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Scams on Kilimanjaro – Porter disappears, and then appears

Could you keep track of all these porters?

As part of the series of scams on Kilimanjaro by guides, this next scam is quite easy and happens to many people.

When you have a medium to a large-sized group on Kilimanjaro, the amount of porters can be deceptive. One of the oldest tricks on Kilimanjaro is to start with a large group of porters, have some of them leave half-way up the mountain, and then surprisingly they appear the last when tips are distributed.

For example, sometimes a group of 5 people might have 20 to 30 porters. Keep track of this many porters is difficult, they are picking up gear, setting up tents, fetching water, and moving early in the morning to make sure your gear stays ahead of you.

Here is what happens: The guide uses the porter for maybe one or two days until, say, some of the food has been eaten, he then sends them down early. At the end of the trip, however, the porter is magically in line to collect tips. Since you probably didn’t see him come or go, you naturally pay the porter the full tip – instead of for the one or two days they worked. The guide takes a cut from the porter.

What can you do to avoid this? Count all your porters each night. If some are missing, find out where they went, and why. Learn their names and become friends with them. If a porter only works a few days for you, do not pay them the full tip amount, pay it to them pro-rated.