How much & why you should tip?
Travelers often ask themselves how much should I tip? or why should I tip? After paying for your safari tour it is only logical asking yourself these questions given the sums already paid for the safari.
Tipping culture & origin in Africa,
Africa is not a wealthy country, and Westerners might see the local customary wages as unjust. So it has always been a tradition to tip your safari crew or mountain crew and others who serve you while travelling in Africa, it is fair to say tips are expected when travelling through Africa and the crew or servers will feel unappreciated when not tipped .
Why is tipping so important? & why you should tip
The reasons are;
- Guides, cook and other staff derives much of their income from the tips they receive, so this subsidize for the wages they receive, as a company we try our best to make sure our crew & staff get fair wages, which we pride in ourselves as we pay better than the market average. However, this is not quite enough as most of our crew is hired on temporary basis and can be time lags between being on a job and being out of a job (There might be a huge interval between one safari and the other so the tips which they receive plays a very important role to them as additional income)
- Tip to show gratitude and appreciation, most of crew will work tirelessly to ensure clients get the best out of their experience, thus going further than things which are required example on hike, some porters carry small backpacks which are to be with clients, some go as far as carrying the client so as to increase his/her chances to summit. On safaris, guides are known to risk getting fined but ensure clients get more on evening game drives which by park regulations are to end by 6:00pm, some go off tracks to ensure clients get closer to animals (however none of this is required of them & are heavily discourage by we “companies”)
- Tips encourage and motivates your crew, as employers in this industry we understand that the best guides, chefs will leave better paying companies for less pay if they will derive more in tips in the later company, after letting you in on this we believe you understand how tips are crucial to the overall performance of the crew
How to make sure your tip gets where you intend it to?
You should make an effort to hand your tip directly to the person it is for. In this way you can help ensure that your wishes are being respected. It is fine if you wish to put your tip into an envelope or give a group tip to be divided evenly but you should make effort to let crew informed so each can receive as you planned
When to tip.
Most clients tip at the end of the safari, which makes sense as it should be based upon overall satisfaction of your crew
Who to tip?
Factors to consider when tipping
- Number of days on tour
- Private or group tour
- Performance of crew
Tipping can be done via foreign or local currency, for foreign currency we recommend you use US dollars, Euros, pound sterling as this can be easily converted to Tanzanian shillings
Tipping on a safari
Tipping is slightly different on the tour you are taking, so here is a guideline that will help you sort & plan thoroughly
Safari tipping guideline
We recommend that travelers tip between
- US$ 10-15 per guest per day for a group guide
- US$ 20- 25 per guest per day for a private guide
- US$ 8-12 per guest per day for safari chef
- US$ 1-5 for general staff
Note: minimum tip to private guide is assuming you are 2 & maximum is assuming you are 1, if you are on a private group of more than 3 we recommend you use group guide guideline, likewise we do not limit tipping you can even tip more than recommended
Tipping on a Kilimanjaro/Meru & Kenya hike
Unlike tipping on a safari, tipping in Kilimanjaro is not much of a bonus or reward particularly attentive service but a mandatory payment to subsidize wages porters or guides receive
First will have to keep you informed on wages
Minimum wage set is 10usd a day per porter, 20usd per guide, 15usd per assistant guide & mountain cook. And again we emphasize that they maybe a time lag between a job to the other, however many companies don’t even pay this figure, if you pay anything less of 1600usd for 5days & 1700usd for 6days it is highly likely the wage demands were not met correctly. It is fair to say even when minimum wage requirement is met this wages are still not fair & that’s why we recommend each client to tip
Each group will have
- Head guide
- Assistant guide
- Toilet porters & waiters (occasionally depends on package purchased)
Tipping guidelines per Group per day:
- Head Guide: 25 - 30 USD.
- Assistance Guide: 20 - 25 USD.
- Cook: 20 - 25 USD.
- Waiter (for meals): 15 USD.
- Porter: 10 - 12 USD
Note: joining a group will reduce your tip figure as tipping obligation will be shared among the group, you can even tip more as you wish
Tipping on Kilimanjaro example
For a 6 day trek the total tipping value per group and climber would look as follows.
No. of trekkers (US$)
Total for group
Note: 1 Climber 4 porter, 2 Climbers 7 porters, 3 Climbers 9 Porters, 4 Climbers 11 Porters and2 Ass. Guide. Climbers choosing treks with more or less should consider an average increase or decrease of $ 60 on their tipping budget
Note: Climbers who find tipping well above their budget could consider donating hiking gear directly to the crew if they don’t plan on using them again
Tipping Ceremony on Kilimanjaro on the last day (after summit) .
Tipping will be done on last day of the trek in what is known as tipping ceremony
The head Guide will assemble the entire staff to say a word of thanks. Tips can be made in US Dollars (USD) or Tanzanian Shillings (TSH). It is very important that US bills are not older than 2002, as they are not accepted in the country.
It is very helpful to organize a well estimated amount of USD before arrival, as exchange rates may vary and differ a lot.
Donation of Clothing & Equipment.
You might consider donating your clothing and equipment to the climb team in addition to tipping them after your climb. Remember that the staff climbs Kilimanjaro many times a year and can go through their clothes and gear rather quickly.
You can be straight forward to ask if something is needed and then donate it individually. Your donation is of great assistance to these individuals, many of who are unwilling to spend their money on material goods they consider a luxury rather than a necessity.
They will appreciate your generosity tremendously as this will make their hard job even easier. Avoid giving items to your guide for distribution to porters.
Donations should be given directly to individuals they are intended for, perhaps those with the greatest need or who were of particularly good service.
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