One might not expect that, but tipping on safari can be a complex matter. It can differ from camp to camp, from country to country and by service provided. However, there are some general guidelines that can be followed to avoid misunderstandings and possible embarrassment on the giving and/or receiving side.
When to tip?
Your safari guide and tracker (if there is a tracker) are tipped at the end of the stay, usually at the end of the last game drive. Should your guide also bring you to the airstrip or airport, tipping can be done when arriving there as well. Housekeeping, general staff and a possible butler are also tipped at the end of the stay. Drivers that do transfers from one destination to the next are tipped, if at all, on arrival at the safari destination. It is not very common to tip the drivers unless they were very helpful at a border post or in a similar situation. Mostly that applies to drivers of private transfers.
How to tip?
Most camps and lodges provide envelops in the rooms that can be used to put in the tip you want to give to your guide and/or tracker. For housekeeping and general staff many lodges and camps have tip boxes, however, it can vary. Some have tip boxes for the general staff and housekeeping is tipped by leaving it in the room or the tip box is for all. You better ask at the camp/lodge what the customs are to make sure you are not missing something.
How much to tip?
East Africa and Southern Africa (except for South Africa and Namibia)
- Guides, Specialist Guides & Butlers – US$ 10.00 per guest per day.
- Mokoro Paddlers & Trackers – each paddler receive US$ 5.00 per guest per day and trackers receive US$ 5.00 per guest per day.
- The General Safari Camp, Lodge or Hotel Staff – about US$ 10.00 per guest per day
- Massage Therapists – about USD 3.00 to USD 5.00 per treatment.
- Transfer Driver – about US$ 2.00 to US$ 3.00 per guest per movement.
- Porterage – about US$ 2.00 to US$ 3.00 per guest per movement.
South Africa and Namibia
- Transfer Driver – about ZAR 20.00 per guest per movement.
- Drivers and/or Guides on Sightseeing Excursions – For half day tours about ZAR 60.00 per guest and for a full day tour ZAR 120.00 per guest.
- Safari Guides/Trackers – about ZAR 120.00 per guest per day for the guide and ZAR 80.00 per guest per day for the tracker.
- Porterage – about ZAR 15.00 per guest per movement.
- Hotel/Guest House/Game Lodge Staff – about ZAR 50.00 per guest per day for hotel staff, i.e. housekeeping, etc.
- Blue Train & Rovos Rail – about ZAR 100.00 per guest per day for your cabin attendant and about ZAR 75.00 per guest per journey for your dining car waiter.
- Restaurants & Hotels 10% is customary on meal accounts if you are satisfied with the service.
In what currencies to tip?
Generally speaking, gratuities can be paid in cash (local or foreign currency, i.e. US Dollars, Euro) or alternatively, depending on the establishment, by credit card or Travellers Cheques. In South Africa and Namibia tipping in cash should be in the local currency the South African Rand (can be used in Namibia as well). Tipping in cash in all other countries is preferred in USD.
The tipping guidelines are also provided in the travel kit that guests receive with their booking documents. They are also available in the travel app in the section “know” that can be downloaded here.
Should questions remain unanswered or should this information has raised new questions, please contact us.