A Guide to Tipping in African Safari Destinations

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If you’re in the process of booking one of the many safari holidays available on the current market, you’ll have noticed that there are numerous things that require careful consideration.

This extensive list includes both large and small considerations, including the concept of tipping and how you should reward the guides, porters and drivers who help to bring your safari experience to life.

We’ll explore this further below, while providing a brief guide to tipping in typical African safari destinations.

An Overview to Tipping while on Safari

Let’s start with a basic assertion; tipping is common place across Africa and it’s widely expected than anyone who provides a service during safari holidays will be rewarded for their participation.

In truth, these expectations are at least partially influenced by your geographical origin, with visitors from the U.S. and Canada widely considered to be the most generous tippers.

In contrast, Brits sit in the middle range of tippers, while people from other countries may proffer less depending on their cultural upbringings.

In order to bring some structure to tipping and help create a greater sense of understanding between guests and service providers, some lodges have provided guidance to people and made the process far fairer for everyone involved.

A look at Specific Activities and Potential Tips

You may also want to alter your tips depending on the role of the service provider in question and quality of assistance that they’ve provided.

We’ve listed some examples below, while offering some actionable advice to help you on your way.

  • Tipping Guides: If you’re on a private safari with your own driver-guide, you’ll be dealing with a multi-faceted service provider that plays an integral role in the quality of your experience. So long as he provides a quality service and remains informative and courteous at all times, you’d be expected to tip quite generously and perhaps in the region of $25 and $50 per day. This would be split between the group, so it may not seem quite as expensive as it first seems, especially if you bring the family.
  • Tipping Lodge Staff: We touched on lodges earlier, and it’s fair to surmise that most outlets operate a staff tip box on their premises. This generally represents the best way of offering tips, as it shares the wealth between all on-site staff and respects the anonymity of donors. Ideally, you’d want to tip between $5 and $10 per staff member per day, but the most important thing is that you respect their work and strive to reward them with as much as you can afford.

Tipping isn’t exclusive to single safari destinations either which is worth nothing. Whether you’re heading off on a tailored Zambia holiday or jetting off to Tanzania to witness the Great Migration, the same tipping etiquette generally applies.

  • Tipping Trekking Staff Members: In some instances, there are safari staff members and service providers who help you to remain safe at all times. This includes times when you’re out and at the mercy of the great African wilderness, with trekking employees performing outstanding work on the trails of locations like Mount Kilimanjaro. Specific tipping requirements for these staff will usually be laid out in paperwork prior to your trip, but as a general rule you’ll be expected to be quite generous when tipping in such instances.
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