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Climbing Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Guides and Porters - Guides and Porters

Our Kilimanjaro guides are a cut above:

All our mountain guides are certified by internationally-recognized Sentinel Outdoor Institute (SOI) as Wilderness First Responders.

  • Fluent in English and Swahili
  • Each guide has 100-200+ professional summits of Kilimanjaro
  • Trained to use extensive emergency equipment, including Gamow bags, stretchers, AEDs, oxygen, and life-saving medications
  • Regularly check guests for signs of altitude sickness
  • Trained in high-altitude evacuations

Our Guides and Porters at Mount Kilimanjaro

On your Mount Kilimanjaro trek you will be accompanied by a our full support team of local guides and porters who are employed by Kilimanjaro Centre for trekking and Eco-tourism – KCTE to ensure you have a safe and memorable experience to the Roof of Africa. Our Guides and porters are from the small towns that are located around the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. They have a profound knowledge of the mountain, its fauna and flora and have lots of high altitude trekking experience. On the first day of trekking you will meet your full support team at the gate of your route start point. Guides typically speak good English, porters less so.

Porters carry all your gear (excluding your daypack) and all the equipment you need on your trek (tents, cooking equipment, food, water etc.). Each porter carries up to 20kg on their back or head. We limit the weight that porters carry to 20kg and new Kilimanjaro National Park (Kinapa) Regulations for Guides and Porters mean that guides and cooks are not allowed to carry any weight apart from their own gear.

Before you set off on day one, you will notice porters preparing and weighing packs of gear. This will be their load for the duration of the trek. Each day porters race ahead of you and your guide to make sure they get to campsites early and have everything setup for your arrival (tent assembled, food ready etc.) The average ratio of support staff is 3 porters for every trekker, 2 guides for every 4 trekkers, cooks and assistant guides vary depending on numbers. Here are example ratios of support teams to trekking group size.

· 1 trekker 1 guide / 2-3 porters / 1 cook
· 2 trekkers 1 guide / 5-6 porters / 1 cook / 1 assistant guide
· 3 trekkers 2 guides / 8-9 porters / 2 cook / 1 assistant guide
· 4 trekkers 2 guides / 11-12 porters / 2 cook / 2 assistant guides
· 5 trekkers 3 guides / 14-15 porters / 2-3 cook / 2-3 assistant guides
· 6 trekkers 3-4 guides / 17-18 porters / 2-3 cook / 2-3 assistant guides

Useful language

The local language in Tanzania is Swahili. Here are ten phrases that are worth learning before you arrive in Kilimanjaro and will impress your guides and porters to no end.

  • Hello – Jambo
  • Welcome – Karibu
  • How are you? – Habari?
  • Fine – Nzuri
  • Pole Pole – Slow, Slow
  • Please – Tafadhali
  • Sorry – Samahani
  • Thank you – Asante sana
  • Water – Maji
  • Goodbye – Kwaheri

Tipping Guidance

One of important component of our guides and porters alternative income is the tips they receive from trekkers. Tipping on Kilimanjaro is therefore customary and standard; however there is often much confusion on how much to give each support team member. In this information we have provided a guideline and worked example for calculating how much you should set aside for tips. We encourage using this as a guideline only. If you can afford to give more, then do.

Tips are usually paid at the end of your hike, after you have reached your final checkpoint and signed out with the authorities. It is customary to pay tips individually in separate envelopes, unless advised otherwise. We suggest you pay your lead guide who then re-distributes the money. Tipping guideline amounts are as follows. These numbers are per group, not per trekker. READ MORE