The amount of work done by your team to help get you to the top will warrant a tip at the end. The porters do unseen work to help you get to the top and often carry some rather heavy weight on their shoulders/head.
Current thinking on the tip is 10% of your fee (not including park fee) to do the trek. In addition to this is the giving of gifts which includes clothing, head lamps and other items which will be shared around the porter team in peaking order (head guide, assist guide, cook etc).
At the end of your trek you'll be keen for a hot shower and potentially a beer. A great way to show your appreciation to your team of porters is to buy them a beer. I understand that this doesn't happen that much so, like my group, show your appreciation with a couple of cold drinks! We went to a small bar near the main Marangu gate and the bar lady had to run across the road to get supplies in! At only TS2000 for a 500ml bottle it was easy to get a few extra drinks in. The porters really appreciated the gesture.
To second the tip above:
If you have equipment left at the end of the climb that you wish to give to the porters then make sure that you hand it to them directly.
Do not hand it in at your hotel or to the company as it will not go to the porters who helped you out and will probably be sold.
They appreciate anything from clothing, shades, hats, gloves to old mobile phones (bring from home), batteries, radios and cleaning products. We took some stuff along for the specific purpose of giving it to the porters and it was greatfully received.
This should also be the rule when tipping your porters, make sure you carry enough cash with you to tip them on your way down. This will guarantee that they receive it and give you some peace of mind.
Buying a big bag of sugar cane and handing it out before setting off also goes down well.
If you are with a good company the team will get a basic wage. Even so, they will still rely on tips. When we did it the recognised average was US$5 per porter and US$10 for the main guide and any others who accompany you to the top. (Both daily rates). Obviously more is up to you. When it comes to the final reckoning a couple of extra people will be added eg because one of the porters was a cook, and another porter also helped guide.
We tried to be fair with our tips, so did not agree to this, and to be fair it was not pushed.
If you climb Kili you will see that the porters (for whom you will have the utmost respect by the end of the trip) have very little in the way of proper gear. We put any unwanted gear into a bag and gave it to the head guide who distributed it fairly. Some of the porters will sell the gear on either for something else that they would prefer or simply to feed their family, either way they will get the benefit of the kit you leave behind.
Most guides try to take the hikers' minds off the altitude sickness and fatigue by teaching them the "Kili Song" in Swahili. This was another song that we learnt on the mountain that was a bit easier than the traditional Kili Song. You hum along to it as you walk "Pole Pole" up the mountain...
Jambo, Jambo Bwana
Habari gani Nzuri Sana
Wageni, Karibu Kilimanjaro
Hello, Hello Sir
How are you?
I am doing great!
Welcome to Kilimanjaro dear guest
You can find old world chameleons in the rain forest at the begining and end of the Kilimanjoro climb. They can move each eye independently! Africans regard them as evil and will not touch them. If they do touch them, bad things will happen: they might have a child born with similar eyes! You should not touch or bother cameleons or any other animals or plants in the park.
It seems like beer is quite popular and the most sold brands are called Kilimanjaro lager and Kibo Gold :-) It was great having a cold beer after we had been on the mountain for a few days :-)