Tipping at private game reserves

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Sep 5th, 2010, 07:30 AM
  #1
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Tipping at private game reserves

We are staying at Ngala tented camp,Djuma Vuyetela and Nkorho lodge.Given the high cost of staying especially at Ngala $2000 CDN a day at current exchange is there a tipping policy?one could argue that since we can afford to stay there we should be able to tip and for excellent service the local people should be rewarded.What is the current practice?Thanks
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Sep 5th, 2010, 10:03 AM
  #2
 
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Best bet is to ask the management. They would know for sure and be happy to clarify it to you.

They (management) shouldn't get any tips if the they follow the usual practice of sharing them out to all the staff. It is also normal to give individual tips to guides, if you've had good service from them.

And yes, you should be able to afford the tips.
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Sep 5th, 2010, 10:21 AM
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In USD (currently about equal to CDN) I tip $20/$10/$10 per person per day guide/tracker/staff. Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on service. I agree that if you can afford to be there... I also take thank you notes so it's more personal than just handing them cash.
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Sep 5th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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I think about half of CBs $20/10/10 per person per day is more typical? I put it on room credit card bill, spelled out the amount for each - guide-tracker-staff. And I thank guide and tracker and tell them I have left something for them on my cc and to see office.

regards - tom
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Sep 6th, 2010, 05:39 AM
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Like tom, I use his guidelines of $10/$5/$7 per person daily, but will adjust up/down depending on service.

Most camps/lodges do provide a guideline in your tent, some of which are much as we have indicated, while others can be much higher. In the end, it's up to you.

Except for the guide/tracker to whom I give the tips personally, leave that for staff in the general "tip box" usually found at Reception.
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Sep 6th, 2010, 02:21 PM
  #6
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Thanks to everyone who replied.I will follow Tom and Sandis advice.
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Sep 6th, 2010, 02:59 PM
  #7
cw
 
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In 2006 we tipped our guide $20 U.S. and the rest at $10 pppn. So I'm in line with christabr on the issue.

We brought envelops and South African rand with us to cover our days plus extra. We wrote short notes and handed the envelops to the people in person. That way they had no wait in getting the money nor did they have any currency exchange issues.

In the end, we wound up tipping more than the recommended guidelines to certain individuals and I was happy we had extra money for this.
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Sep 6th, 2010, 07:10 PM
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Do not recommend leaving any tips on your credit card.

1.) It's extremely IMPERSONAL
2.) You never know if the intended receiver is going to receive it.
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Sep 6th, 2010, 08:06 PM
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I agree with Hari on this. Tipping has to be cash and preferably handed over to the recipient with a smile and a thank you. Apart from behind the scenes staff, obviously.
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Sep 7th, 2010, 12:24 PM
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Following is the advice of my in country TA:


Remember that in SA you only pay gratuities if you are satisfied with the service received! Here are some guidelines

Restaurant(waiter) 10%
Driver R10 – R20, depending on distance
Porter R10
Ranger R100 per day
Tracker R50 per day
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Sep 7th, 2010, 01:19 PM
  #11
 
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"in SA you only pay gratuities if you are satisfied with the service received!"

... above isn't unique to South Africa; that holds true everywhere. One isn't obliged to tip for lousy service.
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May 29th, 2012, 11:19 AM
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Hello - I wanted to ask a similar, question and see it's been discussed, but since it was 2 years ago, may be worth re-visiting as to what folks are doing now.

My TA suggested this as a guide (no pun intended):

Another question on tips: I have guidelines from my agent that a suggestion for gratuities is:

Ranger/Guide: R 150 per couple per day
Tracker: R 110 per couple per day
Butler R 110 per couple per day
Camp Staff: R 110 per couple per day

We are a family of 4 (2 parents and 2 daughters ages 10 and 13)

- do the amounts my TA suggested sound about right for 2 people?
- would you double the per day tip in that case since we are 4?
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May 29th, 2012, 02:00 PM
  #13
 
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I give the same per person, not couple, especially if you have a vehicle to yourselves. I also ask if they prefer rand or USD (or euros) via email before arrival, and take thank you notes to give. Butler? Would that be housekeeping?

If you happen to have an old functional digital camera (or two), they are great gifts. Although many can afford great photo equipment, many can't. Most of the staff can't. We gave away a few last time (with memory cards) that we collected from friends. It's surprising how many we all have stuffed in a drawer.

Enjoy your trip with your family. You are going to love it.
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May 29th, 2012, 06:48 PM
  #14
 
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Hi Jane

This is always a tricky question, especially for non-tipping countries such as Australia where I am!

Regarding your ranger - I think if your ranger does gamedrives only with you, then I would probably be closer to 200R per couple per day. If he does spend more time with you every day, meals as well, then I probably may increase that.

Trackers I would normally give half of whatever I gave the ranger.

I always leave 100R per day in the room for the ladies who do the room even though I know they will get some from the camp staff as well.

Camp staff I would probably pay 200R per day per couple as they are usually huge numbers of behind the scene people that you don't get to see.

For 4 people I would definitely double it. This is obviously required I think, if you have the vehicle to yourselves. If the ranger was particularly good with the girls I would probably add a bit more as well because it makes their holiday more enjoyable, and that makes your holiday more enjoyable!

I would never include the tip in the account as they would suffer with the exchange rate given to them not to mention all the fees that are now charged with credit cards. I can assure you that very few places would take the hit of those fees, it would be passed onto the recipients of the tips.

The only gifts that I have taken in recent years would be for the ladies, and that is usually a bag full of sanitary items because I know that they are appreciated. This is in addition to the tipping.

Kind regards

Kaye
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May 29th, 2012, 08:08 PM
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Thanks for the input!

I'd like to give cash but it seems an awful lot to have to carry around. We're going to 3 different lodges for a total of 11 nights. We won't have any chance to go to an ATM between lodge 1 (Londolozi 3 nights) and lodge 2 (Phinda - 4 nights) as we're taking a small plane directly from one to the other, not going through JNB. We WILL be going to Durban airport to fly to Pt. Elizabeth airport before reaching our third lodge (Kwandwe - 4 nights) so we could re-stock on cash there. But even to cover tips for the 7 nights, we'd need R1100 per night if following your guidelines for 4 people, Kaye, so a total of R7700 just for tips - doesn't include money to buy souvenirs at Phinda Zulu Village trip, or misc. tips before we get to the first lodge. Anyway, even if we say we want R 8000 that's close to $1,000 and I don't know that an ATM would give out that much (they don't here I know) or that we'd want to be carrying around that much cash!

What do others think about the cash/credit card tip situation?
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May 29th, 2012, 09:59 PM
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"Ranger 100R per day per person (200R per couple) and room maid 100R per day"? Same amount each? (Did I misunderstand ??)

This from sandi's tipping guidelines, here Fodors, http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...i-be-doing.cfm , her Aug 30th reply -
"Figure about $20-25/day towards tips (always at your discretion for service provided) - Guide $7-10/person; tracker (if you have) $3-5; lodge/camp staff (porters, housekeeping, waiters,chefs) $5-8; misc. $5 (if someone goes out of their way)."
Yes, it does add up, just pretend it as part of (addition to) the room's cost of $500 person per day.

I have left tips on my credit card included in final camp invoice. (More often than not). Some camps provide a nice little form for tip name details. If you use credit card at camp office, give the guide-tracker a thank you note mentioning to check with the office.

FWIW, my last safari I gave the ranger and tracker cash (US dollars) and on my credit card on camp invoice I put amount for "all staff".

regards - tom
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May 29th, 2012, 10:04 PM
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ps - this a confusing thread, going back to 2010, including old, new, and duplicate replies.

regards - tom
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May 30th, 2012, 12:49 AM
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Hi Jane

No I take the cash and yes it is a huge amount (in $ amount and in actual space). I have been in lodges for 5 weeks, so I know exactly how much space it takes up and how expensive it is on top of what is already an expensive holiday.

The ranger would be double what the tracker and the room lady gets. Depending on what camp I am at, it varies as well as with some camps the ranger is with you a lot and at others it really is only on the gamedrive, so I would not be giving them the same amount of money per day.

I agree it does add up and I don't like it all, as we are not a nation known for its tipping, but without doubt, I believe it is now expected at lodges throughout Southern Africa. I have never seen anything in writing saying please do not tip!

It is an old thread, but nothing has changed in the tipping department that I can tell Tom.

If you do pay in credit card, you need to work out what you want them to get in hand and add the charges etc onto that, otherwise they are not getting what you think. I certainly would also think that not every amount left as a tip, does go to who you think it is going, so it would never be my chosen method of tipping.

Kind regards

Kaye
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May 30th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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Just to argue for the sake mainly of arguing .
The ranger has 50 times the work and responsibility of the room maid. It is he who is with you personally 4-6 hours per day, responsible for your safety, and for your enjoyment of what you see during those hours. And this is worth only twice what the person who makes your room bed?

Not only is tipping expected in South Africa but I'm sure also in Tanzania (was there in 2011). And in other safari countries ??

True there may be a bank fees associated with credit card use, so add another 10%. And as for camp staff in general, for a camp having 20 guests there is likely 60 support camp staff, gardeners, cooks, waiters, kitchen help, electrical maintenance, sanitation, guards, accountants, delivery, and 12 other jobs. You can't know all their names and meet them if you want to tip "all staff". You have to leave it to camp management to make the distribution. Will camp management do it or keep the money?? I don't know but at least I have made the most/best effort I can.

And yes carrying $1,000 or more in cash makes some people "squeamish". Get over it.

regards - tom
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May 30th, 2012, 10:02 AM
  #20
 
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Tom, I added on to this thread since I had essentially the same question as the OP but since it was 2 years later, I wanted to see if people's advice had changed - i.e. were people tipping more now that it's a couple of years later?

I don't have a problem with carrying cash, it's just that almost every single person on this forum and others has advised against carrying too much so I don't want to be foolish if it's against most people's advice. Interesting to hear the reasons for tipping in cash rather than credit card and I can see how they make sense, except, as you say, in the case of all the staff, many of whom you won't meet personally.

I certainly agree that people who work at these lodges, whether rangers or maids or whatever, should receive tips in some form. Interesting to see the various thoughts on it.
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