Africa Safari Tipping Etiquette

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The appeal of the iconic African safari has grown significantly over recent times and last year millions of people decided to try it for themselves.

Unique culture, breath-taking scenery and more flexible Africa safari holiday choices make jetting off a far more affordable and convenient undertaking.

For European and US visitors lots of questions about cultural etiquette spring to mind, not least tipping. So should you tip? And if so, how much should you give?

Tipping in Africa

Tipping in Africa is not compulsory but it does go a long way to ensuring workers, particularly those in the service industry, receive a living wage. Tipping should however be done on merit and you should only really tip for good service so don’t feel obliged to part with your cash if you receive bad service.

How much?

Tipping is often done in small denominations, because, depending on your holiday choice, you could be in a few countries for short periods of time and you might not have any local currency. Although most of your trip will usually be paid via credit or debit card, it’s a good idea to change a small amount of local currency and there are plenty of resources and calculators that can help you find the best rate in each country.

Image result for africa local currencies

Although most of your trip will usually be paid via credit or debit card, it’s a good idea to change a small amount of local currency

What currency should I tip?

East Africa

Tipping with US$ in East Africa is widely acceptable but for smaller amounts local currency is preferred. For restaurant workers and porters, exchanging small amounts of foreign money is not cost-effective so bare that in mind.

For bigger tips, such as the one you might be inclined to give to your safari tour guide, US$ or local currency are both acceptable.

Southern Africa

South Africa and Namibia all accept South African Rands as tips. However, if you’re in Zimbabwe it’s best to tip in US$ because they no longer have their own local currency. Australian Dollar, Chinese Yuan and Japanese Yen are also accepted.

Tipping gifts

Many visitors decide to bring personalised gifts and in most cases that is welcome. Stationary, footballs, small gadgets and magazines are all gratefully received, just be careful not to insult anyone and always make clear the tips is intended for them.

How to tip

Remember that tipping is not compulsory, and the amount you tip is not definitively set. For security reasons always try to tip discreetly and if you want to give larger amounts (i.e. to a safari tour guide) place cash in an envelope and give it directly to the intended beneficiary.


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