Tipping on Safari

Sep 24th, 2005, 12:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2
Tipping on Safari

I am going on Safari in Botswana very soon. My tour company has made suggested tipping amounts in US currency. Are you supposed to tip in US dollars or local currency?
LXK is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Unless you can change USD to Botswana Pula in Maun, sufficient to cover your tips, then it's USD. Pula isn't a worldwide currency and, therefore, not likely available from your local currency exchange.

We tipped with USD in Botswana, Zimbabwe; combined local Rand and USD in South Africa where ATMs abound.
Sep 24th, 2005, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 59
I hope you have a great trip!!
Tipping is more or less expected everywhere in the service industry. You may tip in the local currency or in US currency, both will be welcome. Ask the safari organizers what the local currency is worth and what are reasonable amounts to tip.

Remember that the people you will be tipping have very low incomes and any extra is very important to the survival of most local guides and staff and their families.

In some countries of Africa (i.e.Zimbabwe), the local currency is so inflated that to tip in that currency would be a serious mistake - a Zim dollar is worth fractions of a cent and changes daily. US currency is lifesaving for residents trying to feed their families in these countries.

Don't forget your anti-malarials - see your doctor as soon as possible, and read some of the very informative discussions on the TALK this past week.Have fun. - Joan
treasuresofafrica is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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For Bot it is ok to tip in Pula. It is a mission for them to go to the bank. Otherwise they probably must rely on the camp manager to give them a fair rate. The bot currency is normally stable, even though there has been a currency correction in the recent past. Dollars also not acceptable for everyday currency in nontourist stores, gas stations, ect. When you arrive at the Joburg A/P, you can pickup pula at the currency exchange.Zim is the only country in Southern and East Africa where it is a neccessity to tip in dollars because their currency is so overvalued.
luangwablondes is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,276
For tipping in both South Africa and Botswana in the safari camps, we just added it to our final bill and put it on our credit card. Much easier for us and then we didn't have to worry about exchanging money. When the tip is given to the people, I assuem they can then get it in pula even though we were charging it in US dollars.
jcasale is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I'm not sure adding it to your credit card is a good idea because how do you know it will actually go to the people you want to tip? Odds are good it will just go to someone in the office, and your cook, driver, guide, maid, etc. will never see any of it. Much better to hand cash to the folks directly, IMHO. More satisfying as well.

Nelson is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 07:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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The rule in camps I've been to is that you hand cash to your guide (usually USD), who is the person who's had to put up with you for most of the day, and put cash in a special collection box for the other camp staff. It is distributed to them at the end of the season.
afrigalah is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592

As many have already stated, the tips for these people are so important. However, I have often felt uncomfortable just handing someone their money. The exception to this is my guide whom I have had over many trips in four years. I also just drop money in the tip boxes.

However, what I also do for stewards, waiters, bar people, etc. is what you do on cruises. I take a pile of envelopes with me and for many of the staff I put their tip in the envelope with a nice note on it thanking them for something special they said or did. The employees seem to love getting these notes in addition to their tip, and I feel more comfortable letting them know how much I appreciate what they have done for me.

JanGoss is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 06:35 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Great idea! Now if only I can remember to take the envelopes . . .
bat is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I think it's nice to give something in addition to money -- something from your home town is nice. Pins for people to put on their lapels or caps seem to be popular -- one guide at Little Vumbura had pins from all over the world on his knapsack.

jasher is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592

Another great suggestion! Thanks for sharing it.

JanGoss is offline  

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