U.S. dollars on safari? tipping?

May 21st, 2006, 01:41 PM
  #1  
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U.S. dollars on safari? tipping?

Very soon we leave for our namibia safari w/Wilderness. In the info they sent to us, they "recommend" tipping amounts...eg. $10./day guide, etc. So, my questions are: Is this usual? And if so, do we tip with american money? Do we travel with a stash of dollars for this purpose? Just wondering..
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May 21st, 2006, 02:15 PM
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sandi
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Not unusual to bring USD (yes, a stash of money), though local currency is good to have and can be obtained in Windhoek.
 
May 21st, 2006, 09:18 PM
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santharamhari
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That's what i do........USD.

Hari
 
May 22nd, 2006, 02:13 AM
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africnow
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I read somewhere that only 'big head' dollars are acceptable, but the $1 bill does not come in big head format? Help!
 
May 22nd, 2006, 08:40 AM
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Namibia is a stable country with a democratic government and sensible banking system. Change your American dollars to Namibian ones, and tip with those. It may not be unusual to tip with US dollars (although I don't think I saw anyone do that on my one trip there), but I think unless the country you're in has a wildly fluctuating economic or political situtation, it's so much more polite to use the local currency. Just my personal opinion.
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May 22nd, 2006, 11:22 AM
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africnow
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Well it is not just a question of polite. Depending on the laws of the country in question one might be putting the recipients into a difficult position by tipping in a foreign exchange that they will then have to change into local money. Hence the question.

As Celia has pointed out, the other side of the coin is the stability of the local economy.

So what it comes down to, is the country that you will be visiting.

My question is regardis Kenya and Tanzania. LiindaJean is inquiring about Namibia.

Does anyone know the answers for those specific countries, as Celia mentioned in Namibia the economy is stable.
 
May 22nd, 2006, 12:33 PM
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sandi
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Nambia is quite stable. And local currency would be the correct thing to use. It's certainly makes sense for local purchases and activities where they probably won't accept USD. As to tipping, while in South Africa whose rate of exchange for Rand is similar to the currency in Namibia, it was only our rangers/trackers that we tipped in USD (and was preferred in '01); otherwise, always local currency. South Africa and Namibia have a very modern banking system.

liindajean - check one of the currency exchange sites for the current rate of exchange against USD. You'll find ATMs easy enough to use in WDH. Check with your tour operator, based on where else you'll be stopping the availability of ATMs for local currency.

 
May 22nd, 2006, 02:09 PM
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if i'm going to camps on the caprivi strip and NOT near any Namibian banks, then I would assume U.S. Dollars for tips would be acceptable?
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May 22nd, 2006, 03:41 PM
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As regards us$...that's what Wilderness suggested...so I guess that is what would be preferred?
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May 22nd, 2006, 05:30 PM
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US bills in an envelope for your guide and in an envelope with your name on it for the camp staff work wonderfully. Sometimes Wilderness camps even provide the envelope, but bringing some from home is a good idea.

You have summed it up with the term stash of dollars.
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May 22nd, 2006, 08:40 PM
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santharamhari
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Lynn,

That's a good idea. I usually hand over an envelope with the USD to the guide. But usually at Wilderness/Kwando they have a common tip box for the camp staff. I just put the cash in the box!!! I guess, i will put that in an envelope also along with my name to know where it came from as many ppl may be checking out on the same day.

Here's a question......in camps that use a Ranger/tracker system, do you hand the tip over to the ranger and mark both their names on the envelope or do you tip the tracker separately???

Hari
 
May 22nd, 2006, 10:49 PM
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Hari- I'd tip them both seperately, that way you know they both get what you intended to give. That's what we did in Zambia.
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May 23rd, 2006, 01:32 AM
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santharamhari
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Ok...thanks, Dennis

Hari
 
May 23rd, 2006, 04:31 AM
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What would be the preferred currency in Botswana, please?
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May 23rd, 2006, 04:36 AM
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sandi
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We tipped in USD, but obtained local Pula for souvenir purchases.
 
May 23rd, 2006, 05:32 AM
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africanow,
Tanzania - if on the tourist routes USD is ok. As we got off the beaten path we reverted to Tanzanian $ as most of these people don't have transport to the often far away banks and can't use the money locally.
Kenya - although we were only around Nairobi we used USD and local $ without any problem b/c we ran of USD.

Those using eoros are better off changing over to USD before visiting Africa, as most places don't differentiate between the 2 currencies i.e. you will be charged 10. USD or 10. eoro.- I'm still assuming that the euro is stronger.
Sherry
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May 23rd, 2006, 05:41 AM
  #17  
africnow
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Thanks cybor. That does help a lot.
 
May 23rd, 2006, 09:55 AM
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africnow,
In Kenya, we use shillings for tipping camp staff and for small purchases along the way. The exchange rate at camps is poor and the staff probably don't have easy access to exchanging money any other way, so we felt like our money was going farther by tipping in shillings (which we obtained at a more favorable rate in Nairobi). Plus I think it's just easier for the recipient.
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May 23rd, 2006, 11:21 AM
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Having lived in Southern Africa, I can think of no way that someone in that region would be happier to be tipped in foreign money than in local currency. I dunno about East or North Africa, having no experience there. But consider the southern African recipient of dollars. First, he has to go somehwere to change them, and second, he pays for the privilege of exchanging. He can't pay his greengrocer or his barber or his children's school fees with dollars. And any bank or bureau de change is going to take a cut when it does the exchange. So you've cost him time, trouble, and money.

I wonder if the companies that advise customers to tip in US dollars do the exchange for their employees. I may be a cynic, but it seems to me that a company that deals in both dollars and a local currency (as do the tour companies catering to international tourists) could be making a tidy little sum by serving as a bureau de change for its employees in a case like this.

The only reasons I can think of for using dollars is if the money is worthless (e.g. Zim) or if there's a black market for money.

Sandi says she tipped in US dollars while in South Africa in 2001 and that is was "preferred". I'd like to know who advised her of that. I'm pretty sure it was about as welcome as Rands in Chicago.
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May 23rd, 2006, 11:32 AM
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At the rate of devaluation of the USD - rands may actually be preferred in Chicago.
GW is a mini-me Mugabe and our economy is following suit!
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