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Give Gifts As a Tip

cold.jpg.gifMany trekkers on Kilmanjaro not only give money as tips, but many of them give their sleeping bags, jackets, hats, gloves, tents, watches, and just about anything else you can imagine. Is this a good thing? Some say yes, others say no.

Many of the porters were extremely tattered clothes while climbing Kilimanjaro. You will feel bad for them, dont’ get me wrong. Occasionally you find some with out shoes, many with out jackets, and many without the basics for climbing the mountain. When tourists leave, it’s not uncommon to leave a jacket you paid $150 for in the United States, thinking that the porter will use it in the future – and always be warm going up the mountain. You did your good deed.

I don’t to sterotype many of the porters, as some of them do use the equipment left by others, but some porters have been known to take the equipment just given to them, and sell it at the local market. It’s not uncommon to walk through the clothing markets of Marangu and to se a nice Mountain Hardware jacket being sold for $10. The porter then goes back up the mountain with the same tattered clothes hoping the next unsuspecting tourist will come along, feel bad for them, and give them a present.

The best thing to do is to 1) tell the company you are using that it’s porters better be wearing proper clothes and 2) donate clothes to the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project that helps clothe the porters on the mountain.