Tipping on safari. The when and the how.

A very common point of confusion on safari is whether or not you should tip and if so, how much. 

You don’t have to tip, but generally people do. I try to dissuade people from tipping routinely, and rather tip to reward excellent service, namely, when you feel like someone has gone the extra mile to really look after you or give you a fantastic experience. 

Generally people who work in the safari industry in Tanzania are relatively well paid, so you should’t feel like you must tip in order for people to survive. But across the year, tipping makes up a very significant portion of income. And of course, as is preferred (USD), tips tend to be foreign currency. 

If at anytime you feel like someone is being pushy for a tip, whether that’s being aggressive about carrying your bag or getting much to close to some elephants, then absolutely don’t tip. Only tip to reward great service. 

You don’t need to tip absolutely everyone, of course your airport driver or the hotel concierge will be glad of a tip but it’s not necessary. But, if your driver miraculously gets you through miles of city traffic to get you to your plane on time then it might well be in order! Generally you will be looking to tip the staff who are looking after you on safari.

As a general guideline we recommend a tip of $10 per day for your guide, and $10 per day for the camp staff. You should increase this if you are part of a larger group. That is a baseline, particularly awful service could be less than that and excellent service can be more, maybe a lot more! 

Different camps have different rules but guides tend to keep their tips and camp staff tend to share it out amongst everyone, so the room staff, the chefs, the mechanics, everyone gets something. Running a camp is a team effort so it’s best to keep within these traditions but there’s nothing wrong with tipping individual staff if you so wish. Camps will have envelopes and tip boxes for the end of your stay and you can always give tips to managers to distribute. Be discrete as in Tanzania like anywhere, tipping is something to be done with a degree of subtlety. 

You can of course tip the staff at a beach resort, or the guys who take you snorkelling, or a local guide who shows you around Stonetown. If you are not sure, just ask a manager who will be more than happy to help. 

If you are on a privately guided safari, tipping is a whole different beast and usually involves first class plane tickets, holiday homes and such like…

Related Articles