When traveling to a different location, tipping is most often faced with great apprehension. Should I tip? If so, how much? Sometimes, it even causes uncalled-for travel anxiousness. So if you plan to go to Africa anytime soon, or are preparing for your African escapade, here’s a handbook to tell you all about tipping in Africa.
TIPPING CULTURE IN AFRICA
First of all, tipping in Africa is not a must. It is only done on the virtue of good service; a simple realization of a job well done. In the end, it is your decision as to whether you will tip and how much you will tip. These tips are variable according to your experience and the whole someness of service you get. Generally, guests tip higher when they’re pleased with outstanding facilitation and low to average for inferior services. Again, it is all up to you.
While the majority of people work to make your safari a memorable one, the question is, whom should you tip?
- Tip for great service: You are not obliged to tip every person who sees to you but you can always afford a little perk at your judgment even to those you think are “just doing their jobs”
- “Professionals” are usually not tipped: These include property owners, cabin crew,pilots, sales assistants, managers, and medical workers.
- Tip the front-liners: Guides, drivers, trackers, porters, waitresses, waiters, and spa therapists are normally tipped.
- Don’t forget the behind-the-scenes staff: Always remember that some worksub-rosa to make your trip enjoyable and without whom, your entire experience may be varied. Think housekeepers, chefs, gardeners, guards, maintenance workers, and poaching units.
WHY YOU SHOULD TIP
Often, you will find that the foremost in this industry are taking home a basic living wage only and usually don’t have perks included. This, unfortunately, occurs more often than not and while you should always try to make a reservation with companies that pay becoming salaries and benefits to their staff, these are still the people where tipping will make a big distinctness in their lives and often a much-needed increase to their normal wage.
Tips are an untold way of saying more than just a “thank you” for driving you around, for showing you the Big Five, or for making you a substantial meal. These are the human beings you will spend the most time with on your trip so an idealization and admiration for the things they do beyond their obvious duties are greatly appreciated.
- Long working hours:Employees, both front-liners and back-end units, usually start their change over before dawn to set up for things like guests’ coffee and breakfast, safari vehicle, and other chores to keep up a smooth-running facility. In addition, they also stay up, way past your nightcap. All these are to vouch for your cozy stay and brilliant experience.
- The extra mile:Every teensy-weensy thing that would make your overall bucket-list experience something you ever imagined like going back to witness animal action, searching for the vertebrate or bird you’re looking forward to seeing, proactively preparing your favorite drink, or even remembering your name. These tiny little nooks and crannies deserve some recognition.
- The travel expense:A number of the staff live a distance from the camp/lodge. Some of them even live in agricultural areas or towns that aren’t that easy to get to. Your tip can greatly assist them with the costs of traveling back and forth every day.
- The time away from home:Staying away from home, especially from cherished ones is not an easy thing but because game parks are usually off the beaten track, most staff go on assignment for many weeks at a time and therefore, see their families not oftenand usually after anawayness from home.
Sure, safari packages can be high-priced, especially if you’re on a luxury safari but remember that these costs cover park fees, maintenance, accommodation, transport, WiFi, Electricity, fuel for generators, security, and many more.
RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIPPING
The tipping amount is ultimately your decision, depending on your budget and experience as well as your rating.
For a rough guide on tipping, here’s an approximate range of how much to tip:
- Porters: 1-2 USD per bag
- Gas station attendants: 1-2 USD
- Cab driver: Based on your total fare, round up to the nearest 10
- Restaurants: Tip a minimum of 10 percent of your bill unless a service charge is already included
- Tour Guide: 15-30 USD/couple a day
- Safari Driver: 15-30 USD/couple a day
- Tracker/Spotter: 15-30 USD/couple a day
- Airport/hotel transfers: 1-2 USD
- Personal butlers: 5-10 USD per day
- Cooks during mountain treks: 5-10 USD per day
Of course, this is just a generic guide and you are welcome to modulate the amount. Most safari camps also have tipping boxes where you can just subsidize the tips and the total amount will be later on distributed to the staff. This is a way to “tip” camp staff that you don’t necessarily affiliate with every day. Also, here are general rules for specific countries in Africa when it comes to tipping:
- Normally, people tip Maasai dancers after performing their traditional dances.
- Tipping the Kilimanjaro crew (guides, cooks, porters, etc.) is also a norm, especially if the climb to the mountain peak is successful.
- It is common to hand tips to hotel staff, porters, skippers,s and PADI staff in Zanzibar.
- It is not usual to hand tips to spa attendants and taxi drivers, but tipping for exceptional service is always admired.
- Giving material things instead of cash is also an appreciated gesture.
- Normally, guests tip Maasai dancers after they enact the traditional dances.
- Tips in Kenya are expected to be in Kenyan shillings or USD.
- It’s common to hand tips to spa attendants per treatment. For example, if you get two services, you will tip twice. Rule of the thumb is 200 KES per treatment.
BEST WAY TO HAND over TIPS
- Put in an envelope via the manager.
- Drop in a tip box.
- Direct hand-over.
- Leave in your accommodation/lodging.
- Credit card bill
AWKWARD QUESTIONS ANSWERED
IS IT RUDE NOT TO TIP?
Frankly, not tipping is looked down upon in a culture like Africa where remuneration is not like in Europe. We know that tips go a long way therefore if you are in a position to give, we highly advocate for this, as you are rewarding a service that was well done. If for any reason you are not in a position to tip, then of course it will not be enforced on you.
MY BUDGET IS LIMITED, CAN I GIVE LOWER THAN THE GUIDELINES?
Yes, Tipping is entirely up to you and how much you would want to leave for your server, however, some establishments do charge you a service fee.
IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO SHOW MY GRATITUDE APART FROM TIPPING?
Tipping is at your free will. Besides cash, material gifts are highly acknowledged, or even just leaving your change behind. Of course, a simple thank you is also well received.
IT’s SO AWKWARD TO TIP, CAN THAT BE INCLUDED IN MY TOUR COST INSTEAD?
Yes, this is possible, just let us know and we will give an estimate to add on top of your bill.
I ONLY WANT TO TIP A SPECIFIC STAFF AND NOT THE OTHERS, IS THAT OKAY?
Yes. Again, Tipping is entirely up to you and how much you would want to leave for any specific individual depending on your experience.
Now that you have learned about the tipping culture in Africa, check out these remarkable tours that you can try when you explore the continent.