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Tipping in Africa

21 May, 2019
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Tipping in Africa

It can be something of a minefield to work out who to tip and how much they should have when travelling.

Read on here for a few tips about how to tackle tipping when you are on safari in Africa.

Why tip?

As a rule, it is always up to you whether you tip or not.

Many people choose to give tips to show that they appreciate the service they have received. If you have experienced particularly good service, you can give more than if, for example, you have experienced satisfactory service.

In some places, the tip means a lot, especially to service staff (maids, guides, chefs and waiters), because their wages are not always enough to make ends meet. But always follow your gut instinct and tip if you feel the staff have done a good job.

How should you give tips?

For many people, giving the tip can feel awkward and unnatural. But in a lot of countries it is quite normal, and after a while you get used to it.

In some places, there will be a box for tips. It may be a shared box, but there may also be a box for each guide. If there is no box, you can give the money directly at the end of a tour or after a day trip, in an envelope or using the “handshake trick”, for example.

In some places you may also be lucky enough to be able to tip by credit card, but you shouldn’t count on that.

Tipping in African countries

Tipping customs vary in different countries. Below is a guideline on how much to tip at our various African destinations.

NB: The amounts are in USD and in the local currency (exchange rate: May 2019). Ideally, you should have some of the local currency to tip with.

Kenya

In Kenya, it is the norm to tip guides, service staff and waiters.

As a rule of thumb, you can give:

  • Guide: Around 10–15 USD (1000–1,500 KES) per person per day.
  • Baggage 2 USD (200 KES) for baggage.
  • Maid: 2 USD (200 KES) to the maid per day.
  • Restaurant: 10% on top of the bill for waiters.

We recommend that you tip the guide at the end of the trip.

Tanzania

In Tanzania, it is quite normal to tip.

If you wish to reward the good service, you can, as a rule, give:

  • Guide: around 5–10 USD (11,500–23,000 TZS) per person, per day.
  • Baggage 1 USD (2,300 TZS) for baggage.
  • Maid: 1 USD (2,300 KES) to the maid per day.
  • Restaurant: around 10% of the bill.

Kilimanjaro

On our tours to the top of the mountain, there is an agreement to give a total of 250 USD (575,000 TZS) per person to guides and porters for the whole tour.

The same guidelines also apply to Kilimanjaro as in the rest of Tanzania.

South Africa

In South Africa, tipping is very important. The tip is indirectly part of the wage because often the service staff cannot live off their monthly wage alone.

If you wish to tip, you can follow these guidelines:

  • Guide/driver: 100–150 ZAR per day per couple (2 people).
  • Maid: 10–20 ZAR per day.
  • Restaurant: 10–30 ZAR to the waiter or 10% of the bill.

Remember to have cash for tips (in local currency) at hotels and for guides, while tips at restaurants can be added to the bill.

If you are on a self-drive holiday on the Garden Route, for example, there are staff to refuel your car at the service stations. So, it’s always a good idea to have a little change to hand as a “thank you for help” gesture.

Namibia

It is very normal to give tips in Namibia – and it is also much appreciated.

As a guideline, you can give:

  • Guide: About 2.5–4 USD (35–60 NAD) per person, per day. For a half-day excursion, around 1–1.5 (15–22 NAD) per person.
  • Hotel/lodge: In some places, you can put money in a box that is shared out equally between the service staff (though not guides).
  • Restaurant: If you wish to reward good service, you can add 10% to the bill.

Botswana

In Botswana, there are no guidelines on tipping. It is entirely up to you if you wish to tip, but if you experience extraordinary service, the guide or staff will always appreciate the gratuity.

You can tip in USD or in BWP, which is the local currency.

Zambia

In Zambia, hotels and restaurants have usually included 10% on the bill, so no tip is expected.

If you have experienced extra good service, it is perfectly okay to give a tip – in both USD and in the local currency, ZMW.

Uganda

It is customary to tip in Uganda, and of course, it is, as always, up to you how much you want to give:

As a rule of thumb, you can give:

  • Leading guide on chimpanzee and gorilla tours: 20 USD (70-75,000 UGX) PP
  • Porter on chimpanzee and gorilla tours: 15 USD (approx. 55,000 UGX) PP
  • Guide on other activities: 5 USD (15-20,000 UGX) PP
  • Driver: 10 USD (35-40,000 UGX) PPPD
  • Luggage 1-2 USD (4-8,000 UGX) for each piece of luggage the hotel porter carries up for you
  • Restaurant: Around 10% of the total bill – though not in hotels where meals are included
  • Maid: 2 USD (approx. 7-8,000 UGX) PD

Mauritius

In exotic Mauritius, a fee of 10% is usually included at hotels and restaurants. So, tips are not expected.

If you have received exceptionally good service, tips are always welcome.

Still confused?

As mentioned above, what is expected and what the custom is when it comes to tipping at our destinations varies greatly.

If in doubt, trust your gut instinct or ask what the norm is where you are.

The guidelines can change all the time, and if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact our travel consultants.

Finally: 3 quick tips about tipping:

  • Include tips in the calculation of your travel budget to avoid any surprises.
  • Have some cash with you for tips, as tipping by card is often not possible.
  • Store the cash in various places and keep it safe.

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