Tipping

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Sep 6th, 2003, 09:25 AM
  #1
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Tipping

Thank you to everyone who was so helpful giving me packing suggestions for our trip into Singita. I have one more question - who all do we tip, and what is the appropriate amount? I'm totally lost on this one, so any guidence will be very much appreciated. Thanks so much for any help.
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Sep 6th, 2003, 01:00 PM
  #2
sandi
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Oh, Tipping! - how can one forget this one?

At your safari camps there is usually a Ranger who drives the vehicle and and a Tracker who spots for animals especially those that the ranger/driver can sometimes miss (having his eyes on the road or bush out in front of him).

There is also the Camp Staff - maids, waiters/servers, bartenders.
You'll also find that the Ranger is likely to join you or the group in his vehicle for dinner - depending on how seating is arranged.

For the camp staff - many camps provide a central place (usually at Reception) where you can leave tips which are distributed amongst staff. For the Ranger and Tracker, you tip directly.

Now, how much? People figure for Ranger between $5-$7-$10/day/person depending on service provided; and for Tracker about half of each above/day/person. Our Ranger and Tracker were outstanding, especially our Ranger Colin (since been reassigned to Singita's new camp inside Kruger) so he got extra - I believe for the 2/nts $50 for the two of us; our Tracker got $25. For Camp Staff, we left $20.

We tipped in USD - even out there, they can get their tips exchanged for Rand.

Maybe some other posters use a different system - let's see what other input there is.

 
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Sep 7th, 2003, 12:10 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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My figures are right in there with Sandi's. I'll give you two scales, the first is lower. Wilderness Safaris (the company that owns many top camps such as Singita) sent out a statement that tipping is not compulsory but if one wants to tip because of very good service, they suggest $5 per day per person (so $10 per couple) for Guides in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and R50 per guest per day for visitors to Namibia and South Africa.

For the General Safari Camp / Lodge Staff - about US$3 per guest per day for safari camps in Botswana,
Zambia and Zimbabwe and R30 per guest per day for safari camps in Namibia and South Africa. This goes in the communal tipping box to be
distributed equally amongst all the staff.

d) Porterage
about US$1 per person per movement.

e) Mokoro Paddlers and Trackers
We recommend that each paddler receive US$3 per guest per day and the camp /lodge trackers receive R35.00 per guest per day.

But our travel agent first sent us higher figures, which we went by. "Your guide, if he is good is approximately US10.00 per person per day (USD20.00 per couple per
day) and the tracker USD10.00 per couple per day. Tipping in Southern Africa is not expected and any small amount is very welcome. Tips should only be given if the service given is extra good. " Our travel agent summed it up by saying we couldn't go wrong with either the WS scale or her scale.

We learned by watching experienced travelers to put the tips for the guide and for the tracker in two envelopes and hand it to them last thing, after they load up your bags in the transfer plane as you say your final goodbyes. We believe in always tipping and then tipping very well if someone went the extra mile (ie, tracking ahead of the drive while on their break time).
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Sep 7th, 2003, 12:31 PM
  #4
sandi
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Just for clarification - Singita is privately owned and is not a Wilderness Safaris property.

One other item - as soon as you arrive at Singita the Manager requests that you sign your life away (against liability) just in case you get "bit on the butt by any animal"

Have a wonderful trip.
 
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Sep 7th, 2003, 01:57 PM
  #5
 
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Sandi, I appreciate that correction. WS website (which is not the best layout) has a fly-in safari that gives you a choice of camps, one of them Singita, so I assumed they owned it. But it's clear from their catalog that they do not. Singita was the best-run camp I visited, btw.
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Sep 8th, 2003, 09:52 AM
  #6
OSC
 
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Clematis - We are still awaiting your trip report. In particular, I am interested in how you would compare Singita and Mombo.
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Sep 8th, 2003, 09:53 AM
  #7
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Sandi's and Clematis' guidance is right on the mark. I would add a thought or two, however: in the 8-9 private lodges and camps we've stayed at over the years, I've felt that the guidelines were perhaps 25-40% too low, and I've increased my tips accordingly.

This was especially so for the rangers's tips. One other issue: each camp will have its own practice of whether you hand the tip to your tracker (when you have one) or give it to the ranger for him to pay the tracker.

I also sometimes tip the lodge manager separately IF this person has done a special job for me .. in addition to placing a tip in the joint box in the office. And some times I will tip a person daily, if for example, that person is doing personal work for us, such as washing and caring for our chalet.

I think you have to use judgment. I strongly dislike hearing guests the final day complain that they have to tip, and what the lodge or camp offers as guidelines. Thus if anything, I'd overtip.
 
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Sep 8th, 2003, 12:07 PM
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OSC, I am having a friend do some beta-testing right now of the website for my too-long trip report and we're having some tech. difficulties. In between I come here to see if I can answer any questions for people about to take off. Email me at [email protected] if you have specific questions about the camps.
Also, I wasn't clear on your comment "I strongly dislike hearing guests the final day complain that they have to tip, and what the lodge or camp offers as guidelines. Thus if anything, I'd overtip." I totally agree about tipping well because they work very hard and we're spending so much on these rooms. But my camps had tipping suggestions sent to us long before we came or it was in their camp book in the room. Have you heard guests complaining about tipping??
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Sep 8th, 2003, 12:29 PM
  #9
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Clematis, I was shocked at Phinda in SA, for example, when someone (a very wealthy someone) complained bitterly at the final luncheon before the afternoon game drive. This was the time to give out the envelopes. And yes, the lodge had sent everyone the guidelines - it's just that very few had focused apparently. We came prepared to tip, and tip well. When we were back in the US, I decided that at one lodge I'd not tipped enough, so I mailed all my remaining Rand, about 500, to the ranger. Hope he received it. Botswana is a problem, so there I use USD or Rand.
 
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Sep 9th, 2003, 12:44 AM
  #10
 
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OSC, that is shocking to me. Our experience was that everyone we met was looking forward to the opportunity to thank our guides by tipping. Many of them are not able to live with their families in the bush but have to wait for their break (every 4-6 weeks in some cases) to go home.
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Sep 9th, 2003, 06:22 AM
  #11
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Quite true, Clematis. The staff normally would go on vacation once every 60-90 days, and usually this entailed a lengthy bus trip. The tips were very important. But still, I heard much more grumbling than anticipation. And these people were all very well off. When we fly in, we always have cash with us, ready to tip. It's just a normal part of our plan.
 
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Sep 9th, 2003, 03:50 PM
  #12
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Thanks to all for the good information on appropriate tipping practices. I can't imagine people complaining about having to tip well. Doesn't it just go with the territory and part of the expected expenses of travel? Anyway, now I have a pretty good idea of what will be acceptable. Thanks again, I've enjoyed reading your comments.
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