Tipping on camping safari (non-participation)

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Sep 20th, 2004, 08:33 AM
  #1
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Tipping on camping safari (non-participation)

I have read several posts on tipping guidelines that have been somewhat helpful.

However, we will be going on a mobile, non-participation camping safari with a full-time guide and camp cook and attendant.

Can anyone please provide some insight on the amounts that would constitute a good tip?

There will be 3 of us total on the trip.

Thanks!
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Sep 20th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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I can't remember what we tipped (there were 2 of us on a non-participation camping/lodge safari in Tanzania), but it was somewhat over what our tour operator recommended. We tried not to be too extravagant because of various reasons, but keep in mind that on this type of safari you spend A LOT of time with your guide, cook, etc. And, if you have an experience anything like ours, you'll end up really liking them. In which case you have to fight the temptation to just give them all the cash you have!

My advice: ask the tour operator and follow their guidelines, but bring extra $. And have a great time.
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Sep 20th, 2004, 11:57 AM
  #3
HappyTravels
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People who work in the camps are aware of the tipping policies provided to guests by the safaris managers ... and tell us it is too low by 2-3 times.

Do not, and I repeat, do not, spend a lot for the trip, and them cut back on the tip. Plan what you consider to be generous ... and double it!!!! And take nice note cards and envelopes, and write a nice thank you note to go with the cash.

Make it substantive, and tip well!!!
 
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Sep 20th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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We did a 10-day non-participation camping trip in Botswana last year. I recall that we tipped our driver/guide $100 and the rest of the camp staff $50 each. That was way in excess of the "recommended" amount, and I believe was more than the other people on our safari, but we really felt that we had gotten great service and wanted to reward that.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 06:34 AM
  #5
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I'm assuming by "we" you mean two people, in which case that works out the $5/pp/pd, which is actually the SUGGESTED tip, and well BELOW what many actually provide. $100 for two people for ten days, and others actually gave less than that. Wow!! I am amazed your guide didn't feed you all to the cats, LOL.
 
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Sep 21st, 2004, 07:28 AM
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Well, I am dismayed to think that we didn't tip enough. The "suggested" tip that we got from our safari company was LESS THAN half of what we actually gave. The other couple on our trip (who were Australian) gave the "suggested" amount.
I actually stayed in touch with our guide after the trip, and sent him a number of pictures that he was interested in (him catching a snake, a baby elephant we encountered, etc). He told me I was the only person he'd ever had send him pictures from a safari. I didn't get the impression our tip had offended him.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 07:44 AM
  #7
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Seriously, the tip your company suggested is an insult! I cannot imagine why they recommend such a low amount. Believe me, it is LOW.
 
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Sep 21st, 2004, 07:53 AM
  #8
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Thanks for the info so far. Happy: What amounts would you suggest (per person)?
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Sep 21st, 2004, 07:56 AM
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We agreed at the time, which is why we gave more. Why would it be in a company's interest to suggest too-low tips to guests? It is no money out of the company's pocket, and it would merely disserve their employees, who are the people who will make or break the guests' experience with the company. It seems irrational that a tour company would do that. And it leaves guests thinking they have done the right thing, or even been generous, when in fact they are tipping too little.
Given what I'm seeing about tipping amounts, I am glad I at least did our guide the favor of sending him those pictures and writing a really nice letter to the company about him.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 12:35 PM
  #10
HappyTravels
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There was a recent discussion here about the tips policy - recommend you do a search.

The gist: the Wilderness Safaris policy now suggests $5 pp/pd for guides (at lodges) and $3 for staff. It was generally agreed this was way too low, and ought to be at least doubled. Some said triple it. This is the approach we took recently, and it worked well.

Companies low-ball the issue ot tips because they charge a hefty amount for the safari, and they know people will rebel at more cost. Thus they make the suggested level very low. It's that simple.

Thus, tour companies do indeed have a major reason for setting the suggested levels low. Then they simply let their customers discover the sad truth for themselves - after the guides and staff slave for the guests, the guests offer low tips, per agent guidelines.

Bad policy. Bad feelings. I'm not saying you were at fault. It was your agent's fault for advising you incorrectly, and someone ought to get on their case and pressure them to correct the guidelines they give to their customers. IMHO.
 
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Sep 21st, 2004, 04:48 PM
  #11
 
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OK, I have to post a correction. I have now consulted with my wife and she informs me that we actually tipped our guide $250, not the $100 I recalled. Sorry for that confusion, I just remembered it wrong. I think the other couple on the trip tipped $100.
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:41 PM
  #12
HappyTravels
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Good for you guys, Chris - you're very generous, and are to be commended for the gratuity. Tipping amounts can be a touchy issue ... I've seen many get upset about it. But you did precisely the right thing!!!!
 
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:22 PM
  #13
 
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Thanks. I think it is needlessly touchy because there is so much confusion about it. As travelers, most of us want to do the right thing. But we don't know what the "standard" is, or how much is appropriate given that you're in another country. And people from different countries have very different attitudes about tipping too (I had an interesting discussion with Selwyn about this in Cape Town). So I think it is the uncertainty that gets everyone upset.
Now I just have to figure out how to tip for our upcoming trip to Peru ...
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:44 PM
  #14
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We were given the following guidelines from the safari company owner. This is for a 10 day trip.
Guide: $50-80
Cook: $30-50
Camp Assistant: $20-30
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Sep 23rd, 2004, 10:08 AM
  #15
 
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We did a 10 day mobile camping safari. There were 4 of us in our group, we pooled our money and we tipped the driver/guide $600 and the camp staff $300.
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