What chocolate to give guides?

Jan 28th, 2006, 06:25 AM
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What chocolate to give guides?

You folks have suggested not just giving a safari guide a cash tip (sounds like $10 per person per day is standard) but also some chocolates. What kind do you think the guide would like (from the U.S.)? Sees? Hershey bars? Godiva?


stakerk is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 06:40 AM
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Not a wise idea, cash is king, not to mention the state of your chocolate by the time it reaches your guides grobby mitts.

Also, US chocolate sucks, the choices in Africa are actually pretty damned good.

my post some what tongue in cheek.
mkhonzo is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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I would use the Godiva money, as extra tip for the guide. However, if i was to visit the same camp as a returning guest and have requested the same guide, i would take him something like a watch.....something practical that he can use.

That is what i plan to do, during my return trip to Kwando in August
Jan 28th, 2006, 08:42 PM
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What a mess I had in my bag from some Doves I had taken for gifts and personal consumption! The heat just melted them and one T-shirt did not survive the disaster.

Do you have any small treats from your hometown or state? Otherwise, I'd do the melt in your mouth not in your hand M&Ms as a small additional personal token of thanks. Not connoisseur chocolate, but practical.

Are you leaving soon?
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 10:34 PM
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My Mum always taught me "it's the thought that counts". Of course I am sure no-one is suggesting chocolates as a way to save on tips, so a gift is a gift. I am not wholly sure why a specific gift for someone you have never met. My wife always takes general gifts on holiday (Europe or Africa, or anywhere
kimburu is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 10:59 PM
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...which I found a bit odd, but it does work and I have got used to it over time...but why chocolate?

I would worry that chocolates say nothing and cheap chocolates could even say I know you are poor and can't afford to buy this junk yourself... unless it's something not really available (which as mkhonzo says chocolate is)... but maybe I am thinking too much and of course I am sure something is surely better than nothing, especially if given with grace
kimburu is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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Speaking personally, I always love it when someone gives me chocolate and would consider the gesture as an act of thoughtfulness.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 09:26 AM
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To be honest, bringing chocolate all the way to Africa when it is readily available there seems a bit strange...I think the suggestion was more focused on bringing something from your hometown, not specifically bringing chocolate. I'd be a bit concerned about having something like what Lynn described happen, as the luggage compartments of airplanes are not insulated (they'll be fine on international flights, where the baggage hold tends to be cold, but will most likely melt on small bush-plane flights where the compartment gets very hot).

Unless you're from Hershey or some other town where chocolate is the main local product, I'd suggest something else from your locale which is more likely to make it in one piece.

Several of the guides I had in Botswana collect little stick-pins for their bags/fleeces, so those might be a good idea. Current issues of magazines or newly published paperback books are also popular among guides in isolated camps (these are a great gift if you are a returning guest and know what your guide's interests are).

jasher is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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If I were a safari guide, after a substantial cash tip, chocolates would be my preferred gift. I donít know that much about American chocolates, but I had a look at Godivaís website and liked it. Maybe youíd need a reason to give away chocolates - if you were going in February you could bring a heart shaped box and say itís a tradition in your country, but youíre going in August, arenít you? Anyway, chocolates are never wrong.

Iíve done extensive research at the sweets shelves of the biggest supermarkets in Nairobi and the choice of chocolates isnít impressive at all. Thereís some Cadburyís Ė not the greatest chocolate, but normally quite OK Ė and some Chinese brands. Those chocolates werenít tasty at all and I suspect thereís some anti-melting ingredient. Iíve heard foreigners in Spain saying that the chocolates donít taste the same because of this ingredient. In the Spanish case itís simply not true Ė Lindt for example is just as good as in northern Europe and Iíve had too many melting problems to believe it, but I wouldnít be surprised if the chocolates sold in Kenya had this ingredient.

Nyamera is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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I think the chocolate selection depends on where you're going -- in SA, a wide variety is widely available.

jasher is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 05:15 PM
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On one trip I took the ingredients to make s'mores around the fire - graham crackers, marshmallows and Hershey bars. They were a big hit, especially the marshmallows.
sundowner is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Any other ideas of a gift to give our guide at Larsens Tented Camp in Samburu and our guide at Little Governors in the Mara? My thought was to give the gift to him at the end of the first drive and hope he wants to help us for the balance of the stay and do a great job.

Thanks (Asante?),

stakerk is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 06:10 PM
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I suppose, if you could/do find anything about your guide ahead of time, give him books if he has children. But this is kind of hard to figure out. We sent books later to our guide because we had spent over a week with him, my friend is a second-grade teacher and his daughter was seven, etc. I'm not entirely sure they ever got there.

We brought snacks to share among all of us on game drives: nuts, dried fruit, some non-melting candy.

But cash is king, as someone said above. You will most likely want to tip generously when you see the amount of work your guide is performing to make your holiday enjoyable.

And a warm and open attitude on your part will go far in making the time spent together pleasant for all of you.

La la salama.
Leely is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 06:22 PM
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I should clarify: because we were spending so much time with our guide and talked a lot about our families, jobs, etc., we were able to make it seem as if we were NOT presumptuously giving (I *hope*). My friend was able to say, "Oh, I'm a teacher and am able to get books at a discount. Is there anything you'd like for me to get for your children that's difficult for you to get here?" Or something along those lines.

Good luck and tip well.
Leely is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 02:10 AM
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On my last safari to Zambia, an addition to their regular tips, I gave the staff three soccer balls, which were well received. Matter of fact, I could hear them bouncing those balls throughout the day and a future soccer tournament in the plan. I was touched that everyday, I had some staff member come up to me and thank me.

This was my 2nd trip to this lodge, so I also brought to giveaway, tee shirts, baseball caps, wool beanies, playing cards, games, pens & writing paper, toiletry items, and trinkets from my home town. Everyone was appreciative.
jiggylou is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 02:16 AM
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Another suggestions, if you're a returning client be sure to get extra prints of any guides you may have taken. These pictures are well received.
jiggylou is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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@ They LOVE (baseball) caps or hats with foreign logo
guess this is kind o' status. everybody can get chocolate... but i got a Knicks cap !
@@ if u brought chocolate give it along the safari not with the tip
aby is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 06:39 PM
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You have some great suggestions but I just can't see myself handing out all that loot. How did you handle it? Did you give gifts to everyone, such as the maids, the cook? When did you give the gifts? At the end or all during your stay or for a special service? Thanks.
Lin is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Hi Lin,
When I stay at a game lodge it's usually for 4-7 nights, depending where my husband & I are traveling to. We enjoy getting to know the staff, their families (as well as the people that work behind the scene). That's what makes our trip worth while....it's not the animals and the beauty of the land we go experience, but the people.

I usually give the lodge manager the group gifts at the beginning and individual (special) gifts when we leave. This is aside from their well earned tips.

jiggylou is offline  

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