U.S. dollars on safari? tipping?

May 23rd, 2006, 11:40 AM
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We had both Rand and USD and inquired while at Singita which was appropriate for tipping. Both our Ranger and the camp management indicated USD, British Pounds, Francs (this was before the Euro), so we paid in USD. Camp staff - waiters, porters, houskeeping, etc. were paid in Rand. In 2001, the exchange rate for USD/Rand was very favorable for us at 11ZAR/$1USD and the Ranger was very pleased to receive USD. In discussion, he had no problem with USD or manner for exchanging this; maybe he just stuck it under his mattress... we didn't ask for details.

Same question was asked at the conclusion of our vist at Honeyguide on Manyeletti Reserve... USD. So we tipped USD for the Ranger and Tracker, the others in local currency.

Elsewhere in South Africa we only used local currency, easily available from ATMs everywhere; wouldn't have thought to use anything else, though our guide in CPT, indicated he preferred USD.

In Botswana at Chilwero, we paid our Ranger in USD, camp staff in Pula and for local purchases. In Zim, we only used USD.
May 23rd, 2006, 04:48 PM
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For the ranger-tracker setup--I've only experienced that one time and gave each their own envelope.
atravelynn is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for that information, Sandi.
Celia is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 06:26 AM
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On a related note, we were told it is illegal to take TZ currrency out of the country so do not expect to be able to re-convert it at home. [Learned this when we tried to do so.]

celia, my understanding from our guides in TZ was that they appreciated US$ for the tips. I don't know the details why. Perhaps because of the exchange rate at the time.

I think that you make a very good point about not being presumptuous that the foreign currency is as desirable.

On the northern circuit in TZ, prices for souvenirs were quoted in dollars when I asked for a price (without specifying). I would have had to ask for the price in shillings.

Ditto what cybor said about purchases off the main circuit. At one more remote location, a masai woman wanted shilings--for the very reason cybor indicated--distance to a location to convert the dollars to shillings.
bat is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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Both the travel agents that I used during my last 3 trips advise using US dollars, esp at Wilderness Camps, and including Namibia. Each of these travel agents has one partner from South Africa and they travel to Southern Africa once a year, so I figure they know what they're talking about. Also, I can easily buy things at local markets and shops in Bots and Zambia with dollars, so why can't the locals? I also asked at the camps in Bots and Zambia and both preferred US dollars.
Lin is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 09:11 PM
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For Botswana, all camp management (both Wilderness and Kwando) did indicate that USD, Pounds or Euro were fine.......for tips.

Besides, when we landed at Kasane from Livingstone......the airport barely had enough Pulas for me to exchange for my visa fees. (Equivalent of USD 300). I may have indicated this on another thread.......our pilot James from Moremi Air, whose motorcycle was parked in Kasane airport had to go into town and exchange some foreign exchange into pulas for me to pay for my visas (We Indians need a visa to go everywhere!!!) The Immigration Dept only accepts Pulas. Infact there is no money changer at the airport. Only the refreshment kiosk......

So, i would imagine, if the airport does not carry pulas, then USD to tip is appropriate.......

May 25th, 2006, 03:11 AM
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Lots of ionteresting info here. I would actually ask the staff except that by then I will be in an area where I might not be able to change to local currency

I guess it is best to have that stash of dollars but to exchange at least a portion of it in advance for camp staff. Save the dollars for the guides...
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