tipping for guides/trackers/staff

Apr 15th, 2008, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675

...then the "camp management" is being snooty, snotty!
sandi is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 12:35 PM
Posts: n/a
hi tim,
thx a lot for your advise and effort - but have a look ;-)
it's funny - isn't it ;-)
Apr 15th, 2008, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Bottom line is, i don't think we should stress too much on guidelines and do's and dont's. End of the day, tipping has to be something from the heart and the thanks we provide for a truly wonderful experience. Bear in mind, in our daily lives there isn't anything even remotely close to that on safari and the genuine warmth of the people over there.

HariS is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 08:41 PM
Posts: n/a
I fully agree with Hari on this.
Apr 16th, 2008, 12:40 AM
Posts: n/a
thank you atravelynn for copying in the links!

seems to be common practise to tip guide and tracker not only seperately but also different amounts.

quite frankly - this is an absolut NO NO for me! first of all a good tracker is at least as much rewarding to have as a good guide. so why should i tip them differently?

second why should i hand out the tip for the tracker to the guide? to me it's a matter of curtesy to tip also the tracker directly the SAME amount as the guide.

especially in bot, zam and partly SA where the guide is most probably white and the tracker black. i am far from letting them think it's because of skin colour.

thank you all for sharing your experiences!
Apr 16th, 2008, 12:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 993
Hi pippa13

I am not sure why you would think skin colour is a factor. Where I go in South Africa, the ranger is with me for twice as long as the tracker so for that reason I always give the ranger double, regardless of colour.

To lodges where the ranger and tracker are with me equally then needless to say, they get equal. They do different jobs with different skills, but are a team. And of course, I hand each one a separate envelope. I don't believe I have ever given the ranger an envelope for the tracker.

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 01:35 AM
Posts: n/a
Kaye N

May I say I agree with your sentiments entirely.
But nevertheless still say tipping should be based on the service received not on any standardised basis.
Apr 16th, 2008, 03:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 993
Hi Sniktawk,

Yes, you may.

I have on occasion, tipped less than my standard amount, and on the other hand I have tipped more.

I have never tipped nil, as quite frankly I have never had such bad service. Some rangers or trackers are not for me, but I don't hold that against them in the tipping department.

Tipping for me is fairly foreign. On so many trips, I would think about it so often, I would drive myself nuts. So I then decided on a standard, and the standard of my ranger and tracker reflect my final tip amount - they were great! they were good! or I felt they let me down a little for whatever reason!

I certainly can never recall hearing any sad tale from home, from any ranger or tracker - most unprofessional I would think.

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I have never given the tracker's tip to the ranger except when the tracker was unavailable. I've done the same thing when another guide or ranger that was with me earlier in the trip was not around.

I certainly agree that tips should be given only if warranted. In Africa, I've always felt my guides, drivers, rangers, trackers, porters, etc. have done a great job. Only once in another country did I feel the guide deserved only a little and I should have given nothing.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 18th, 2008, 03:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I have never been to a camp where the management suggested a separate tip for the chef!

Where I am giving separate tips to a number of individuals I give each person their tip in a separate envelope directly to them.

The only exception has been if an individual has not been present on our departure in which case I give the sealed envelope to management to pass on (and hope it is).

Even for what goes into the general tip box I often put it into an envelope together with a thank you note expressing our gratitude for their services and care. I like to make it a personal thank you rather than some anonymous cash in a box!

I always have a guideline amount in my head which represents what I would give in gratuity for a person who performs their job to a level I would consider acceptable/ normal. If they go above and beyond I increase the amount. And likewise, if they don't meet my expectations, I have no qualms about giving less (or nothing, if it comes right down to it). Fortunately, my experiences have overwhelmingly been positive.

Kavey is offline  
Apr 18th, 2008, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 267
From my last experience in Botswana i will say 10$ pppd will leave most guides happy.

Last November we spend 2 days at Lebala camp with a private guide and vehicle. At the time of leaving i was happy with the service so i calculate and hypothetical vehicle with 5 guest and 10$ pppd and gave the guide 100$ and half of that to the tracker.

I was visiting another concession for 3 days and then going to Kwara for the last 4 days of our trip.

The same guide i had at Lebala was waiting for us at the airstrip.

We arrive around 11 a.m. and he said he had prepare(in case we wanted)a lunch box so we could head north to try to find a family of cheetahs in that area.
It was close to 40 ║ Celsius in an uncover vehicle and it took us( THEM)) 4 hours to find the cheetahs,íthat was hard work!.I think it would be easy for him to go directly to camp from the airstrip and then do an p.m. short game drive but he knew i was going to be happy with that plan.
He had learn from Lebala that i liked to go out as soon us possible every morning so he was always ready at six o clock while the rest of the guides were having coffee and muffins and we where always the first to leave

Maybe i am too simple but this details made me think he was happy with the tip from the first 2 days , otherwise he would not do those things without me asking him to do so.

When i go on safari i don't expect gourmet meals but i do expect and expert and knowledge guide to drive me every day and cover my expectations.

íNo separate tip for the chef!This is becoming crazy.

PacoAhedo is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 165
Hello There-

I know there are many posts on this site about tipping---this thread in particular got a little spicy.

Anyways, I just need some simple advice on how my husband and I should be tipping so we know how much cash to bring with us to SA.

We are going to be with a private guide for 3 days in Capetown---how much should we be tipping him if at all? He is charging R1400 per day.

We are also going to be at Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp for 3 nights. How much should we be tipping the ranger/driver and camp staff?

Thanks so much!

enlehman76 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 05:57 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
We just got all our travel documents. We leave for Kenya/Tanzania on August 7, 2008. This is what was printed under the heading" TIPPING: Most hotels, game lodges and tented camps include a service charge in their tariff, as do most restaurants. In such cases, it is not necessary to leave a tip except to reward exceptional service. Otherwise, a 10% tip is customary for hotel and restaurant staff as well as for taxi drivers and porters. For a good performance it is customary to reward safari guides and drivers/spotters with a gratuity of about US$3 each per tour member per day." We booked with our local TA who booked the trip for us with Brendan. Brendan uses local companies Pollman in Kenya and Ranger Safaris in Tanzania. Personally, believe US$3 seems low but US$20 very high. We will probably tip somewhere in the middle depending on the quality of the service provided.
chris45ny is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 04:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 101
You have written exactly what I would have said. I also write a note on a card with tip for the staff. I know that the guides enjoy a personal note as well as the tip. I also send photos taken at the camp. Some guides have told me that guests have taken photos and promised to send a copy,but seldom do.
I am a regular visitor to Botswana, and do repeat visits to camps, but always try to include a new camp each time.
I shall be back to Botswana in October , this time with a girlfriend whose husband didn't want to go on safari,[ yes such people do exist!]. However, he has since seen my photos of me with meerkats, around and all over and he has started to have second thoughts. She might be lucky and get him to go with her next time. I've just written out a list of suggested tips for her. I like to be reasonably generous, but will give less if my guide doesn't come up to scratch!
Botsfan is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 04:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
chris45ny -

$3/day/pp for a guide/driver is low and $20/day/pp can be high. So you're right in considering an amount somewhere in the middle. Something between $7-$10/day/pp, unless you feel the individual deserves more.

For camp staff you can consider somewhere between $3-$5/day person.

If your visit is a group tour (w/6/paxs per vehicle), the $3/day/pp ($3x6 = $18) is probably what Brendan is using as their guideline. The figures I show are assuming a private tour.

You can do a search on this board for tipping/gratuity guidelines... lots of threads for further information.
sandi is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,968
We are going to be with a private guide for 3 days in Capetown---how much should we be tipping him if at all? He is charging R1400 per day.

If the guide works for himself then that's his fee, so I don't think there's an expectation of a tip on top of that. Do others disagree?
Patty is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
If the CPT guide works for himself/own business, no tip is necessary. The fee you pay him is his fee.

If guide works for a company, then a tip is due for a job well done.
sandi is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 165
Hi Sandi-

Thanks for the advice.

My tour guide in Capetown does work for a tour company but my booking was made directly with him outside of the company that he works for---so we are paying him in USD/cash. I guess that means the R1400 per day would be adequate and no tip needed?

Our safari trip is in Sabi Sabi/Little Bush Camp and we WILL be on a jeep with other guests that we do not know. So, I guess this means we do not have a private guide? (Sorry for the generic questions--this is our first safari and trip to SA)Should we be tipping the $3pppd or more like $7-10pppd?

enlehman76 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
ehl -

Some days (or actual drives) you may have 4/pax with you in vehicle, other times with 6/paxs and possibily some day only the two of you.

I don't base tips on others in the vehicle, rather, my own personal tip for the services provided... always assuming I'm/we are the only person/s.

For me, $3/day guide tip is just too low. I've never given less than $10/day (sometimes more) for 2/game drives daily. If for some reason, I (my own choice) do only 1/game drive, then it's $5.

And, in SA, many of the camp vehicles go out with not only the guide(ranger)/driver, but also with a tracker who gets a tip. For this person, I budget $5/day ($3/ if only 1/game drive any given day).

Your outfitter should provide tipping guidelines as do the camps (often quite different) which you can use based on your particular situation.
sandi is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:40 PM.