Ethical Policy

Our policy on looking after the mountain

  • Gas is used for cooking, rather than using firewood taken from the mountain
  • All rubbish is picked up and carried by your crew, then taken off the mountain, rather than deposited at campsites or strewn around the slopes
  • Where possible, many of your crew look to pick up any litter that they come across along the way – whether it’s our party’s or not
  • The aim of our mountain crew is to leave every campsite and trail as clean – and hopefully cleaner – than when we arrived.
  • Apart from the first day, your water is, where possible, boiled, filtered and purified, thus reducing the number of plastic bottles on the mountain.
  • It is the policy not to pick the flora nor disturb any fauna that is encountered by our climbs on the mountain, but to leave everything for the next group to enjoy.

Our policy with porters

KPAP logoThe mistreatment of porters is a troubling challenge in the climbing industry. We are fully fledged, approved partners of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project – KPAP – and the International Mountain Explorers Connection – IMEC – Partner for Responsible Travel Program.

We voluntarily participate with KPAP’s monitoring activities and allow KPAP to evaluate the treatment of our porters on all of our climbs.  By climbing with us you can be assured that your porters are well taken care of.

KPAP also helps to improve the working conditions of porters by:

  • Lending donated clothing at no charge to the mountain crew for use while climbing
  • Educating the public on porter working conditions and climbing responsibly
  • Providing industry guidelines for proper porter treatment
  • Offering educational classes to porters

Please consider supporting KPAP by making a financial contribution to enable them to continue with their Partner for Responsible Travel Program and free services for porters. To make a donation, please visit the KPAP donations page.

Kilimanjaro Experts’ policies towards the fair treatment of our staff are as follows:

  • Making sure each porter is properly equipped with decent footwear and warm clothing before agreeing to hire them. An inspection of each porter and his clothing is done on the morning of the climb.
  • Making sure the porters are given three meals a day for the duration of the trek
  • Ensuring that each porter is issued with no more than the maximum 20kg (plus 5kg of personal items)
  • Paying the porters a fair wage of Ts20,000 per day.
  • Making sure sick or injured porters are evacuated from the mountain immediately, and given the same level of care as trekkers.
  • Making sure that the number of porters you start with is the same as the number at the end (except where illness or injury necessitates that a porter return to Arusha for medical treatment), ie no porters are sent down early. This is done so that no other porters end up being overloaded with that porter’s baggage, and so that each porter gets the wages and tips he deserves – which often doesn’t happen if the porter is sent home early.
  • Ensuring that the tips are distributed fairly at the end of the trek. Kilimanjaro Experts have put into place a system whereby each group is given a form that states how much they have paid in tips. It is then a simple matter to check with the guide and crew how this was distributed. If you weren’t given one of these forms at the end of the trek then please let us know.
  • Encouraging each trekker to get to know their crew. Some porters speak English and will appreciate your efforts to speak with them. The words pole (pronounced ‘polay’) – which translates loosely as ‘I’m sorry for you’ – shows respect for porters after a hard day of carrying your bags; ‘Ahsante’ means ‘thank you’.

Tipping: our policy

Climbing Kilimanjaro is hard enough without having to worry about tips too.

But, as always, we at Kilimanjaro Experts do our best to make everything as easy as possible for you…

When you’ve receive the guide book and start to read it, you’ll soon come to the realisation that I dislike the whole process of tipping on Kilimanjaro.

However, I do also understand that it’s necessary: even though we pay them some of the best wages on the mountain, the porters still need the extra financial boost that tips give them to help them and their family thrive.

But I nevertheless dislike the whole process, mainly because some trekkers become worried and over-occupied with questions about whether they’ve brought enough money, and what’s the right way to give it to them too.

We also think that it’s wrong that trekkers have to carry US$300-350 with them up the mountain

There have been thefts on Kilimanjaro (in fact, this problem is increasing), and trekkers shouldn’t have to spend their days on Kili worrying about whether their money is safe or not.

So we at Kilimanjaro Experts have tried to make things as simple as possible for our climbers, while still obeying the strict criteria set out by KPAP (the porters’ charity that looks after the welfare of porters) to make sure there is no funny business going on, and that the guide is not trousering most of the tip money for himself. (Click this link to read more about KPAP’s tipping guidelines on their website.

The procedure we have devised is as follows:

1) Bring US$300-350 per climber (or more if you’re feeling generous or know you are going to rely on the crew more than most climbers). Please bring the money in US dollars cash if you can.

2) Give it to your guide at the briefing.

3) He will then add it all up and give it to our office staff, who will keep it safe.

4) Towards the end of the trek, your guide will tell you how it should be divided (when he’s seen who’s worked hard – and who hasn’t). Normally, the assistant guides and cook get twice as much as the porters, and the head guide gets twice as much as the assistant guides and cook. So if the porters are getting US$50 each, the assistant guides and cooks are getting US$100 each, and the head guide is getting US$200.

5) The money is then returned to you at the final lunch, which you take in Moshi, so you can then distribute it amongst your crew (and get them to sign that they have received it, so there is no misunderstanding).

6) The sheet with all the signatures of the crew and the amount they each received is given to KPAP, so they can also be assured that the money was distributed fairly.

We think the only way we could make this simpler is by collecting the tips from you before you go by, for example, adding it to the final invoice, and then just distributing it to the crew like a wage. Unfortunately, when we’ve tried this in the past we’ve ended up paying tax on it – and the main reason why our crew likes a tip so much is because it isn’t liable for tax. And besides, that really would ruin the whole point of tipping, as you wouldn’t then be able to show them your gratitude by giving them the tips individually.

I hope that’s all clear. So, in summary:

1) Bring US$300-350 per climber (or more if you’re feeling generous or know you are going to rely on the crew more than most climbers). 

2) Give it to your guide at the briefing.

3) You then won’t see it again until the final lunch in Moshi, where you hand it out individually to each member of your crew, having been told how much to give to each of them by your guide. 

4) And that’s it.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about any aspect of this procedure…