate your expected crew size and suggested tip.
  • Never feel pressured to give a certain amount of tip
  • DO NOT discuss the subject of tipping with your Kilimanjaro crew. It is against our company policies for crew to discuss tips however if you have any questions unanswered your head guide will be the best person to check with.
  • DO discuss the subject of tipping with other hikers in your group to make a combined decision for the final tip paid.
  • The distribution of tips is BEST DONE AT THE PARK GATES after your climb / before heading back to the base hotel as this is the end of the trek for some support team members and ensures each person receives what you intended them to receive.

Avoid discussing the subject of tipping with your crew, except with your head guide if you have any specific questions. It is best to clarify about tipping in advance of your arrival to Tanzania.