Well trained and locally qualified guides, all experts on the mountain, will be with you throughout, along with a large team of porters and cooks who are all there to make the climb as enjoyable and safe as possible.

The average ratio of support staff to climbers is 1 guide/assistant guide per 2/3 climbers, 2 porters per climber, and 1 cook per 6 climbers. This high staff to climber ratio will not only help ensure your safety and enjoyment of the mountain but will also greatly enhance the opportunity for a successful ascent. It means a group of 12 climbers will be accompanied by 2 guides and 4 assistant guides, 24 porters and 2 cooks making a total group size of 42 people.

Guides are compulsory for all routes on Kilimanjaro. They will have had many years of experience as a porter before being able to train and qualify and then register with the Kilimanjaro National Parks Board. Their leadership and encouragement is vital, for not only are they experts at leading expeditions up Kilimanjaro, they are also trained to recognise the signs of altitude sickness and their advice on dealing with it is invaluable. Occasionally mountain sickness can lead to Acute Mountain Sickness, which requires immediate descent and attention. The guides know the difference between the two and their advice on whether or not you can continue should not be ignored – they are the experts.

The porters carry all of the camp gear, food and your personal kit up and down the mountain. There are strict limits on the weights porters are allowed to carry and the Park Authorities will weigh the loads at the entrance gates before allowing you to start the climb. Once on the way the porters will tend to shoot on ahead and have camp set up long before you arrive. While the cooks prepare all the food the porters are responsible for producing water for washing and boiling enough drinking water to last you through the next day of climbing.  After you have left camp each day the porters will pack up all the gear, overtake you and set up the new camp.

Tipping is expected on every Kilimanjaro climb and you should budget accordingly. The decision on how much to tip should not be determined based upon whether or not you reached the summit, but on how well the guide, cook and porters looked after you during the climb. Tips are given at the completion of your trip, not before you and all your gear is off the mountain, and should be done in front of all the staff by one member from your party, who should collect together all the tips from the group to. You should not give the entire tip to the guide for distribution but make individual presentations although the porters can be done collectively. We can advise on tipping once we know how big a group you will be in and which route you are going to do but as a guide each person should budget on tipping around US$ 200.
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